Teeth Cleaning Culver City - Century Smile Dental

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How Important Is A Teeth Cleaning?

Teeth CleaningIt’s not just important to keep your teeth clean and cavity-free, but it can profoundly impact your overall health. This often surprises many people, but many serious health issues are linked to poor oral hygiene. There is a correlation between oral health issues and illnesses such as bone loss, cancer, strokes, and other heart-related conditions. Flossing and brushing your teeth is essential, but you should also schedule regular dental cleanings and check-ups to ensure maximum oral health and overall health.

A teeth cleaning can solve the following problems:

  • Comprehensive oral health examinations are performed to catch any dental issues such as broken teeth, cavities, or other problems that can be easily seen and fixed.
  • Gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss, can be prevented by regular dental cleanings.
  • By cleaning the teeth, stains are removed, making the smile whiter and brighter.
  • Approximately 81% of people with oral cancer survive it if detected early. Therefore, professional cleaning includes an oral cancer screening.
  • Cardiovascular issues and gum disease are closely related. Getting your teeth cleaned regularly can prevent gum disease, contributing to things like strokes and heart attacks.

What Happens During A Teeth Cleaning?

Dental cleanings help prevent oral problems and various health conditions and enhance the appearance of your smile. When committing to a bi-annual dental cleaning, you reduce the risk of developing gum disease and severe gum disease known as periodontitis.

A bi-yearly check-up will also aid in preventing unwanted cavities, lowering plaque and tartar build-up, and keeping your teeth in a healthy state. Teeth cleanings can seem rather daunting, so it is crucial to understand what to expect before going.

The following is a step-by-step process of a comprehensive dental exam and teeth cleaning.

Step-By-Step Process

1. Preliminary Oral Exam
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First, a dentist or hygienist will examine the state of your teeth and gums. At this point in the process, it is vital to mention any dental issues you have been experiencing, like pain, bleeding, or any other dental issue causing hardship in your day-to-day routine. Aside from the naked eye, the dentist and hygienist will likely use mirrors to see all angles of your teeth. Then, depending on certain factors, they may operate an intraoral scanner to ensure that all surface areas are thoroughly inspected.

If no issues are brought up, then the rest of the exam is used to look for any other overall health issues, including:

  • Any signs of early gingivitis, inflammation, or cavities
  • An assessment of your oral hygiene and general health.
  • Find out whether you are at risk of bone disease or tooth decay.
  • A dentist will examine any previous restorations, such as crowns or onlays, to determine if they must be replaced.
  • Assess and discuss any bite or jaw problems like TMJ.
  • Educate the patient on incorrect brushing and flossing techniques.

The dentist will also conduct an early cancer screening to rule out oral cancer during the examination.

To screen for this, your dentist will feel the following areas: jaw, neck, cheeks, tongue, inner lips, and roof of your mouth. This will give the dentist a working overview of the area and the chance to catch any early signs of cancer.

You should inform your dentist and hygienist of any medications you are taking so they can see the full overview of your health. Certain medications are linked to various health-related issues such as tooth decay in many instances.

Also, if you suffer from any other health issue, such as diabetes, it will be important to inform your dentist because gum disease is often linked to this ailment. If you want them to provide you with the best dental care, you must let them know of any health issues or medications you take in order for them to provide the best dental care.

There may also be a discussion about certain lifestyle choices and the risks of each. To make sure you are aware of how diet, tongue piercings, and tobacco use affect your oral health, those topics may also be discussed.

2. Digital X-Rays
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X-rays of the mouth may be taken as part of the examination. However, an x-ray is not necessary for every appointment. A decision on taking an x-ray will be determined based on your risk for disease, current situation, and if there are any concerns you have that would require an x-ray. If it is your first time in a dental office, they will likely take an x-ray for a preliminary assessment.

By taking images of your teeth, gums, and bones, the dentist will be able to determine if there are any issues that cannot be seen with a visual exam.

A digital x-ray can provide information on the following:

  • Early stages of gum disease
  • The loss of bone in the jaw
  • Oral abnormalities such as tumors or cysts.
  • Tooth decay

Dentists use digital x-rays as the basis for diagnosing, treating, and tracking your oral health.

3. Plaque and Calculus Removal
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The hygienist will use a variety of tools to clean your teeth following the exam. Plaque, calculus (tartar), and bacterial deposits are primarily removed from the teeth surface, the spaces between teeth, and the gum line.

Plaque is the build-up of bacteria that forms in the mouth and on the teeth. If plaque is not removed correctly and in a timely manner, it will turn into tartar or calculus, which will be much more difficult and tedious to remove. It is impossible to remove calculus by brushing yourself. You will need a dental professional to remove all calculus build-up.

