The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) recommends that a dentist or hygienist perform a dental cleaning every 6 months. During a dental cleaning, your hygienist or doctor uses professional tools to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria that build up in the mouth and that you are generally unable to efficient clean at home.
What is a professional dental cleaning?
During your appointment, your dentist or hygienist can:
- Remove hard and soft deposits (tartar and plaque) and stains from teeth
- Give personalized care instructions
- Administer fluoride and sealants to help prevent cavities
- Perform scaling, or removal of tartar from teeth
- Polish the teeth with an abrasive paste that removes minor stains and smooths the tooth, giving it a smooth surface that will be better resistant to plaque build-up
- Educate patients about periodontal disease and oral hygiene
What is a dental hygienist?
A dental hygienist is a licensed dental professional who specializes in oral health and preventing periodontal disease. Hygienists undergo extensive education and training to provide care to their patients.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is a serious gum infection that damages the tissue and destroys the bone that supports your teeth. It can cause tooth loss, and can also create an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. It is common, but highly preventable, and is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. Plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth can create gingivitis, which is the early stages of periodontal disease.
Why do my gums bleed after teeth cleaning?
The better that your oral hygiene is at home, the more comfortable and the less bleeding you will experience after a dental cleaning. If a patient does not brush and floss regularly and in the correct manner, bacteria builds up along the gum line next to the tooth. This bacteria irritates the gum, and it becomes more sensitive. When the gums are extremely sensitive, even the gentle touch of dental instruments can cause the tissue to bleed.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that helps to strengthen tooth enamel, the outermost layer of the tooth. It can be applied to the tooth as a rinse, gel, foam or a varnish. A stronger tooth enamel will be more resistant to acids that can lead to tooth decay.