The Importance of Teeth Cleaning

It’s understandable that the thought of having a professional teeth cleaning may feel like an unnecessary inconvenience if you’re not experiencing problems. However, it can actually save you time and money by helping to prevent problems before they require more complex and costly treatment. The thorough process involved in teeth cleaning can prevent cavities and identify potential problems at their earliest stages before symptoms occur.

Having a teeth cleaning that’s accompanied by a thorough dental exam can help you make the most of your time in the dentist’s chair. Dental practitioners John Vellequette, DDS, and Stephanie Fung, DDS of Smile Center Silicon Valley in Sunnyvale, California, provide professional teeth cleaning appointments that include a complete dental health examination. The process helps to maintain both your oral and physical health by assessing your mouth for signs of potential dental issues.

Find out more about what’s involved with professional teeth cleaning and the difference it can make in your oral health and general well-being.

Oral health assessment

An important part of your teeth cleaning involves a comprehensive examination of your teeth, gums, and other areas of your mouth. This allows your dentist to identify signs of cavities and gum disease, both of which can exist without your knowledge even if you brush regularly. Up to 26% of adults age 20 to 64 have untreated tooth decay.

Your dentist uses a small, handheld mirror to examine areas that are less visible such as your rear molars and the inside surfaces of your teeth. 

If necessary, your dentist will also use digital X-rays to further evaluate your teeth and gums. If this is your first appointment at Smile Center Silicon Valley, the X-rays will be used as a baseline to compare against future X-rays for signs of bone decay.

An oral examination also allows your dentist to identify signs of improper brushing or flossing techniques. Evidence of brushing too hard, using your teeth as tools, or inadequate effort can be identified. 

Your dentist discusses ways to correct your technique. If other conditions, such as teeth grinding exist, your dentist recommends ways to protect your teeth.

Periodontal examination

Examining your oral health includes determining your risk for periodontal disease, or gum disease. Your dentist checks for signs of gum recession, firmness, and bleeding, all of which indicate the status of your gum health. 

To measure gum recession, your dentist uses a dental ruler called a periodontal probe. This painless tool measures the depth of the groove between each tooth and the gum line beneath it. 

Your periodontal measurements are recorded so your dentist can compare them against measurements at your next appointment to determine whether any of the spaces are increasing in size. Periodontal disease is indicated when the grooves measure deeper than 4 mm.

Professional dental cleaning

The first step in your dental cleaning involves the use of a handheld scraper. This tool helps your dentist remove plaque (a film composed of bacteria and food debris) and tartar (hardened plaque) that have collected on your teeth. 

Plaque and tartar cause cavities and tooth decay, so it’s important to limit the amount of time these substances remain on your teeth. For most patients, scheduling a professional teeth cleaning twice annually can protect your teeth from these damaging substances.

Your scraping is followed by a cleaning using gritty, professional toothpaste on a high-powered electric toothbrush. The combination provides a deep-down clean that you can’t achieve at home. Your dentist also flosses your teeth to identify signs of bleeding, which can indicate periodontal disease.

After your cleaning, you may receive a fluoride varnish to help protect your teeth from decay for a few months. 

General health screenings

The examination that accompanies your teeth cleaning can provide potentially life-saving evidence of problems with your physical health. 

Oral symptoms such as mouth ulcers, bad breath, swollen gums, or dry mouth accompany up to 90% of all systemic diseases. Changes in your mouth may indicate signs of conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, and heart disease that require further investigation. 

Your dentist also screens for oral cancer, a group of diseases that includes cancers of the tongue, lips, cheek, palate, throat, and floor of your mouth. Using a handheld mirror, your dentist can identify signs of oral cancer, which can include red or white patches behind your teeth or under your tongue where you may not notice them. This painless examination can identify signs of oral cancer in its earliest stages when treatment is most successful. 

Protect your mouth and overall well-being with teeth cleaning. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.

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