One reason why a beautiful smile is considered so attractive is that it is a sign of overall good health. People with broken or poorly maintained teeth are often not considered to be the pinnacle of health, at first glance. If there is a problem or deficiency in your oral health, it will eventually affect your whole body. Regular dental cleanings and exams ensure healthy smiles and prevent serious problems. The type of dental cleaning you receive depends on the state of your teeth.
If you get regular dental cleanings (every six months), watch what you eat, and brush and floss every day, you probably receive what’s called a prophylaxis cleaning. The name refers to preventive care, which means that this type of dental cleaning on a regular basis (combined with good hygiene and diet habits) will prevent any serious plaque and tartar buildup above and below the gum line.
If you have gingivitis, there is probably a buildup of plaque and tartar between teeth and at the gum line. Regular brushing and flossing generally will prevent gingivitis, especially if you use a dental rinse to get the hard-to-reach spots. If your gums are red, shiny, puffy, or bleed when you floss, you have gingivitis. Your dentist or hygienist will remove any tartar at your cleaning, and you can prevent it from coming back by taking good care of your teeth, and coming back when your dentist recommends another cleaning.
Gum disease is a very serious condition that can contribute to systemic diseases such as heart disease and dementia. Periodontitis is another word for gum disease. It is a genetic condition where your body attacks the bone tissue in your mouth where bacteria is. This results in inflammation, irreversible gum recession, and the body’s response to chronic inflammation, which is the most serious issue of progression.
Fortunately, your dentist can treat and prevent further damage by performing deep cleanings, root scaling, and planing. This removes plaque and bacteria from below the gum line. Gel antibiotics may also be placed in the “pockets” formed from inflamed gums all the way to the tooth’s root. Follow up cleanings if you have gum disease may be every 3-4 months. This will hopefully prevent a recurrence.
For patients who have not had their teeth cleaned in a year or more, they need a cleaning procedure called debridement. This is a removal of deposits of plaque and tartar to reveal the state of teeth and gums. The dentist can evaluate your oral health at that point and move forward with treatment.
Having regular dental cleanings isn’t a luxury, it’s necessary for your health! Dr. Steven Hagerman takes the best care of his patients’ teeth in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. For cleanings, general dentistry, and cosmetic procedures, call (651) 646-2392 or request an appointment online today.