Along with regular brushing and flossing, dental cleanings are an integral step in keeping the teeth and mouth healthy.
Brushing and flossing daily are effective at removing the majority of plaque and debris from tooth surfaces. This prevents bacteria found in plaque from eating away at the teeth and potentially causing decay. However, cleaning at home will always leave traces of debris behind. If this is left for a prolonged amount of time, it could still lead to tooth decay.
Teeth cleanings, usually performed by a hygienist, get rid of any remaining traces of plaque and tartar from the teeth. First, the buildup is removed from the surface of the teeth using dental tools. The teeth are then brushed with a special toothpaste that has a gritty texture to get them clean and polished. The last step is professional flossing, followed by a rinse.
Unlike diseases of the body, oral diseases do not usually show any symptoms until they are fairly advanced and difficult to treat. The key, then, to successfully treating any issues that may arise is early detection. This is done during regular exams at the dentist. The dentist will look for signs of any developing oral issues in the teeth and gums. Digital x-rays may be taken to examine below the surface of the teeth. An oral cancer screening will also be performed. After the cleaning, the dentist will stop in to discuss any issues that may have been found during the exam and treatment options, if necessary.