The benefits of a professional dental cleaning
According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of dental professionals dedicated to continuing dental education. A professional dental cleaning at least twice a year can improve your overall oral health.
The AGD recommends that a dentist or hygienist perform a dental exam and cleaning twice a year. These cleanings help to reinforce the home-care oral health regimen of brushing and flossing while also giving your dentist an opportunity to locate areas in the mouth that may need further attention.
Those who practice great oral hygiene at home with proper brushing and flossing techniques typically do not experience discomfort during a cleaning. However, those who have neglected their oral hygiene habits may experience some discomfort or sensitivity during a cleaning. Your hygienist may use a topical anesthetic before the cleaning to alleviate some of the discomfort.
During a dental cleaning, you’ll receive diagnostic and preventive services from your dentist and hygienist as well as any needed educational information.
Diagnostic services may include:
- Reviewing and updating medical history, including information about known heart problems, pregnancy, diabetes and medications, which may have an impact on your oral health
- Oral cancer examination and screening
- Evaluation of gum tissue
- Checking biting function, as well as chewing and swallowing patterns
- X-rays or examination of teeth to detect decay
- Referral to specialists for specific treatment
Preventive services may include:
- Removal of plaque and tartar
- Stain removal
- Fluoride application
- Sealants (for children)
- Polishing teeth, including fillings and crowns
- Cleaning and adjustment of dentures and partial dentures
Educational services may include:
- Brushing and flossing instructions
- Nutritional counseling
- Recommendations for future treatment: when to return for follow-up hygiene treatment, periodontal (gum) concerns or restorative options
- Evaluation of self-care effectiveness
- Tobacco-cessation counseling