A vibrant smile is at the root of your overall wellness—and professional deep cleanings help foster this. But how often should you get your teeth cleaned? And is it really that important to your oral health?
Let’s unpack these questions together so that you can maintain a sparkling, healthy grin.
What Is Dental Cleaning?
Dental cleaning moves well beyond brushing and flossing your teeth—habits you likely already have in place.
These non-surgical professional procedures are performed in your dentist’s office, typically in conjunction with a meticulous dental exam that assesses your overall dental health.1 They’re primarily conducted to remove tartar and plaque that have accumulated both on your teeth and your gum line.
While every dental practitioner may have a unique approach to dental cleaning, they usually employ the following techniques:
- Scaling – Scaling is the actual cleaning of your teeth. Oftentimes, dental hygienists use specialized tools, such as a Prophy-Jet, which utilizes a combination of water, pressurized air, and abrasive powders to gently scour off plaque and stains (and reach those oh-so-challenging teeth in the back of your mouth).
- Flossing – A dental hygienist will also floss between your teeth to remove soft debris and plaque.
- Polishing – Dental hygienists also use special equipment to polish your teeth, which may enhance their sheen and further remove any stains that have accumulated.2
- Fluoride treatment – The final touch of a professional dental cleaning normally involves a fluoride gel, paste, or varnish. This bolsters your dental health and may help combat cavities.
How Often Should You Get Your Teeth Cleaned?
The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests “regular” deep cleanings—or once every six months.
Why every six months?
Because your dentist uses this opportunity to evaluate the overall condition of your oral wellness and recommend any treatments if needed.
If you have a cavity, for example, your dentist should be able to stop it in its tracks to save you from needing a root canal or, in worst-case scenarios, tooth extractions. This also helps you stay on top of your dental health, instead of facing a costly—and time-consuming—series of treatments down the line.
All that said, there are exceptions to this “rule.” If you’re at risk or have the following, you may be advised to obtain professional dental cleanings more frequently, perhaps every three to four months:3
- Periodontal disease
- Dental injury
You might also need and benefit from more frequent dental cleanings if you smoke, have diabetes, or have a family history of gum disease. Additionally, your dentist may take your age, current oral health condition, and risk of disease into account.
In other words, the genuine answer to how often should you get your teeth cleaned? Depends on your individual circumstances and your dentist’s recommendation.
What Is a Deep Dental Cleaning?
Deep dental cleaning takes a routine dental cleaning to the next level.
These longer, more painstaking cleanings may be recommended to keep gingivitis from worsening. Also known as root planing and periodontal debridement, it entails a more in-depth cleanse between the teeth and gum line, where there might be tissue deterioration—and where infections can fester.
Will Professional Dental Cleanings Whiten Your Teeth?
In a word: Possibly. The techniques and equipment used to clean and polish your teeth help remove surface stains and may result in a whiter, brighter smile.
However, if you’re keen on scoring a stunning, noticeably whiter smile, you may want to upgrade to a professional whitening treatment. A hydrogen peroxide rinse is usually employed during this procedure to dissolve stains and give you a more radiant grin.
Keep in mind, however, that professional whitening treatments are deemed cosmetic procedures and may not be covered by your dental insurance (if this applies to you).
Is Dental Cleaning Worth It?
While some studies have demonstrated that individuals who receive twice-yearly dental cleanings didn’t reveal significantly improved dental health than those who went in once a year, visiting your dentist every six months helps ensure your teeth stay in tip-top shape. They also give you the chance to nip any issues in the bud; the examination is as important as the professional teeth cleaning.
Indeed, routine dental cleaning can help your dentist pinpoint any abnormalities and examine your mouth for signs of gum disease, teeth decay or oral cancer. They can also help prevent complications such as:
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
If a twice-yearly schedule may not be feasible for any reason, you should still visit your dentist once a year to receive a professional cleaning and annual exam.
Elevate Your Oral Health With West Coast Dental
Routine dental cleaning is a critical component to overall oral care, helping your dentist stay apprised of the condition of your teeth and helping you keep stains, plaque, cavities, and gum conditions at bay.
West Coast Dental & Orthodontics is the practice to call for your professional teeth cleaning, general dentistry services, specialized care, and more. All of our facilities are equipped with caring and compassionate staff members who turn an angst-ridden trip to the dentist into a pleasant and rewarding experience.
Schedule a consultation with us today to jumpstart a life of dental wellness.
- Healthline. How often should you get your teeth cleaned? What to know. https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/how-often-should-you-get-your-teeth-cleaned
- VeryWell Health. Teeth polishing: benefits, procedure, aftercare. https://www.verywellhealth.com/teeth-polishing-5209344
- Forbes Health. Dental cleaning: what is it and does it work? https://www.forbes.com/health/body/what-is-dental-cleaning/