Dental Cleaning in Post Office Square, Boston, MA
A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning that is performed by your Post Office Square dentist or dental hygienist. A dental hygienist is professionally trained to not only clean teeth but also to help patients prevent, reverse, or arrest periodontal (gum) disease.
How Often Do Patients Need Dental Cleanings?
Professional preventative dental cleanings should be performed every six months on children and adults. The goal is to remove excess plaque and tartar build-up before they cause gum disease.
Plaque is a sticky material made up of saliva and food particles. The plaque contains harmful bacteria that irritate the delicate gum tissues. Left untreated, it can contribute to gum disease as well as tooth decay.
Proper daily home care is vital to help prevent excessive plaque build-up. However, several factors can contribute to plaque build-up, including:
- Anatomy of the teeth
- Positioning of the teeth
- The patient's dexterity
- Brushing and flossing techniques
- Frequency of brushing and flossing
- The patient's diet
Over time, the plaque will calcify. At this point, we refer to it as tartar or calculus. Tartar is impossible to remove with a toothbrush or floss. The only way to remove it is with specialized dental instruments.
What Happens During a Post Office Square Dental Cleaning Appointment?
A cleaning appointment lasts approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
Your Post Office Square dentist or hygienist will perform a treatment called “scaling,” the manual act of scraping tartar and plaque off the teeth and root surfaces with an instrument.
In the past, all scaling was done with a variety of metal dental instruments. Each instrument has a different head, allowing the dentist or hygienist to reach all surfaces of the tooth to ensure you receive a thorough cleaning.
Thankfully, with dental technology, we can cut down on the time it takes to perform a dental cleaning. Ultrasonic cleaners use water and vibration to break up the tartar, allowing the hygienist to remove it more easily. Our goal, though, is not just speed – it is accuracy. Therefore, the practitioner cleaning your teeth will use a combination of ultrasonic and manual scaling instruments, which gives us the opportunity for improved:
- Patient comfort
- Level of cleaning
During Your Appointment
To start, we will update your health history and document any changes (new medications, hospitalizations, etc.). We will also ask you about your dental health and whether you have had any changes or issues (tooth sensitivity, for example).
Our practitioner will then evaluate your teeth and gums, performing a gum test to determine the depth of the gum pockets around your teeth. Healthy pocket depths are two to three millimeters. Anything deeper indicates inflammation and irritation – two signs of early gum disease.
After that exam, we will use our ultrasonic and manual scalers to remove plaque, tartar, and debris. We will follow that up with a coronal polish, where we polish the teeth to remove any residual plaque or stains. We will finish by flossing the teeth and rinsing your mouth.
If you are due for an examination, your Post Office Square dentist will come in and examine your teeth. In some cases, they may recommend a fluoride treatment to finish your appointment.
What Patients Should Do If They Develop Gum Disease
If we determine that you have gum disease, we will recommend one of two things.
Since the early stages of gum disease can be reversed, we will recommend regular dental cleanings (if you are not already receiving them). We will also review oral hygiene instructions to help improve your oral home care.
However, if you are in the later stages of gum disease – which cannot be reversed – our team will recommend a deep dental cleaning, followed by maintenance cleanings every three to four months.
Together We Can Prevent Serious Dental Issues
Regular dental cleanings in Post Office Square can help reduce your risk of developing gum disease. But we need your help to do this. Commit to visiting your dental team twice a year. Additionally, do your best to practice optimal home care, using proper brushing and flossing techniques and doing so daily.
You are an important part of our dental team. When we work together, we can ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy and strong for years to come.