Why Teeth Cleanings Are Important

teeth cleanings at the dentistOver time, plaque (a thick, bacteria-filled film) and tartar (a hard calcium-based build-up) can build up on your teeth. While regular brushing & flossing at home can help prevent this buildup, it can’t necessarily remove it. That’s why going to your dentist for a professional cleaning is so important.

Even if you have impeccable home oral hygiene habits (you floss & brush for at least two minutes twice daily, or even after every meal), there is still work for your dental hygienist to do at your teeth cleaning appointment. The cleaning you get at the dentist is a more thorough cleaning that you can get at home, even if you’re a brushing & flossing superstar.

If left on your teeth, icky buildups of plaque & tartar create an ideal habitat for bacteria to thrive. Allowing bacteria to stay on your teeth & near your gums can lead to both tooth decay & gum disease, both of which can cause you to lose your teeth (not to mention the pain & expenses). Bacteria have a harder time sticking to smooth, clean teeth than rough or fuzzy-feeling teeth with plaque & tartar on them.

Plus, having a professional teeth cleaning at the dentist means that you have a head start on keeping your teeth clean. Rather than battling potentially years of buildup (if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while), getting your teeth cleaned regularly means your get a clean start every six months & it will be that much easier to get a smooth, shiny smile at home between dental visits.

Best of all, cleanings can save you money in the long run. Most insured patients don’t pay anything out of pocket for their cleanings, so it’s essentially free. Plus, if you catch problems early or have the opportunity to prevent them you could eliminate the need for more expensive restorative procedures or gum disease treatments in the future.

See the Dentist More Often & You’ll Save Money!

an ounce of preventive dentistryWhat if we told you the more often you see your dentist, the less you’ll spend on dentistry? We know it sounds like a contradiction, but that is the power of preventive dentistry.

We recommend that you visit us at least twice a year for a teeth cleaning appointment, which also includes a basic exam. You’ll hear dental professionals refer to this kind of appointment as prophylaxis (prophy for short), which is a word that comes from a Greek term that means “guard”. The services we perform during your teeth cleaning & checkup are intended to guard against the spread & development of disease, particularly tooth decay & gum disease.

Think of your preventive dental care in terms of this metaphor: you’re at home & a bad rain storm is coming. What would you rather respond to, a weather report telling you that there is a flood warning, or three feet of water in your living room? Wouldn’t you want the early warning so you have time to place sandbags to keep the water out?

As a dental patient, which would you rather have, a dental hygienist gently removing plaque & tartar from your teeth, or the dentist telling you that your tooth is too far gone to be saved & has to be removed?

We say this not to scare you & not as a threat, but because we want you to think of preventive dentistry as an early warning system for your mouth. We’d rather let you know about the risks to your health & help you take preventive measures than be on the phone with the insurance company telling them about the damage.

A few dozens sandbags are a lot cheaper than replacing your belongings & repairing damage to your house. Preventive dentistry, like teeth cleanings, is much cheaper than restorative repair to fix decay, such as fillings, crowns, & bridges or gum disease treatments. If you have dental insurance, most of your annual preventive dental care is covered & won’t cost you any extra money. That’s like if your homeowner’s insurance offered you a load of sandbags for free twice a year, just in case there was a flood. If you knew there was a risk of flooding, why would your refuse the offer?

So if you want to avoid costly restorative dentistry or gum disease treatments in the future, be sure to come see us every six months for your preventive care & cleaning appointment. An hour of your time twice a year is well worth trying to repair the damage after a catastrophe!