Semi-annual dental cleanings can seem like an unnecessary chore, but they are critical for your oral health. In addition to the effect on the aesthetics of your teeth, there are also protective benefits of cleanings. There are three primary reasons to adhere to your cleaning schedule.
Whiten Your Teeth
Many people are concerned about the color of their teeth, but whitening products should not be the first step to making your teeth whiter. Although teeth whitening is a separate service, many areas of discoloration on your teeth may be easily removed during a standard cleaning. Some areas of discoloration might also be a byproduct of tartar, which stains easier than tooth enamel. If you are concerned about the color of your teeth, it makes little sense to use whitening products if you do not have regular cleanings. When you whiten your teeth without being sure tartar has been removed, whitening will be uneven since teeth and tartar may be affected differently by whitening products. Talk with your dentist about a good time to have whitening services. They might suggest making an appointment shortly after your latest cleaning.
Better Oral Hygiene
Every time you have your teeth professionally cleaned, you have a fresh start in your oral care routine. If you have tartar buildup, everything you do, such as brushing, flossing, and rinsing, is only affecting the tartar and any part of the tooth that is not covered by buildup. This means you are not truly performing your oral care routine on your teeth. Since you are not effectively cleaning your teeth, they are more prone to cavities and decay.
Another concern with tartar buildup is bad breath. If you have issues with bad breath and no amount of mouthwashes or gum is helping, this may be the cause. Tartar is a combination of bacteria and food debris that has hardened. The underlying cause of bad breath is typically odor-causing bacteria. Without a thorough cleaning, these bacteria are not removed and have a chance to flourish, thereby causing an odor.
Regardless of how well you think you brush and floss, there may continue to be areas that you routinely miss, especially if you do not have perfectly straight teeth. Brushing your back teeth and the back of your front teeth are some common hard-to-reach areas where tartar often forms. Additionally, it is easy for plaque to accumulate along the gum line and be missed during brushing. People with closely spaced teeth may find that flossing is difficult and that they may not floss effectively. Once plaque hardens between closely spaced teeth, it may reach the point where it is impossible to floss.
Reduce Gum Disease
One of the most serious ramifications of not having regular cleanings is the development of gum disease. Tartar is irritating to your gums, and when it is not removed regularly, it can cause your gums to become red and bleed. Without regular cleanings, it becomes harder to remove tartar. To remove tartar, especially when the buildup is substantial, you need root scaling and planing or a deep cleaning.
Depending on the technology available at your dentist, the procedure is done by traditionally scaling the tartar off the tooth above and below the gum line with dental tools, or an ultrasonic device might be used. When the scaling and planing is done manually, the process is time-consuming and is typically done in a single quadrant at each visit. The use of ultrasonic devices not only speeds up the process, but it also makes it easier to remove tartar in hard-to-reach areas, such as between the teeth.
Although cleanings may be a small task, they can have a big impact. Cleanings at regular intervals are an important part of maintaining your teeth and gums.
To learn more about dental cleanings, contact a dentist.