Preventive care is the foundation of dentistry. The American Dental Association recommends visiting your dentist regularly, usually about 2-3 times yearly, for cleanings, examinations, and consultations. Dental cleanings help remove plaque and build-up that is not removable with solely conventional brushing and flossing. At these visits, dentists can identify potential problems that patients are not yet able to see or feel. When you maintain regular preventive dental appointments, you can avoid decay and gum disease and identify the beginnings of oral health problems before they become severe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I really need to have my teeth professionally cleaned?
Yes. Even if you brush and floss after every meal and before bed, bacteria-harboring plaque can accumulate in the tiniest crevices, grooves and pits. Over time, the teeth will begin to develop cavities in those areas, which may result in pain and partial or total tooth loss.
What should I expect at my cleaning and exam?
Your cleaning and examination will consist of a visual check-up of the teeth and gums. If it’s been over a year since you’ve seen a dentist, you may also require x-rays for a more comprehensive view of your teeth. You’ll have the opportunity to consult with your dentist about any oral health concerns or questions you may have. The cleaning will follow, during which a dental hygienist will use special instruments to remove the hardened plaque from your teeth, and your teeth will be polished.
Between dental cleanings and exams, be sure to maintain good oral habits at home. This includes brushing at least twice per day and regular flossing. Fluoridated toothpaste and water are also key components to fighting cavities and dental disease.