Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 06:06 am
A beautiful smile is a symbol of healthy and well-cared-for gums. It explains why dentists recommend making visits twice a year to remove stains and evaluate overall oral health; however, for many people, this can be a time of stress that stems from the sound of the dental equipment.
Prophylaxis or dental cleaning is a procedure that consists of the thorough cleaning of the external surfaces of the tooth and is always performed in the dental office. Prophylaxis is an important treatment to help stop the progression of periodontal disease and gingivitis.
Everyone requires a complete dental cleaning at least once a year at which time they can assess their dental health to avoid risks.
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What do healthy gums look like?
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, healthy gums are usually pale pink and soft to the touch. They usually do not bleed during brushing or flossing. Also, as a rule, healthy gums are not inflamed or swollen; they remain firm and attached to the teeth.
It is important to note that the appearance of the gums can vary from person to person. Some people may have darker or lighter gums than normal without indicating a health problem.
Why do gums get sick?
When the gums and teeth are not properly cleaned, it not only creates an aesthetic and appearance problem but can also cause oral health problems, which can lead to serious conditions if allowed to progress.
Tartar on the teeth and gums, caused by the accumulation of food debris, turns into plaque and can cause cavities either due to a lack of oral hygiene or, in some cases, due to a disease that compromises or modifies the response of the immune system such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases, HIV, hormonal disorders, pregnancy, among others.
These disorders can manifest as gingivitis or periodontitis; the difference between the two is that gingivitis is only an inflammation of the gums while in periodontitis, there will be damage, not only to the gums but also to the tissues that surround the tooth internally.
What do diseased gums look like?
When there is an accumulation of tartar in the gums and a routine cleaning is not carried out or the dentist is not visited, the teeth begin to present a series of changes and finally gum disease.
Gums with gingivitis will appear dark reddish and shiny; they tend to bleed spontaneously or upon a stimulus. This is the initial phase of periodontal disease in which plaque initiates the demineralization process, eventually becoming dental calculus. These dental calculi adhere to the dental surface and will go deeper, entailing the resorption of the bone that supports it and the ligaments that keep the tooth in position. This destruction of the supporting tissues generates periodontitis; being irreversible, it results in the loss of the affected teeth.
Why should I do oral cleanings daily?
Daily oral cleaning helps to remove food residue, preventing bacteria from demineralizing the teeth, thereby generating cavities. Sometimes, this is called dental prophylaxis. Additionally, it prevents stains and removes the tartar that accumulates in the gums.
To prevent both gingivitis and periodontitis, the American Dental Association recommends practicing the habit of brushing teeth after meals, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash at least once a day. All this will prevent the accumulation of food debris, avoiding the formation of plaque and its subsequent calcification. In addition, visits to the dentist at least every six months will help stop the accumulation or demineralization process depending upon the state of oral health present at that time.
What is a dental cleaning?
Dental prophylaxis or cleaning as a procedure helps maintain good oral health and stops the progress of periodontal diseases. It is done during regular visits to the dentist, where the entire surface of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned both above and below the gum line is done with special instruments, either brush with different types of bristles or even metallic instruments. This will leave the surface of the tooth bright, smooth, and whiter since it will eliminate the discoloration that results from drinking coffee and tea or smoking.
Types of dental cleaning
Depending upon the state of the teeth and gums, other treatments or deep cleanings are required. Cleanings in general prevent gum disease while regular visits to the dentist allow for the identification of oral health problems in time.
Routine cleaning (Prophylaxis)
When accompanied by home care with the use of a brush and dental floss, it is done with brushes that rotate at a certain speed with a product that can remove stains, plaque, and tartar found on the surface of the teeth. It helps prevent cavities and gum disease since fluoride or dental sealants may be applied.
Deep dental cleaning
If you have symptoms of gingivitis, you may require deep cleaning since tartar and plaque accumulate between the teeth and below the gums. If your gums are red, shiny, and swollen, or bleed when you floss, you probably have gingivitis. In this procedure, scaling and root planning are applied. They are invasive procedures, but not surgical; what they do is disinfect the line below the gums. The deep cleaning is done in a single session, but if the problem becomes severe, it can take much longer.
This procedure is performed on those who do not brush or use dental floss properly. In addition, it is advised for people who do not make regular visits to the dentist. This method thoroughly removes severe plaque buildup on the surface of the teeth, the gums, and even the spaces between the teeth. Ultrasound is usually applied with special tools to help loosen hardened plaque deposits.
It is indicated to combat periodontal disease, and it must be done every 3 or 4 months because gum diseases are progressive and even loosen the teeth if not treated in time. The procedure involves removing plaque and tartar buildup between the teeth and gums, including where the root, gum, and bone meet. An antiseptic medication is irrigated into the gum pockets to kill any infection and prevent the growth of bacteria.
What are the importance and benefits of dental cleaning?
- Remove dental plaque and calculus: After 2 or 3 days without brushing the teeth, the food that remains on dental surfaces changes their consistency, and it will not be easy to remove it with simple brushing. Now be done in the dental office with the use of instruments to completely remove any residue, even more so when the plaque hardens.
- Aesthetics: The appearance of healthy, pink gums that do not bleed. In addition to the smooth and shiny surface, it will give a more beautiful smile.
- Fresh breath: Frequently, in the presence of periodontal disease, there is bad breath (halitosis)because accumulated food will degrade in the mouth. Removing plaque and tartar will considerably reduce halitosis as well as tissue inflammation.
The American Academy of Periodontics recommends prophylaxis or dental cleaning as prevention at least twice a year, and in patients with periodontal disease, every 3 months or four times a year. Although periodontitis, which includes receding gums, is irreversible, ongoing prophylaxis will help maintain a healthy tissue condition and prevent further progress.
If you have any questions about this or other topics, you can contact us at Channel Islands Family Dental as well as our page on Facebook. We look forward to your visit and we will make a timely diagnosis. Our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, Newbury Park, and Port Hueneme will be able to guide you toward the best treatment to take care of your health and give you back your best smile.
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