Your professional dental cleaning will be performed by a Registered Dental Hygienist. The first step to your cleaning will be scaling which is the removal of plaque and calculus from the surfaces of your teeth.
Plaque is a sticky layer of bacteria and food particles that coats the teeth. These bacteria cause gum inflammation or gingivitis as you may have heard. This is the first stage of gum disease.
Calculus forms when the layer of plaque becomes hardened onto the surface of the tooth. At this point it can not be removed with a toothbrush and your hygienist has to scale it off. If not removed it can lead to progressive gum disease with bone loss, called periodontitis.
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Once you’ve had your checkup, your dentist will leave you in the very capable hands of a Registered Dental Hygienist to complete the professional cleaning portion of your appointment.
Scaling is the first stop on your journey to professionally clean teeth. Your hygienist will use a small tool to break away calculus from the surface of the teeth. Since tartar is calcified, it cannot be removed with a toothbrush at home. Removing tartar improves the appearance of the teeth, since it is readily stained, and improves the health of the gums which can become irritated and inflamed from chronic exposure to plaque and tartar. Brushing and flossing regularly at home are critical to keep tartar to a minimum, though it is normal to present with some degree of buildup.
Daily Maintenance Routine
Daily maintenance can help reduce the effects of plaque against your teeth. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria that coats the tooth, which if not removed, calcifies and hardens into calculus. Whether you’re a young child learning how to brush on your own or you’re a seasoned senior brusher, brushing and flossing each day is critical for the lasting health of your natural teeth. Brushing after each meal is the gold standard, but Canadian dentists recommend brushing at the beginning and end of the day as a minimum. Flossing is equally important, since up to 40% of your teeth can’t be reached with your toothbrush alone.
Unfortunately no matter how diligently we brush or floss, it is virtually impossible to remove 100% of the plaque and once bone loss begins it makes it even harder to clean the teeth. This is why it is critical to have routine hygiene appointments. Generally we suggest every six months, however, depending on your gum and bone health we may suggest more frequent hygiene appointments.
Once scaling is completed your hygienist will polish your teeth which will help remove any staining. Lastly, there will be fluoride applied to strengthen your teeth, eliminate remaining bacteria and to delay future bacterial growth.
If you have questions about this or other services offered by our general dentist, contact our clinic today.
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