While there’s plenty of proof that professionally cleaning your teeth on schedule can prevent cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss, 100 million Americans don’t see a dentist annually.
If you’re not experiencing problems with your teeth or gums, you may be considering putting off your professional dental cleaning. However, attending these appointments can save you both time and money. Dental cleanings can identify problems before symptoms occur and require more costly and complex treatment that can take multiple office visits to correct.
You’ll get optimal benefits from cleaning your teeth on schedule when you visit a dental practice that includes a comprehensive exam with your cleaning appointment. Our dentists at Rifkin Dental in Yorktown Heights and Carmel, New York, provide professional teeth cleaning visits that include a thorough evaluation of your dental health.
During your cleaning appointment, our team at Rifkin Dental works to protect your overall wellness by assessing your mouth for signs of problems that affect your teeth and gums.
Find out more about the benefits of a professional cleaning and why you shouldn’t skip this type of dental appointment.
Brushing and flossing can provide protection from cavities, but only a dental professional can determine if your efforts are enough to prevent tooth loss. The oral examination that accompanies your dental cleaning can identify signs of tooth decay before they cause symptoms. About 26% of adults age 20 to 64 have untreated tooth decay.
A professional cleaning includes several procedures that ensure your teeth are healthy. During your cleaning, your dentist uses a small, handheld mirror to examine areas like your rear molars and the inside surfaces of your teeth. X-rays help assess the condition of your teeth, gums, and tooth roots.
Your oral examination also helps your dentist identify signs of improper brushing or flossing. They can point out signs of brushing too hard or too gently and using your teeth as tools. If necessary, you can receive a refresher on proper techniques.
Other conditions, like teeth grinding and obstructive sleep apnea, can also be addressed with recommendations for ways to correct these conditions.
Your oral examination includes an assessment of your risk for periodontal disease, or gum disease. In this part of the visit, your dentist looks for changes in gum recession, gum firmness, and bleeding, which can indicate gum health.
Gum recession is measured using a periodontal probe, a dental instrument that acts like a dental ruler. This painless procedure measures the depth of the space between each tooth and the gum line under it. Grooves that measure deeper than 4 mm indicate periodontal disease.
Your measurements are recorded and compared at each appointment so your dentist can monitor whether any of the spaces are growing over time.
Your dental cleaning starts with the use of a handheld scraper. This tool removes plaque (a sticky film composed of food debris and bacteria) and tartar (hardened plaque) that your toothbrush can’t eliminate.
Removing these substances prevents cavities and tooth decay. Scheduling a professional teeth cleaning twice annually helps to reduce the amount of time these damaging substances remain on your teeth.
After your scraping, your teeth are cleaned using a gritty, professional toothpaste and a high-powered electric toothbrush. The combination provides a deep-down clean you can’t achieve at home. Your dentist also flosses your teeth to locate signs of bleeding, which can indicate periodontal disease.
You may receive a fluoride treatment to protect your teeth for a few months after your cleaning.
An important aspect of your dental cleaning is a screening for oral cancer. Every year, 54,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer. This screening is valuable because oral cancer often develops without detection until it has spread to another part of your body, when treatment can be more challenging.
An oral cancer screening is a painless observation of your tongue, cheeks, palate, lips, floor of your mouth, and gums, as well as your neck and head. Your dentist can identify signs of oral cancer, like red or white patches or other growths, which can develop behind your teeth or under your tongue where you can’t see them.
Evidence of other health issues, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, or thyroid disease, can also be identified during your cleaning. More than 90% of all systemic diseases present oral symptoms such as dry mouth, swollen gums, mouth ulcers, or bad breath.
The preventive care you receive against gum disease also protects your well-being. Untreated gum disease results in a higher level of bacteria in your mouth, allowing time for an infection to spread and damage other parts of your body. Having gum disease can increase your risk of health conditions like cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and cancer.
Don’t ignore the value of twice-annual professional cleanings in maintaining your oral health and overall wellness. Schedule a consultation by calling our Yorktown Heights or Carmel office today.