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Dental checkups and Cleanings
Brushing and flossing regularly at home are both great oral care habits, but are only part of the process of preventing cavities and gum disease. The other essential part of a successful oral care practice is having your teeth professionally cleaned by a hygienist.
To understand why brushing and flossing alone are not enough to maintain healthy teeth, you have to understand what plaque is. Plaque is continually developing on the teeth. Brushing and flossing actually disrupts the build up of plaque. If plaque accumulates it can harden into tartar and once that happens you can no longer remove it by brushing and flossing.
The condition of your teeth can make it harder to disrupt the plaque. For example crooked or crowded teeth can be much harder to clean. Deep pockets in your gums or between your teeth can make it hard or even impossible to reach by brushing and flossing. Normal pockets are 2-3 millimeters deep, whereas 4-5 millimeter pockets are considered deep and unreachable by home oral care measures.
What happens at a dental hygiene visit?
Here’s an overview of a typical dental hygiene appointment.
Our hygienists use a variety of tools to help deep clean your gums and the teeth surface, both above and below your gums. Normally our hygienists use a combination of an ultrasonic cleaner and hand tools to provide the most effective treatment. The ultrasonic and water sprayer are used to loosen and remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums. This tool is very effective, especially for teeth with heavy deposits of tartar. Our hygienist also uses hand tools to remove plaque and tartar.
For most people the cleaning process is quite painless. However, if your teeth or gums are sensitive, there is an option to use a local numbing agent or freezing to relieve this discomfort. The cleaning process is completed with a polishing and flossing and a recommended flouride treatment.
In addition to the cleaning an annual checkup is completed at your hygiene appointment. These include x-rays (if required), oral cancer screening and a periodontal examination (to check for early signs of gum disease). At the end of the hygiene session, your dentist will come in for a checkup and let you know if there are any concerns.
How often should I have an appointment?
The true answer to this question is that it depends on your oral health. Most people need to have an appointment every 6 months, but each person builds up plaque and calculus differently, which can increase the frequency needed. For example, patients with early signs of gum disease or with a history of gum disease could require a cleaning every 3-4 months. Patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease and those who smoke are also in a higher risk group and should have cleanings more often.
Our hygienists are caring and gentle. Not only will our hygienists take good care of your teeth and gums during an appointment, but they also strive to educate you about your oral health. This could include proper brushing and flossing techniques and more. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask our hygienists.
Please contact us to make an appointment.
"I don't think I have ever said this in my lifetime but I have to admit, I had a wonderful visit at the dentist yesterday... Thanks so much. I appreciate all that you do!"
“The best dentist I've ever been to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They certainly have patience with all my fears....:)”
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35 Colter Ct.
Monday 8:00am - 7:00pm
Tuesday-Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm
Saturday by appointment only.