Posts for tag: dental cleanings
Dental cleanings are an important part of regular dental office visits. Performed by a dental hygienist or dentist, cleanings serve two purposes: to remove bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened deposits of plaque) from tooth surfaces missed during daily brushing and flossing; and to remove stains that can dull your smile.
There are different degrees of cleaning, including root planing that removes plaque and calculus deep below the gum line, usually for patients affected by periodontal (gum) disease. For patients in good oral health, the basic cleaning approach is known as prophylaxis, a term derived from the Greek for guarding or preventing beforehand. The techniques used in a prophylaxis remove both “coronal” (tooth surfaces visible above the gum line) plaque and staining, providing both therapeutic and cosmetic benefits.
A typical prophylaxis includes a procedure known as scaling. Hygienists use special instruments known as scalers to remove plaque and calculus by hand, or an ultrasonic device that vibrates plaque loose and is flushed away with water. The procedure removes that rough coating you often feel as you rub your tongue against your teeth, leaving the tooth surfaces feeling smooth.
Tooth polishing is a subsequent procedure to scaling that also removes plaque and surface stains. Polishing is carried out with a motorized instrument with a rubber cup in which a polishing (or “prophy”) paste is contained. The hygienist moves the rapidly rotating cup filled with the paste over the tooth surface to remove plaque and stains. The end result is a highly smooth surface and a much shinier appearance.
People with dental insurance plans are often concerned tooth polishing may be viewed strictly as a cosmetic procedure, and thus not fully qualify for benefits. This should not be the case if coded properly: tooth polishing is part of the overall prophylaxis to remove plaque and staining. The primary purpose is therapeutic and preventive; the cosmetic effect is a by-product. Most dental plans will cover one or two prophylaxes (scaling and tooth polishing) a year, but there are variations so individuals should check their plans.
If you would like more information on dental cleaning, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Polishing.”
You might think that brushing your teeth is the morning after breakfast and before you go to bed at night are all of its needed to keep cavities from forming. This is the viewpoint of a lot of patients seen at Karls Family Dentistry in Waunakee, Wisconsin. While brushing twice today is certainly a good habit to develop, dental hygiene requires a bit more effort to maintain the teeth and gums. Dr. Matthew Karls and Dr. Stanley Karls have provided more information that they encourage all their patients to use to maintain their oral health.
Brushing your teeth is certainly the most well known and commonly followed oral hygiene practice. However, many people don't brush thoroughly enough, leaving food particles behind that develop into plaque. The optimal amount of time to brush at each session is two full minutes, which may seem a little daunting at first. You can also set a timer until you get into a routine. It's also important to choose the right toothbrush and toothpaste for your particular needs. Textures of toothbrush bristles vary from soft to stiff, and toothpastes can contain whitening agents, breath-freshening ingredients, or cleaning abrasives. Your Waunakee dentist will give you recommendations.
This part of oral hygiene is often overlooked, but it's one of the most effective ways to prevent decay. Flossing removes debris from between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. Fortunately, flossing once a day is a process that can be easily worked into your routine.
Visiting your dentist twice a year for a checkup and cleaning might be toward the bottom of your priority list, especially with all the other obligations you have. It's important, however, to keep these appointments with your Waunakee dentist. A thorough cleaning from our hygienist will remove any tartar on your teeth, which brushing and flossing cannot do. This also allows them to monitor your teeth for any problems that may be developing before they become difficult to treat.
If you need some "brushing up" on your oral hygiene routine, schedule an appointment at Karls Family Dentistry today. We'd be happy to help you get on the right track to better oral health!