Professional Cleanings at Barbara Young DDS
Why Are Professional Cleanings So Important?
The top two reasons adults lose teeth are cavities and gum disease, which is why, on top of a good dental hygiene routine, regular professional cleaning appointments at your San Diego dentist are so crucial. Even the best daily brushing and flossing won’t get every bit of plaque between teeth and along the gum lines, and that plaque eventually hardens into tartar. Professional cleaning gets rid of all that tartar and keeps your teeth and gums on track to stay healthy.
Tartar or Dental Calculus
The reason it’s so important to scrub away the plaque is that when it is allowed to sit on the teeth too long, it becomes tartar. Tartar is a hard, yellow or brown substance that bonds to tooth enamel and can only be removed by a hygienist at a professional cleaning appointment.
How does this transformation happen? When the acid excreted by oral bacteria comes into contact with minerals in our saliva, it causes a chemical reaction that hardens the plaque into tartar. The risk of tartar buildup is higher for people with braces, dry mouth, crowded teeth, or a smoking habit, and it also increases with age.
Dental Cleanings With Your Dentist in San Diego Fight Gum Disease
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums characterized by gum irritation, redness, swelling, and sometimes bleeding. Symptoms of gingivitis are fairly mild and can even be painless. Visiting your dentist in San Diego, CA regularly is important so gingivitis can be diagnosed, especially if symptoms are not obvious.
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal, or gum disease, and should be taken seriously. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress to periodontitis, which can lead to receding and damaged gums as well as bone and tooth loss.
Cavities Are a Sign of Tooth Decay
A cavity is a small hole that develops on your tooth when it begins to decay. Harmful bacteria are contained in the plaque that sticks to our teeth. This bacteria produces acid that eats away at our teeth and causes cavities if the plaque is not removed. If left untreated, the cavity can grow larger and cause permanent damage to the tooth.
Letting cavities fester is more common than you think. Approximately 28% of adults are living with untreated cavities. Because cavities are so commonplace, some may think they can leave them untreated, either to save money or spare themselves a filling. It is important to remember, however, that a cavity is considered an infection that requires prompt treatment.
If cavity-causing bacteria is allowed to reach the dental pulp, it can lead to a condition known as pulpitis, or inflammation of the pulp. If treated quickly, pulpitis can be treated with a simple filling. If left to progress, more serious measures may need to be taken such as a root canal or tooth extraction.
Regular dental cleanings will include an examination by your dentist in San Diego, so any existing tooth decay can be caught before it becomes a bigger problem and some problem areas might even be caught before they develop into cavities!
The Hygienist Cleaning Your Teeth
The hygienist uses a small metal tool called a scaler to scrape away any tartar in between the teeth and around the gumline. Then they’ll polish the teeth using a lightly abrasive paste and a polishing tool. This gives your teeth a nice, deep clean and removes any remaining tartar. They finish the cleaning off with flossing.
How Often Should I Come In For Cleanings?
In general, patients should schedule basic cleaning appointments twice a year, but it’s important to talk to Dr. Young about your individual dental health needs. Patients with risk factors for developing gum disease may need more frequent cleanings, and diabetic patients often require as many as four cleanings per year to fight back against the attendant oral health difficulties.
Schedule Your Next Cleaning with Barbara Young DDS
If it’s been six months or longer since your last appointment, what are you waiting for? Give us a call at (858) 273-7777 or send us an email today to schedule your next one. We want to give our patients all the tools they need to fight back against cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. Make sure to check the map for directions to our San Diego practice!