Proper oral hygiene is pivotal for patients of all ages. At Rominger Family Dentistry, we offer regular and deep cleanings for patients of all ages. Oral care is a group effort between patients and our dental team.
As a patient, you are responsible for taking care of your teeth and gums at home. This includes following daily oral hygiene regimens, limiting excess sugar intake, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. However, home care by itself is not enough. Routine dental visits are absolutely necessary to assess the health of your teeth and gums and to address any issues that are noticed.
The dental team wants to see you on a regular basis to protect your oral health. Exams and cleanings are responsible for maintaining the health of your teeth, gums, and oral cavity.
What is the difference between a regular cleaning and a deep cleaning?
A regular cleaning is done for patients who do not have more advanced periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease. Our dental hygienists are professionally trained to remove plaque and calculus (commonly known as tartar). They are able to reach areas that are often very difficult to reach at home, and they have special equipment to help remove hard to remove tartar.
On the other hand, deep cleanings (often referred to as scaling and root planing) are necessary when a patient presents to our office with periodontal disease. Many patients in the United States have mild gum disease, which is referred to as gingivitis. However, when gum disease progresses beyond gingivitis, it is diagnosed as periodontal disease.
Plaque turns into calculus (commonly known as tartar) over time and if this is not removed, it can lead to bone loss, tooth mobility, and tooth loss. In addition, untreated periodontal disease can affect other parts of your body, such as your cardiovascular system. For these reasons, it is critical for a patient to establish a dental home and get on a schedule for having their teeth cleaned, whether that be a regular or a deep cleaning.
How often should I have a cleaning done?
In most cases, cleanings and regular exams are scheduled every 6 months. Dental appointments are spaced in a precise manner for proper assessment and treatment. During the 6 months between visits, there is not a great deal of time for bacteria and plaque to accumulate and cause significant problems. When problems do arise in this time frame, they are generally small and easy to take care of.
In some cases, such as with patients who have periodontal disease, we may recommend cleanings every 3 or 4 months. The severity of one’s condition will determine how often one needs to be seen. Once a patient with periodontal disease gets their oral health into a more stable condition, they may need to be seen less often.
Do I really need an exam at my cleaning?
Yes, the dentist needs to check your teeth at each cleaning. This is really important so that any problems can be diagnosed and addressed early on. Problems such as periodontal disease and dental decay can move relatively quickly and cause problems with teeth, so it is really important for the dentist to evaluate each patient at each visit.
Do I really need x-rays once per year?
Many times, patients wonder if they truly need x-rays (radiographs). Truthfully, radiographs are absolutely key to providing the best possible dental care. Radiographs allow us providers to detect dental decay, bone loss, abscesses, and failing restorations, among many other things. Many times, radiographs will allow us to diagnose a problem before it gets complex, which often makes the treatment for the patient much easier than it could have been had radiographs not been taken.
Radiographs need to be taken for many patients at least once a year to ensure that we are diagnosing properly. For some select patients who have outstanding oral hygiene, we may decide to take radiographs less often, but for the most part, people need radiographs at least once per year.
What can I do at home to improve and/or maintain my oral hygiene?
Home care should include brushing at least twice daily, flossing at least once daily, and limiting the intake of sugary foods and beverages. In addition, it is helpful to rinse with mouthwash or an oral irrigator each day, replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head (if you have an electric brush) every 3-6 months, and avoid any tobacco products.