Six-month preventive dental visits are important for not only ensuring your long-term dental health but also reducing the risk of emergencies. These visits typically involve professional teeth cleaning to remove tartar (hardened plaque) that may contribute to dental issues such as decay, gum disease, and bad breath, among others. Most hygienists perform the oral evaluation before teeth cleaning, as it may reveal that you need a full-mouth debridement (cleaning above and below the gums), as opposed to standard teeth cleaning of the exposed part of the teeth (above the gum line).
Full-mouth debridement (FMD) is different from prophylaxis or professional cleaning. While FMD is necessary to diagnose what’s happening inside your mouth, prophylaxis simply involves the removal of tartar (hardened plaque) from the surface of your teeth. Moreover, FMD does not need to be done routinely like teeth cleaning. Your dentist may, however, recommend a full-mouth debridement if you have:
- Tough, hardened tartar on tooth enamel
- Swollen gums
During FBD, the dental hygienist uses an ultrasonic device or electric scaler, as well as various manual instruments to clean the exposed surface of your teeth, followed by fine-scaling the roots. In the event that you need additional dental procedures like due to advanced periodontal disease, they will be scheduled 4 to 6 weeks later. During this time, you should follow your hygienist’s instructions for oral hygiene to ensure speedy recovery of your gums.
Regular Teeth Cleaning
If the oral examination reveals that regular teeth cleaning will be enough, the dental hygienist will clean your teeth using special tools to remove tartar, through a process known as scaling. Next, the teeth will be polished using a gritty paste. This process is used to remove any surface stains. Finally, the hygienist uses dental floss to clean the area between your teeth.
Depending on the health of your gums, the hygienist may need to inspect your roots for abnormalities. If you’re suffering from bad breath (halitosis), then gingival irrigation may be necessary to remove food debris and accumulated bacteria. It involves spraying a stream of medicated water in the problem areas to remove bacteria hiding in areas that are hard to reach with a toothbrush or dental floss. This helps to reduce the size of gum pockets and improves your overall oral health.
Routine checkups allow the dental hygienist to not only clean your teeth but also inspect your mouth for any risks to allow for timely intervention. For instance, the dentist may recommend fluoride treatment to remineralize teeth with severely thin tooth enamel, to manage hypersensitivity caused by thinning enamel, or to prevent decay. Please schedule your teeth cleaning appointment with your dentist in Lakewood OH today for your oral and general health.