Why do I need regular dental cleanings?Many people believe that their daily at-home oral care routine is more than enough to keep their teeth healthy and clean. The fact is that no matter how thorough you are in your cleaning routine there are too many areas in the mouth that are hard to reach and impossible to clean. The peace of mind that comes with knowing your teeth have been given a clean slate is well worth it.
Plaque and Tartar RemovalThe biggest threat to your mouth comes in the form of the bacteria that lives within it. Oral bacteria include:
These are the bacteria that make up plaque. They feed upon the remnants of foods that you have eaten, things that you can easily miss even after cleaning. These fall under the heading of plaque. Often people ask us what plaque is. Plaque is the bacteria that build up within your mouth, at the end of the day you can sometimes feel the plaque buildup as a film of stickiness if you run your finger over your teeth.
For the most part this film of plaque is removed in our daily cleaning routine in all the areas we can reach with our floss and tooth brush. The stuff the we miss eventually hardens into the substance known as tartar. Tartar is like a cement made of bacteria. It can’t be removed with a brush, or any normal at-home dental cleaning tools. It is pervasive and extremely detrimental to your oral health. Tartar buildup can easily lead to the following conditions:
Our primary goal when cleaning your teeth is the removal of plaque and tartar. We will meticulously examine every one of your teeth for buildup and remove it as we find it. Further, we will let you know about problem areas that you may regularly miss and we will give you tips on what you can do to prevent it from happening in the future.
Scaling and Root PlaningPeople are often surprised to learn that tartar can build up beneath the gum line. When this happens it can lead to all of the same issues as described above. The biggest difference is that bacterial deposits below the gums require a special type of cleaning known as scaling and root planing.
When we find bacterial deposits below the gum line we will scrape them off of the teeth and irrigate the space between the root and the gums. Once the scaling is finished we will plane the roots to make them smooth again. The end result is extremely beneficial for your oral health.
Tooth PolishingOver time, through exposure to the elements our teeth will become stained and discolored. We have found that the biggest causes of staining comes from acidic drinks like cola, coffee, and tea. Not only do these drinks have a dark coloration that tends to stain teeth over time, the acid in them has a tendency to wear down the enamel on the teeth.
Enamel is the white portion of the tooth. As the enamel wears away over your life, the layer below it (dentin) begins to show through. Dentin is yellow in color and is usually what shows through once enamel begins to wear thin.
Once your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned we will finish by polishing your teeth. Polishing evens out the surface of your teeth by smoothing out imperfections. Generally, polishing teeth will whiten them at least a shade or two. A smooth, polished tooth with very few imperfections presents fewer places where bacteria can gain purchase.
We polish teeth with a tool that spins a small, cup shaped disk of rubber. We will dip the rubber disk in a polishing compound and apply it to your tooth with some pressure. The polishing compound contains a gritty substance that gives the abrasion required to polish a tooth.
Please call our office today at (503) 765-7300 to schedule your appointment.