As a dental professional I’m often asked about the need for professional teeth cleaning. Often a patient will ask, “I brush twice a day, floss, and use a mouthwash before going to bed, so why do I need routine cleanings?”

I tell them that the simplest and most obvious answer is that it’s a preventive treatment meant to keep you healthy. It’s relatively easy to maintain a healthy mouth if you have good habits, like brushing and flossing. But many of us have our dietary weaknesses, like soft drinks and sweets, that can undue all that good work.

Being proactive with check-ups is like changing the oil in your car. It’s a basic maintenance that is vital to keeping a healthy mouth and body for years to come. And preventive cleanings are less expensive than fillings later and a great way to prevent other problems such as gum disease.

This progressive issue, known as gingivitis, will inflame and break down the gum tissue surrounding your teeth. If left unchecked this can further develop into periodontal disease, which is a more aggressive form of gum disease that erodes the bone holding your teeth in place.

Once you develop this form of the disease you will always be more susceptible to further breakdown. Bone loss from periodontal disease does not regenerate and these patients need more frequent maintenance visits. But this disease is preventable with routine care and that is why it’s important to visit your Afdent dentist at least every six months for professional cleaning. Apart from that, regular checkups also help in preventing dental emergencies.

Plaque or the sticky film that usually sits on the teeth and along the gumline contains millions of bacteria. If not removed, it can eat away the tooth enamel and cause tooth decay and gum disease. When it sits below the gumline, the first step in treatment usually involves a special deep cleaning called scaling and root planing.

Scaling is a non-surgical dental procedure done by your Afdent dental professional to remove hardened plaque or tartar down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket. This treatment may be done over several visits, depending on the severity of the periodontal disease.

After making sure that there is no hardened plaque left, we will then begin a procedure called root planing. During this process, the root surfaces of your teeth are smoothed, or “planed”, to allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the teeth.

We may recommend medications to control infection or a mouth rinse to aid in healing. Another dental visit may be scheduled within a few weeks or months to make sure your periodontal pockets healthy and the gums healed.

When was the last time you had a thorough dental cleaning and check-up? Now is a great time to contact Afdent to schedule an appointment. You can also visit us for any dental emergencies.