Dental cleanings are the most common reason people visit the dentist office. Cleanings are preventative and allow your dentist to spot problems as early as possible. In addition to daily brushing and flossing, semi-annual cleanings are one of the most important things you can do to protect your dental health. Cleanings are officially known as dental prophylaxis. You might hear your dentist or dental hygienist refer to the process as a prophy for short. People of all ages should undergo prophys and children should also have fluoride treatments during their twice-a-year prophy visit.
What is included in the dental cleaning process?
A dental cleaning is much like a checkup at your physician’s office, but this checkup also includes several treatments. In addition to your dentist examining the health of your teeth and gums, the appointment will also include cleaning, scaling, and polishing. X-rays are usually a part of the process, so your dentist will have the opportunity to search for tumors, cysts, decay, and bone loss that is not visible during the standard exam.
Dental checkups also include an oral cancer screening. Signs and symptoms of oral cancer might not be obvious, but a professional screening will check for issues in the throat, face, neck, lips, tongue, and gum tissue. Your dentist will also check on previous procedures. If you have fillings, crowns, or implants, these will also be checked.
The dental cleaning is usually performed by a dental hygienist and includes several steps. First, calculus will be removed from above and below the gum line with special dental instruments. Next, plaque is removed from the teeth. This eliminates the bacteria that trigger inflammation of the gums. Finally, teeth are polished to remove surface stains and plaque that was not removed during the scaling procedure.
Dental cleanings help you prevent serious dental health issues and allow your dentist to closely monitor the current state of your dental health. If you need to schedule your semi-annual dental cleaning, contact us today.
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