During our visits to the dentist, we sometimes receive what appears to be conflicting information. When discussing our dental hygiene habits, it’s not uncommon for our dentist to warn us against putting metal objects, especially sharp ones, in our mouths. All the while, they may be gently scraping away at our teeth with a sharp-pointed metal hook. This may bring some of us to wonder if it’s possible that the dental cleaning process is actually damaging our teeth.
42% of adults don’t receive regular dental cleanings, putting them at risk of dental problems
Are Dental Cleanings Safe and Beneficial?
The answer, of course, is no. Dental cleanings, when performed by a professional, pose absolutely no risk to your teeth at all. The admonition against using sharp metal objects is due to the risk they pose in the hands of the untrained. Your dentist has been specially trained to perform a number of cleaning procedures and to use their tools in a way that eliminates threats to your teeth, such as plaque and tartar, without causing damage. There are three types of dental cleaning performed in your dentist’s office, including:
- Prophylaxis Cleaning: This is a routine cleaning that is regularly performed by your dentist once or twice a year. This low-level process helps remove excess plaque and tartar that has evaded your dental hygiene practices. This procedure often ends with a dental polishing that helps prevent plaque and tartar from building up on your teeth.
- Scaling and Root Planing: When a deeper cleaning is required, your dentist may opt for this procedure. Using a metal tool called a scaler, your dentist will remove the build-up of plaque and tartar from beneath the gumline. Planing involves the smoothing of your dental root to make it easier for your gums to reseal to your teeth and avoid further plaque and tartar build-up.
- Gross Debridement: This form of in-depth cleaning involves the careful and systematic removal of all plaque and tartar that has built up on your teeth. This process is performed on patients who have severe build-up or have not visited a dentist in more than a year and can take some time to complete.
Dental cleanings are safe for your teeth and are one of the best things your dentist can do to help maintain the health of your teeth.
Avoid The Scourges Of Dentistry: Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Tooth decay stands out as the most prevalent disease in the United States, affecting over 90% of all adults and 58% of all children and adolescents. Consistent dental hygiene practices and regular visits to your dentist are essential to preventing tooth decay and the appearance of gingivitis or periodontal disease. When these conditions appear, dental cleaning can help you push them back and help your mouth to heal. If you have more questions, reach out to your dentist to schedule an appointment and learn more about protecting your dental health.