Most people already know that they should be getting dental cleanings regularly. However, it’s easy to let your dental cleanings slide, particularly if you have a busy schedule. While it might not seem like a big deal, skipping your dental cleanings can have negative consequences for your oral health in the long run. Mill Dam Dental is a leading dentist in Virginia Beach that offers regular cleanings for patients of all ages. Here’s why you should be getting a dental cleaning every six months.
Plaque and Tartar Removal
One of the most important reasons to get your teeth cleaned every six months is to remove the plaque and tartar that build up over time. It’s normal to experience this buildup on your teeth as a result of your normal daily eating and drinking. Plaque is the residue that stays on your teeth after you eat and drink, while tartar is the buildup that happens when plaque hardens.
You can remove plaque from your teeth with good brushing and flossing habits. However, it’s very difficult to remove tartar on your own. Even if you’re incredibly diligent about brushing your teeth, you’re still likely to experience some tartar buildup over time. When tartar isn’t removed on a regular basis, it can lead to long-term dental hygiene problems. Removing tartar regularly can also help give your teeth a whiter, cleaner appearance and help you feel more comfortable in your smile.
Managing Bad Breath
Another reason to make sure you get a regular dental cleaning is to keep your breath nice and fresh. Many people struggle with occasional bad breath, but the problem can become more serious if you go for too long without a cleaning. That’s because tartar and bacteria can build up in your mouth, causing an odor that’s difficult to remove with mouthwash, mints, toothpaste, or gum. Bad breath can be very unpleasant, not only for you but also for the people around you. Regular dental cleanings will leave you feeling minty fresh and and prevent bad breath from building up over time.
Spotting Cavities And Other Problems
Even if you’re diligent with your oral care and keep a close eye on your teeth, it can be very difficult to spot serious dental problems on your own. And even if you are feeling abnormal pain or discomfort in your teeth, you’ll need treatments that go beyond what you can buy at the drugstore. When you see your dentist, you’ll have the opportunity to talk about any oral care challenges that you have been struggling with. This is the time to tell them about any bleeding gums, tooth pain, sensitivity, or even jaw pain.
During your cleaning, your dentist will also check for any serious problems that you might not be able to spot yourself. If you do end up needing additional treatment, your dentist will talk with you about next steps and help you find a solution that works best for your needs. Catching these problems early is key to getting the treatment you need and ensuring that the problem does not get out of hand. Your dentist can also talk to you about ways to keep your teeth healthy in the long term, and recommend dental problems that they think will work best for you.
Preventing Long-Term Decay and Infection
Another very important reason to get regular dental cleanings is to prevent serious and irreversible oral health issues. Regular cleanings prevent bacteria from building up to the point that it causes chronic health conditions. During a checkup, your dentist can also spot things like cavities that may require immediate attention, and take steps to fix them and prevent the problem from getting worse.
One of the most common problems that can develop without regular cleanings is gingivitis and eventually gum disease. Gingivitis happens when bacteria builds up in the mouth, causing the gums to swell and even bleed when irritated. If the gingivitis is left unchecked for a long period of time, it can cause your gums to separate from your teeth and even cause bone damage. In serious cases, this could even cause tooth loss.
In addition to gum disease, you could also end up with tooth decay. Over time, the bacteria caused by food and drink can lead to cavities. In addition to being very painful, these cavities can cause your teeth to decay. This can also cause extreme sensitivity and even lead to jaw pain. While these are all extreme scenarios, it’s crucial to get in the habit of regular dental cleanings now to prevent problems later in life.
Additionally, chronic dental problems can lead to a number of other serious health issues. People with oral health issues are significantly more likely to experience problems like diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, and dementia. This is because the buildup of bacteria in the mouth can eventually enter the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body.
It’s particularly important to get regular dental cleanings during pregnancy. This is because expecting mothers are much more susceptible to gum disease, oral infections, and other dental health issues. If an oral infection isn’t properly treated, it could spread to other parts of the body and affect your pregnancy. In particularly serious cases, it can lead to a low birth weight or even a premature birth.
What to Expect From A Dental Cleaning
Many people avoid dental cleanings because they don’t know what to expect and may feel nervous. If you haven’t been to the dentist much, it’s perfectly normal to have some pre-appointment jitters. Understanding exactly what to expect can help you feel more comfortable during your dental cleaning. Talk to your dentist before the cleaning starts – if they know you’re feeling nervous, they can take steps to help you feel more comfortable. If you’re feeling particularly anxious about the appointment, ask your dentist how sedation dentistry can make your dental experience better.
The dental cleaning will start with the dental hygienist examining your mouth to see what needs to be cleaned. During this step, they’ll also look at potential problems, like gingivitis or cavities. The next step is to start scraping away plaque and tartar from your teeth. Your hygienist will use a small mirror during this process to see what needs to be removed. This step might be mildly uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be painful. After they’ve scraped away as much tartar as possible, they’ll use a powerful toothbrush to polish your teeth. This will remove any last bit of plaque or tartar that they may not have been able to scrape off manually. It also polishes your teeth to leave them feeling clean and smooth. During this process, they use a special kind of toothpaste that has a gritty texture, which is more powerful than the type of toothpaste you would use at home.
After brushing, your hygienist will floss your teeth, just as you would at home. This is essential for removing any leftover plaque or tartar that could have been caught between your teeth. During this process, your hygienist can also give you tips for more effective flossing at home. Then, they’ll use a special tool to rinse out your mouth. This will remove any leftover toothpaste or debris. The final step is to apply a fluoride rinse. Fluoride protects your teeth from cavities and other damage by coating your teeth for several months. During this process, you’ll choose the flavor of fluoride that you like best, which is then put into a tray that fits over your teeth. You’ll leave the tray on for a minute or so to let the fluoride set. Then the hygienist will remove the tray and give you a final rinse.
During some appointments, you may need dental X-rays. These X-rays are designed to catch any structural issues with your teeth and jaws. X-rays can determine if you need any orthodontic treatment to realign your teeth, which is why they’re particularly important for kids and teenagers.
Finally, you’ll speak with your dentist about any oral health issues you may have. If you are struggling with gingivitis, cavities, or any other serious issues, your dentist will determine what the appropriate next steps are. They may prescribe an oral care regimen at home, and in some cases you may need to come in for a follow-up appointment and get further treatment.
For most people, dental cleanings are fairly quick and easy. If you haven’t had a dental cleaning in a long time, now is the perfect time to start. Anyone can benefit from a dental cleaning, as it will help to protect your oral health in the long term. Regular cleanings will also help your mouth feel clean and healthy. Contact Mill Dam Dental Care today to learn more about our dental cleaning options for all ages.