As the adage goes, “Prevention is better than cure.”
Teeth cleanings are an essential part of maintaining oral and overall health. Cleanings are referred to as “scaling and polishing” (or sometimes in dental speak, “prophylaxis” which basically means “to prevent beforehand”). The procedure may be preventive in order to reduce the chances of disease arising, or as treatment where existing gum disease is present. We recommend seeing your dentist at least every 6 monthly for a check and clean.
Why do I need to get a scaling and polishing done? I brush my teeth very well 2 to 3 times a day.
Dental cleanings involve removing plaque (soft, sticky, bacteria-infested film) and tartar (calculus) deposits that have built up on the teeth over time. Even brushing and flossing after every meal and snack cannot remove every bit of plaque and tartar that accumulates on your teeth.
As there is calcium in our saliva, we also tend to get a build-up of calcium deposits on the teeth. These calcium deposits are called calculus or tartar. If calculus is allowed to accumulate on the teeth, it will unfortunately provide the right conditions for bacteria to thrive. Bacteria in plaque and calculus can cause dental decay and gum disease (periodontitis).
The purpose of the professional dental cleaning and polishing is basically to leave the surfaces of the teeth clean and smooth. Bacteria is then less able to stick to them and you have a better chance of keeping the teeth clean during your regular home care.
Polishing also removes stains (eg. Coffee and tea stains) that may have accumulated on the teeth surfaces. And you leave our clinic with a great sparkly smile!
Gum disease (Periodontitis)
Healthy gums help to hold your teeth firmly in place and protect teeth from bacteria and infection.
Gum disease is an infection of the tissues supporting and surround the teeth. It is caused by the accumulation of bacteria between the gums and teeth. Some of the symptoms of gum disease:
- Red, swollen gums
- Gums that bleed during or after brushing
- Bad taste in mouth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
The inflammation caused by the bacteria can erode away the bone around your teeth and cause them to loosen. This is a silent process and often, by the time discomfort is felt, gum disease is already at its advanced stage. This is why regular 6 monthly check-ups with your dentist are so important.