Once or twice a year many people head to their dentist’s office for a formal dental cleaning. This procedure allows the dentist or a dental hygienist to remove any plaque and tartar that has built up in difficult to reach places, and they may also inspect the mouth for signs of gum disease. They seek to remove the build up of these calcium based deposits because they present the perfect location for bacteria to rest between the tooth and the gum. Once bacteria have a comfortable area in which to thrive it usually causes irritation and then infection. Any infection in the tissue surrounding the tooth will eventually cause the bone to recede, leaving the tooth further exposed to bacteria and decay. The situation frequently develops into a condition known as Periodontal Disease which is the leading cause of tooth loss.
While tooth loss might not sound so terrible, it can leave the individual exposed to pain, further infection and decay, as well as chronic head, neck or jaw pain due to the teeth leaving their normal alignment. Additionally, gum disease is known to be strongly connected to the development of certain dangerous medical conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Simple, preventative care is the best method of avoiding any complicated dental problems, and the first step is regular dental cleaning. Most dental professionals will inquire about a patient’s daily oral hygiene routine, and make suggestions or recommendations on how they can improve that based upon the findings in their cleaning and exam. Dentists and oral hygienists use a variety of tools to perform their work, including special scraping tools called “scalers” which can fit beneath the gum line to access plaque build up. Some have will employ ultrasonic tools that actually vibrate any build up in order to knock it loose, and rinse it all away with a mist of water. At the conclusion of a cleaning the dentist or hygienist will also use polishing tools that buff teeth free of any surface debris and leave them feeling smooth and shiny. During a traditional cleaning, the patient may have some x-rays taken to determine the presence of any cavities as well.
If a patient has not had a cleaning for a long time, the process will likely take a bit longer than those who have frequent cleanings, but generally they last from thirty minutes to one hour. Dental cleanings should not be grueling or painful experiences, and if there is a great deal of discomfort the patient should make the dentist or hygienist aware of the fact. If they are too rough it might be a wise idea to seek out a practice that places an emphasis on gentle care. Most patients who have not had a cleaning in a while will often find themselves receiving a lecture about the importance of regular dental hygiene, and while this may seem slightly annoying or unnecessary, it is in fact some excellent advice, which when followed can greatly improve the overall health of the patient.