Regular dental cleanings help you maintain the health of your teeth.
Regular dental cleanings, also known as a prophylaxis, are a type of preventive dental treatment that involves removing plaque, tartar, and other debris from the teeth and gums. This process helps to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues by removing the buildup of bacteria that can lead to these conditions.
During a dental cleaning, a dental hygienist will typically use specialized tools such as a scaler and an ultrasonic instrument to gently remove plaque and tartar from the surfaces of the teeth and along the gum line. The hygienist may also use a polishing tool and a special dental paste to smooth and shine the teeth, leaving them feeling clean and fresh.
In addition to cleaning the teeth, a dental cleaning may also involve an examination of the mouth to check for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or other dental issues. The hygienist may take X-rays to help identify any problems that may not be visible during the exam.
Regular dental cleanings are typically recommended every six months, although some individuals may require more frequent cleanings if they are at a higher risk for oral health issues. Patients with periodontal disease, however, may require periodontal maintenances every three or four months. A periodontal maintenance is a type of dental cleaning that is specifically designed for patients with a history of gum disease, also known as periodontitis. This treatment is intended to help manage the condition and prevent it from progressing.
During a periodontal maintenance, the hygienist will remove plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth and along the gum line, paying particular attention to any areas of the mouth that may be more prone to infection or inflammation.
In addition to the cleaning, the hygienist may also perform other treatments to help manage gum disease, such as scaling and root planing, antibiotic therapy, or other procedures as needed. The goal of a periodontal maintenance is to prevent further damage to the gums and teeth and to help manage the symptoms of gum disease, such as bleeding, swelling, and receding gums.
Patients with a history of gum disease may require periodontal maintenances for the rest of their lives to help manage the condition and prevent further damage to the gums and teeth. Regular brushing and flossing, as well as routine dental checkups, can also help prevent gum disease from progressing.
Although periodontal disease is something to be taken seriously, please do not be alarmed if you are diagnosed with it. Periodontal disease is extremely common, especially past the age of early adulthood. The good news is that is that in many cases, especially if treatment begins in early stages, it is very manageable.
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