Teeth Cleaning Q & A

Westwood Dental Arts Center

Why are teeth cleaning appointments important?

Teeth cleaning is the best way to help keep gum disease at bay, and it’s also important for identifying the early signs of gum disease so treatment can be initiated right away to prevent serious damage like tooth loss. Plus, during your appointment the hygienist can provide you with helpful tips to ensure you brush and floss the correct way so teeth and gums stay healthy between office visits.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease occurs when harmful bacteria build up along the gum line. As they multiply, they release materials that are toxic to gums, causing gums to slowly pull away from teeth over time. As gums pull away, it becomes easier for bacteria to lodge and multiply. Eventually, bacteria reaches the tooth roots, causing them to become loose and finally resulting in tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among men and women in the U.S. Regular teeth cleaning appointments help ensure gum disease is kept at bay.

What are root planing and scaling?

Root planing and scaling are special teeth cleaning procedures used to remove plaque, tartar and bacteria below the gum line and around the roots. These deep-cleaning approaches are used in patients who exhibit signs of more advanced stages of gum disease. Patients without any signs of gum disease or with very minor signs of disease can be helped with regular cleaning performed by the hygienist. During these procedures, bacteria, plaque and tartar are carefully cleaned from the surfaces of the teeth, including in between teeth.

How often should I have my teeth cleaned?

You should have your teeth cleaned at every regular exam, or twice a year. When gum disease is present, you may need more frequent cleanings to ensure the disease doesn’t progress.

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