How Often Should You Get Your Teeth Professionally Cleaned?
One of the most common questions we get asked prior to people making their appointment in our Atlanta dental office is "how often should you get your teeth cleaned?"
For a healthy mouth, we recommend that you have your teeth cleaned and get a dental exam every six months. That usually includes a review of your medical history, any updates, changes, hospitalizations, new medications or allergies that you may have recently had. This can include anything new that we don't know, or if it's your first visit to our dental practice. We need to know about these changes because your teeth and your body are connected.
What Happens During A Teeth Cleaning?
We will also take dental x-rays of your teeth during your routine dental cleaning because we're very limited when inspecting your teeth visually and we know our limitations. We're really good, but we can't see in between teeth. The x-rays help us to identify things that we can't see with our eyes such as cavities, bone loss, and any heavy debris like tarter or calculus.
Next, we will sit down with you and examine your teeth and tissues. Our dental hygienist will visually examine your teeth looking for areas of decay, as well as any broken, fractured, or missing teeth.
Your initial dental cleaning will start off with probing. You've probably heard people call out numbers before they start cleaning your teeth. “One, three, three, two, five, six.” Those numbers are to help us evaluate the health of your gums.
After evaluating the health of your gums, we either proceed with the regular cleaning if your numbers are between one and three and if they're above four, then we’ll recommend a different kind of cleaning.
At Peach Valley Dental, we use an instrument called a Cavitron that uses water and ultrasonic vibrations during the teeth cleaning process. We also use hand scalers, those silver instruments that people think are sharp weapons, and they’re not.
During your dental cleaning, we also use polish and sometimes even air and water to remove stains from your teeth. In addition to that, we’ll floss your teeth.
Once that step is complete, we’ll recommend a treatment plan if replacement or restoration will be required. Our staff will teach you new hygiene habits if you've been slacking on some of the areas and show you how you can improve your overall dental health.
Does Teeth Cleaning Hurt?
Now the big question that everybody wants to know is, “does it hurt when I get a dental cleaning?”
Usually it doesn't hurt, however, there could be a little bit of discomfort if you haven't had your teeth cleaned in a long while. You may have some inflammation in your gums and it could make your teeth cleaning just a little uncomfortable.
But in normal conditions, there’s little to no discomfort. We like to refer to our dental cleanings as “a spa for your mouth.”
How a Deep Cleaning is Different
Remember those numbers your dental hygienist calls out during your exam? The higher the number (four and above), the more gingivitis and gum disease present. This is where a deep cleaning comes in. With it, we can get between your teeth and gums to clean out pockets of bacteria. Once the bacteria have been removed, you can begin to restore your oral health.
Is Dental Deep Cleaning Necessary?
If you have pockets of gingivitis and periodontal disease, you owe it to yourself to address them. Otherwise, the harmful bacteria in your mouth can make its way to your other body systems, resulting in any number of serious health concerns, from heart disease and strokes to pre-term labor. Other problems that can result include receding gums, teeth abscesses, sore or loose teeth, and ultimately teeth loss.
Benefits of Deep Cleaning Teeth
With deep cleanings, we can remove the bacteria, clean out the pockets, and begin the process of getting you back to good oral health. Deep cleanings address the problem at the source. With continued proper care at home, you will see great improvement in your teeth and gums in no time.
Benefits to deep cleanings include:
- Improved gum health
- Fewer cavities
- Better breath
- Stronger teeth
- Better overall health
Does Deep Cleaning Hurt?
Often, when we talk with patients about a deep cleaning vs. regular teeth cleaning, patients ask if a deep cleaning is going to hurt. Though the process may sound painful, it doesn’t have to be. We generally use a local anesthetic to numb the areas where we are working so you don’t feel anything. Once the anesthetic wears off you may experience some soreness, but it is usually short-lived.
Keeping Teeth and Gums Healthy
If you have been diagnosed with severe gum disease, don’t lose heart. We can work with you to restore your oral health. Once you have a deep cleaning completed, it is up to you to stay healthy. Brushing and flossing twice per day is the first step. The second step is to come in for regular exams and cleanings, twice per year, every year. This gives us the opportunity to catch any warning signs early, so they don’t progress into something more serious.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Teeth Cleaning Costs?
If you have insurance, nine times out of ten, they cover it at 100%, and you usually get two cleanings per year. Sometimes insurance coverage may vary and we’ll let you know what your policy covers prior to treatment. That way you will know prior to getting in the chair what your responsibility, if any, will be.
If you don't have dental insurance, we have a few plans to help you out. We have a $99 new patient special, which includes an exam and four diagnostic x-rays, and a cleaning if you have no other signs and symptoms of a disease.
Be sure to ask your dentist any questions prior to treatment, our goal is to make you feel as comfortable as possible and leave our office with a healthy smile. Do you have any other questions about how often should you get your teeth cleaned? Feel free to call our Atlanta dental office at 404-254-5196 to schedule an appointment.