When it comes to how often patients need to visit the dentist for teeth cleaning, the answers will vary more than expected. The reasons behind the conflicting advice from many stems from the basic fact that no two patients are alike. However, those who don’t have a regular schedule of dental visits should have a place to start for setting up cleaning appointments, which is the average of twice a year.
Why Is Teeth Cleaning Important?
Regular brushing and flossing are vital to protecting teeth from cavities between dental appointments. However, even the most thorough people can miss spots when brushing their teeth. Professionally delivered teeth cleanings get deeper between teeth. In fact, there are three types of dental cleanings to address various concerns. These cleaning types are the following:
- Prophylaxis: This type of cleaning is a standard procedure that prevents dental problems by cleaning between the teeth.
- Gross debridement: Unlike other types of cleaning, this form allows for the assessment of the teeth and gums to find problems to address with the dentist.
- Scaling and root planing: Dentists often recommend this deep cleaning to treat periodontal (gum) disease.
Clearly, not every patient needs all three cleaning types every visit. In fact, most patients will only need prophylaxis as their standard cleaning option. However, patients should have regular exams with their cleanings to allow the dentist to determine if they require more thorough periodontal cleaning through scaling and root planing.
A prophylaxis cleaning helps to remove tartar and plaque from tooth surfaces. These substances could lead to decay if left unchecked. The hygienist will also polish the teeth to brighten them by getting rid of minor surface stains.
What Happens During Teeth Cleaning?
The procedure for teeth cleaning starts after the oral exam. First, the dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces, below the gum line, and between the teeth. The tool used for this process is a scaler.
Next, patients have toothpaste applied with an electric brush. After this, the hygienist flosses between the teeth and applies a fluoride finish. Fluoride treatment helps prevent cavities in all ages, especially in those at a higher risk of tooth decay.
As thorough as professional teeth cleaning is, patients must still need to brush twice daily and floss. Brushing at home protects the teeth from tartar build-up and decay. Flossing removes food from between the teeth and helps to keep the gums healthy. For those wondering, dentists and hygienists can tell when someone doesn’t brush or floss regularly.
Teeth Cleaning Frequency for Optimum Dental Health
The ideal teeth cleaning frequency is not the same for everyone. General guidelines suggest twice a year for the average person. However, some people may require more frequent cleanings. Those who have any of the following conditions or lifestyles may require more frequent appointments for dental cleanings:
- Regular smoker
- Under excessive stress
- Have a history of tooth or gum disease
- Have orthodontic issues
- Take medications that produce dry mouth
- Have cancer, HIV, or AIDS
During a dental exam, the patient should discuss the best interval for teeth cleanings with their dentist. Some low-risk, healthy people, may only need cleanings once a year. Those at average risk of tooth decay or gum disease may need twice-annual cleanings. High-risk individuals may need to visit the dentist more frequently.
Schedule Your Next Teeth Cleaning with Greenwood Dental in Waukegan, IL
Get started on maintaining excellent dental health with regular exams and cleanings. Set up a visit by calling 855.528.3961 or contacting us online at Greenwood Dental in Lake County, IL. Regular cleanings and checkups can help you to have healthy teeth and gums for life.