Preventative cleanings are recommended at least twice a year, and in some cases, additional cleanings are beneficial. Dental cleanings consist of scaling the tooth surface to remove excess bacterial biofilm, plaque, calculus and stain. Preventative cleanings include an exam by your dentist, a cleaning from your hygienist, routine yearly x-rays to detect early signs of decay, and a fluoride treatment. Our mouths consist of various bacteria that can be harmful causing decay and inflammation. This can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease that can be seen in children and adults. Gingivitis starts with the build-up of plaque, or food debris, in the surrounding gums. This left over plaque causes the gums to become red, inflamed and easily bleed. Regular at home care, including brushing and flossing, can prevent gingivitis from occurring. If plaque is not removed efficiently, gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is an advanced stage of gum disease. Symptoms include inflammation, bleeding gums, halitosis (bad breath), tissue loss, mobility and bone loss. If you have periodontal disease, a standard preventative cleaning is not the best standard of care. A more advanced cleaning is necessary to remove the bacteria under the gums. Please see Scaling and Root Planing, and Periodontal Maintenance for more information.