Having clean, white teeth is important not only for a confident and aesthetically pleasing smile but also for overall oral health. It reflects proper hygiene, prevents potential dental issues, and contributes to a positive self-image. At Implant & Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL, we encourage all our patients to book regular dental cleaning appointments to keep their teeth healthy.
What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?
Your cleaning appointment typically includes three processes: scaling the teeth, polishing the teeth, and flossing. For scaling, your dental hygienist uses specialized tools to remove plaque and tartar buildup from the tooth surfaces. The process involves gently scraping away these deposits, which can be hard and calcified, using hand scalers or ultrasonic instruments.
The duration of scaling varies but typically takes around 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the extent of plaque and tartar accumulation. Patients can expect occasional sounds and vibrations during the treatment, but it shouldn’t hurt. After scaling, the teeth may feel smoother, and patients often notice an immediate improvement in the cleanliness and freshness of their mouths.
Polishing the Teeth
After the removal of plaque and tartar, the dental hygienist uses a polishing tool, often a rotating rubber cup or a prophy jet with a fine abrasive paste, to smooth the tooth surfaces and remove surface stains. This is generally comfortable and involves a gentle, buzzing sensation.
The abrasive paste, often flavored, may have a gritty texture but is not painful. The process typically takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Patients can expect a brighter and smoother tooth surface after polishing, contributing to an improved overall oral feel and appearance.
Toward the end of your appointment, the hygienist flosses between the teeth to ensure thorough removal of plaque and debris from areas that may be challenging to reach with regular brushing. Professional flossing involves using a technique that efficiently navigates tight spaces and addresses specific dental concerns.
However, at-home flossing is just as crucial for daily oral care. Dental floss reaches areas between teeth and below the gumline, where toothbrushes might miss, preventing plaque buildup and reducing the risk of gum disease and cavities. To maintain optimal oral health, floss daily, using a gentle sawing motion to glide the floss between teeth and curve it around each tooth. Regular flossing, together with brushing, supports a healthy and vibrant smile.
Who Needs an Appointment?
Periodic hygienist appointments are recommended for patients of all ages to maintain optimal oral health. It is a good idea to start cleanings early in childhood to instill good oral hygiene habits and prevent issues like cavities and gum disease. Adults, including those with dental implants, should schedule regular cleanings to ensure the longevity of their restorations and prevent complications.
People with dentures can benefit from hygienist appointments to address any remaining natural teeth, assess the fit of the dentures, and receive guidance on proper cleaning. Patients with braces also benefit from professional cleanings to navigate around orthodontic appliances effectively.
Appointments for Children
When working with our youngest patients, we adopt a child-friendly approach to prevent fear and stress. We pay special attention to educating children on proper brushing and flossing techniques in an engaging manner. Behavioral guidance is a key aspect of childhood dentist appointments, encouraging positive attitudes toward oral care and creating a foundation for a lifetime of good dental hygiene.
Additionally, we may use less intimidating tools, such as electric toothbrushes with colorful attachments, to make the experience enjoyable. During the appointment, our hygienist carefully assesses the development of primary and permanent teeth, monitoring for any signs of early cavities or alignment issues. Fluoride treatments may be applied to strengthen developing enamel.
Appointments for People with Dental Anxiety
For our patients with dental anxiety, we employ various strategies to create a comfortable and calming environment during cleanings. We prioritize open communication, taking time to discuss any concerns or fears beforehand. Establishing a trusting relationship is crucial, and our hygienists may explain each step of the cleaning process to alleviate anxiety.
We may also incorporate breaks during the cleaning to ensure the patient feels in control of the situation. Discussing signals for when a patient needs a pause or has discomfort fosters a collaborative and supportive atmosphere. By tailoring the experience to your needs, our dental hygienists aim to make dental cleaning more tolerable and reduce anxiety.
How Often Should I Come to the Clinic?
Most people need to come to the clinic once or twice a year to get their teeth cleaned. However, certain patients with dental issues or conditions may need more frequent cleanings. Individuals with a history of gum disease, those prone to plaque buildup, or those with a higher risk of cavities may benefit from an appointment every three to four months.
People with dental restorations like crowns or bridges might also require more regular cleanings to ensure the longevity of their restorations and prevent complications. Additionally, individuals undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces often need cleanings every few weeks or months to manage the challenges associated with maintaining oral hygiene around orthodontic appliances.
Preventing Excessive Plaque Buildup
Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is crucial in preventing plaque buildup. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and employ gentle, circular motions. Pay extra attention to the gumline, the surfaces of all teeth, and the tongue. A mouthwash containing antibacterial agents can complement your routine, reaching areas your toothbrush might miss and helping to control bacteria.
Limiting sugary and starchy food intake reduces the substrate for plaque formation and contributes to a healthier mouth. Regular dental check-ups in addition to your cleanings are essential as they allow our dentists to detect and address any early signs of plaque-related issues. Stay well-hydrated, as this also aids in maintaining a healthy oral environment.
Get Your Teeth Cleaned By Our Compassionate Hygienists
Frequent dental cleaning appointments are essential because they remove stubborn plaque and tartar buildup, target hard-to-reach areas, and allow for early detection and prevention of dental issues. Reach out to us at Implant & Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL, to find out more about our hygienists and to book your first cleaning.