Many of us are taught the importance of cleaning our teeth at an early age, but not everyone is as aware of the importance of regular professional teeth cleaning. Professional teeth cleaning is a common procedure done by dental hygienists (usually every 6 months) to help remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar from your teeth. Teeth cleanings also allow your dentist an opportunity to review your oral health and look for early stages of some serious medical conditions, such as leukemia, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, strokes, and even some cancers. regularly examines your mouth and professionally cleans it, they can catch some of the early stages of these conditions as well as any oral health issues early and address them, sometimes preventing them altogether.
To help supplement your daily at-home oral hygiene, Bright Now! Dental offers professional teeth cleaning as part of our comprehensive dental services. With a variety of payment options and multiple convenient locations, we make it fast, easy, and affordable for you to take the best care possible of your teeth and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.
What is professional in-office teeth cleaning?
Oral health plays a major role in overall health, and understanding what happens during professional teeth cleaning can help reduce some of the hesitancy people have when visiting the dentist.
Here’s what you can expect during an in-office, professional teeth cleaning.
- Removing plaque and tartar. Regular brushing and flossing help remove some plaque, but if they can’t get all of it, and if plaque is not cleaned properly it can harden into tartar. Once tartar develops, it can’t be removed at home and must be cleaned professionally. At your teeth cleaning appointment, a dental hygienist will use special tools to scrape off any accumulated plaque or tartar.
- Tooth scrubbing and polishing. After the tartar is removed, the hygienist will use a powerful electric brush with slightly abrasive toothpaste to deeply clean and smooth your teeth. This step also removes any minor enamel stains and makes it more difficult for bacteria and plaque to stay on your teeth.
- Fluoride Treatment. Following the teeth cleaning, you may receive a fluoride treatment to help reduce bacteria from developing on teeth and strengthen your enamel. Either a varnish will be applied to your teeth that will be hardened by your saliva, or a mouthpiece with fluoride gel or paste will be held against your teeth for around a minute.
- Conduct an oral examination. Once the hygienist is done cleaning your teeth, the dentist will come and use a mirror and a small tool to examine your mouth for any irregularities or signs of any issues or areas of concern, such as:
- Patches, lumps, or sores
- Cavities or soft areas in the teeth
- Bite alignment
- Teeth grinding or other damage
- Signs of gum disease, such as poor gum spacing
Most professional in-office cleaning treatments are short and fairly simple but have long-lasting benefits on your overall health, particularly in combination with proper at-home oral care.
At-Home Oral Care
Combining proper at-home dental hygiene like regular teeth cleaning with professional cleaning reduces the likelihood of oral health problems. At home, it is important to:
- Brush at least twice each day, preferably morning and evening. When you clean in the morning, you remove the bacteria that has accumulated overnight while you sleep. Night brushing just before you sleep is essential because the primary cleaning agent in your mouth (saliva) is low during the evenings.
- It’s also recommended you brush your teeth around an hour after you have finished a meal. It’s important to wait for an hour because it takes your mouth around 40 minutes to neutralize the acids that were present in the food you’ve eaten. While these acids are still in your mouth, the enamel on your teeth is weaker and is easier to remove accidentally by brushing.
- Use proper brushing techniques. Dentists recommend brushing in circular motions for two to three minutes on all surfaces of the teeth. Brushing your gums and tongue can also improve oral health.
- Make sure the toothbrush you use does not have hard bristles and replace it at least every three months.
- Use toothpaste with fluoride. Most kinds of toothpaste have a small amount of fluoride in them that will help protect the teeth from bacteria and strengthen the enamel, and some dentists may prescribe a specific toothpaste for you to use. Remember to use around a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, and ask your dentist if you have any questions.
- It’s not recommended to use any form of daily abrasive polishing at home as it can reduce the protective enamel that naturally occurs on your teeth.
- Floss regularly and thoroughly. Doing this will help you remove food particles that get caught between the teeth where a brush can’t reach. It’s important to make sure you floss between any teeth that touch, moving the floss from side to side along the whole area of the tooth. Without flossing, the food particles between teeth can attract bacteria and cause tooth decay over time.
Get on Track to a Healthier Smile with Bright Now! Dental
At-home oral care is one of the simplest ways to keep your smile healthy, but it’s not enough to deep clean some of the harder-to-reach places. Combining good daily hygiene practices with twice-a-year oral examinations and cleanings can help identify and address more complex dental problems that brushing and flossing alone can’t take care of.
You’ll find professional teeth cleanings as well as resources and guidance for at-home care at Bright Now! Dental. We accept most major dental insurances–many of which cover routine examinations and teeth cleaning–and offer our own OneSmile dental plan if you don’t have insurance, which provides members with free oral exams and discounted dental care services for one low annual fee.
Taking care of your teeth should be affordable and convenient. Find the Bright Now! Dental office nearest you to schedule an appointment and get on your way to a healthier smile!