Everyone knows that brushing your teeth is essential for good dental hygiene. But some people question whether having their teeth cleaned by a dental professional can in some way damage their teeth. Perhaps the confusion rises from semantics. A good cleaning by a certified, professional hygienist will not cause damage to your teeth. However, attempting to clean your teeth at home or having them cleaned by a non-professional may actually cause damage to your teeth. Here’s how.
The Importance of a Professional Cleaning
Teeth should be professionally cleaned no less than every six months or at least twice a year. More time in between cleanings opens the door for bacteria to set in and for periodontal disease – the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth – to develop or progress. Early stages of the periodontal disease is commonly known as gingivitis and include swollen and red gums that often bleed or are very sensitive. Regular dental cleanings are the best defense against periodontal disease; however untrained hands or non-dental professionals using any products that are intended for professional use – particularly dental instruments – can result in damage to the enamel that covers your teeth and injury to your gums and mouth. This could lead to infections, sores, or problems that likely eventually will require the attention of a dental professional.
What to Expect from a Dental Cleaning
If you are nervous about seeing the dentist for a check-up, know that the longer you put it off, the greater your chances of problems developing. One way to prevent this from happening is by regularly seeing your dentist for preventive care. At these appointments, your dental professional will perform a deep dental cleaning to remove deposits, plaque and tartar that will cause damage over time, plus ensure you leave with a pearly white smile. What can you expect from that dental cleaning?
- Removing plaque. Even with good hygiene, it is impossible to completely remove all the plaque that sticks to your teeth. Plaque is particularly dangerous as it contains millions of bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. To remove this plaque, your dentist or hygienist will floss your teeth (be sure to pay attention to their technique) and examine cavities or any other signs that may indicate greater health concerns.
- Removing tartar. Also known as dental calculus, tartar is a hard, calcified deposit that can only be removed by a dental professional. Don’t worry: the tools your dentist or hygienist will use won’t damage your tooth, but are tough enough to remove your tartar. A mirror is used to seek out the hard-to-reach places that need to be cleaned; the mirror not only reveals tartar build-up, it also provides a needed look at gums and the underside of the teeth. Your dentist will develop a treatment plan if you have now, or are a candidate for, gum disease.
- Clean and polish. The last step; your dental professional will use a hand-held brushing instrument applied with a pleasant-tasting cleanser to clean and polish each tooth to create a smooth and shiny surface; one that looks and feels great.
A Worry-free Experience
Have your teeth examined in an office by a board certified dentist is the best way to ensure your teeth remain healthy. As a patient, there is no reason for concern that your teeth will incur damage as a result of having them cleaned. As mentioned above, the instruments your dental professional uses are specialized to attack plaque and tartar without damaging your teeth. In fact, there is no better partnership for good dental health than you and your dentist. In between the professional cleanings, brushing and flossing every day, as well as maintaining a good diet low in sugary, sticky or acidic foods, can contribute to a lifetime of beautiful and healthy smiles.