A professional teeth cleaning from your Providence, RI dentist is one of the best ways to maintain good oral health. During your cleaning appointments, your dentist will evaluate your teeth, gums, and soft tissues for diseases, including dental decay and gum disease. The dental hygienist will gently clean the teeth and gum line to remove hardened plaque. Regular teeth cleanings from a professional hygienist will help ensure you keep your teeth for a lifetime.
During your appointment, your hygienist or a dental assistant will update your health history. They’ll also ask if you’ve had any dental pain or discomfort recently. Next, if you’re due, they’ll take dental x-rays.
Once or twice a year, your dentist will conduct an oral evaluation. They will check your teeth for signs of:
The dentist will also check your soft tissues for anomalies, including oral cancer.
The dental hygienist will measure your gum pockets to check for gum disease. They will then use a variety of dental instruments to gently remove the calculus. You won’t experience any pain during the cleaning. However, if you have some sensitivity issues, your hygienist can administer topical or local anesthetic for increased comfort. Typically, you’ll feel some pressure and hear a scraping sound.
Once all the tartar is removed, the hygienist or assistant will polish your teeth with a slightly abrasive paste. Polishing makes your teeth feel exceptionally clean and removes surface stains and any remaining sticky plaque.
The hygienist or assistant may administer a fluoride treatment depending on your dental needs.
When plaque and tartar build up, they irritate your delicate gum tissue. At first, you might notice that your gums look a little red (instead of a healthy pink), and they might bleed a little when you brush or floss.
Plaque contains bacteria, and these microorganisms release acids that attack enamel (causing tooth decay) and irritate the gums. Eventually, the irritation worsens, and you can end up with a gum infection. This is called periodontal (gum) disease.
As time progresses, the gums will start to recede from your teeth, exposing the root surfaces. In time, the bone will also recede to distance itself from the irritating, bacteria-laden plaque and tartar.
Even if you brush your teeth fairly regularly, if you don’t remove all the plaque – or have a hygienist remove the tartar – you can end up with gum disease.
Here are some of the signs of periodontal disease. Contact your Providence, RI dentist right away if you have any of these symptoms.
Every time you eat, a film develops on your teeth. This film is called plaque. If you follow your dentist’s recommendations, you brush at least twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque build-up.
Over time, though, any plaque that isn’t removed will eventually calcify, turning into a hard substance called tartar or calculus. You cannot remove this substance with a toothbrush, floss, toothpicks, or other over-the-counter dental tools. The only way it can be removed is with professional dental tools.
Even people who practice impeccable oral hygiene can develop tartar build-up. If you have light build-up, your dentist will recommend getting a professional teeth cleaning every six months.
Besides practicing good oral hygiene at home, regular professional dental cleanings are one of the best things you can do to keep your teeth healthy. Removing plaque helps protect your teeth from decay. Plaque and tartar removal also helps prevent gum disease. If you want to keep your teeth for a lifetime, we urge you to invest in regular dental cleanings.
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