A routine teeth cleaning (or “prophylaxis,” as those who work in dentistry call it) is a crucial part of one’s dental hygiene routine. Daily brushing and flossing at home are vital to keep teeth and gums in good health. But it is just as important to see the dentist at least twice a year for a teeth cleaning.
Expert teeth cleanings do more than help you to maintain good dental hygiene and keep your teeth looking great. They also give your dentist a chance to spot early signs of gum disease, tooth decay, and other threats to your health.
The 3 Parts of Teeth Cleaning
Most often, teeth cleanings have a diagnostic, a preventive, and an educational component.
The diagnostic part will often involve a survey of your medical history, a blood pressure check, and an exam to detect oral cancer. This is in addition to x-rays, a review of the health of your gums, and a check for tooth decay. If you need to see a specialist, the dentist will give you a referral.
The educational part may include info on the best ways to brush and floss. The dentist may also let you know how she thinks you are doing with your dental self-care. She may also give you some tips on nutrition.
If the dentist thinks you need cosmetic or restorative work, or that some of your habits need to be changed (tobacco use, for instance), she may talk about these things at this time.
Talk to your dentist to learn more about what goes on during a dental cleaning. And be sure you have a cleaning twice a year.