The following steps are conducted depending on the level of cleaning needed:

  1. Using a mirror, the dentist ensures all surfaces of your teeth are cleaned thoroughly.
  2. Gum health will be assessed using a probe to take measurements of the depth of the tooth pocket. The dentist may recommend a more thorough cleaning or other treatment by determining the gums’ health.
  3. If you have developed calculus or tartar, The hygienist will use a tool known as a scaler to scrape off calculus and tartar from the tooth’s surface. Because you are awake, you will hear a scraping noise, but it is nothing to be alarmed about. While some people assume this scrapes the teeth and ruins them, that theory is false. The scaler is specifically designed to remove calculus without damaging the tooth enamel.
  4. The hygienist will next remove the calculus beneath the gums and at the base of the tooth with a tool known as a curette.
  5. The hygienist will then use a polishing paste to polish the teeth. The texture of the paste is somewhat gritty so prepare for that. To apply the paste, the hygienist will use a tooth polisher to remove any stains visible on the surface level of the teeth. Once polished, the teeth will appear shiny and feel smooth.
  6. To remove plaque from between your teeth, the hygienist will professionally floss the teeth to get in between each tooth.
  7. Lastly, the dentist or hygienist may give fluoride treatments. Fluoride treatment aims to add an extra layer of protection to your teeth. This will protect your teeth in between dental cleanings from cavities. A tray is filled with either a fluoride gel or foam to partake in a fluoride treatment. The tray is then placed into the patient’s mouth for one minute. Once the minute is up, the patient must rinse their mouth with water. Some patients may not require this treatment.

Each step of the dental cleaning process will also involve a suction system to remove any saliva that collects in your mouth.

4. Final Part of the Exam
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The hygienist will examine the teeth after the completion of the teeth cleaning. If any findings during the teeth cleaning are brought to the hygienist’s attention, the hygienist will consult with the dentist about the conclusions. This will include the questions that you brought to the hygienist’s attention.

After consulting with the hygienist, the dentist will look over the x-ray images and the measurements taken when getting the gingival pocket probing. If any restorations are being used, such as crowns or onlays, the dentist will go over care and the next steps. Finally, they will finish off their assessment with any findings that are related to the state of your jaw health, bite, and gums.

If anything significant is found, the dentist will discuss further treatment options, and you may do counseling regarding oral hygiene care. Additionally, your dentist will let you know when you need to schedule your next dental cleaning and exam.

Teeth Cleaning After Care

Aftercare depends on what happened during the dental cleaning and exam. If you received a fluoride treatment during your cleaning appointment, you should avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes following the treatment. You should spend the rest of the day following fluoride treatment avoiding hot or acidic foods or beverages. If you don’t follow these guidelines, the effectiveness of the fluoride treatment may be severely reduced.

If a fluoride treatment was not given, you could eat or drink almost immediately after your dental cleaning and exam. However, your teeth may feel increased sensitivity or bleeding immediately following the cleaning. Because of this, it is recommended that you avoid hot or cold beverages and foods for a while following the appointment.

What To Eat Following A Dental Cleaning

If you must eat right after your dental cleaning, it may be advisable to stick to soft foods that are easily digested after dental cleanings, such as oatmeal, mashed potatoes, and applesauce.

You should avoid the following foods if you have sensitive teeth following your cleaning:

  • Cold/Hot foods and beverages
  • Overly spicy
  • Too hard to chew
  • Foods with high levels of acidity
  • Sticky foods like gummy candies
  • Any form of surgery, food or beverage

You can resume eating normally after a few hours when the sensitivity subsides. Note that this may not be the case for everyone.

Brush and floss as directed by your dental appointment as a final step. As a result, you will prevent further build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth, making future dental cleanings easier. In the case that tooth sensitivity continues, contact your dentist immediately.

What Does A Hygienist Do?

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In dentistry, dental hygienists focus on preventing and treating oral health problems. They provide patients with information about the best ways to care for their teeth and gums and influence the patient’s overall health. A majority of their services involve preventive dentistry, including but not limited to cleanings and fluoride treatments.

Your overall health and wellbeing can be dramatically improved by seeing a hygienist twice a year for a dental cleaning.

These oral health professionals are some of the most important in the dental office and must be licensed in the state they work. To get licensed, they must receive their degree from an accredited university or college that offers a dental hygiene-specific program.

Once they receive their degree, they must pass a national board exam and a state clinical exam in order to receive their licensure. From then on, a dental hygienist will be able to identify themselves as a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH).

What Happens During A Teeth Cleaning Procedure?

A dental hygienist’s role in teeth cleaning depends on the state in which they practice. Nonetheless, their primary focus is comprehensive preventative care.

The following are some of the services a dental hygienist will perform:

  • In an oral examination, a dental hygienist will evaluate your risks of tooth decay, gingivitis, bone loss, worn-out restorations, and screen for oral cancer.
  • If necessary, digital x-rays will be taken.
  • Checking the health of gums by probing and recording the depth of tooth pockets.
  • Remove plaque or calculus that has hardened onto the teeth surface with a scaler.
  • Take preventative measures like fluoride treatments and sealants to improve dental health after the appointment.
  • Consult the dentist about the results of the initial exam and cleaning.
  • Provide a list of the best nutritional and dietary choices a patient can make to maintain dental health.
  • Document and maintain any information about the teeth cleaning procedure for each patient.
  • Educate and recommend techniques that a patient can do at home to maintain dental health.

Listed above are just a few of the procedures a dental hygienist will frequently perform. Hygienists must be licensed in the state in which they practice because different states offer different treatments and services. In order to ensure that the proper steps are taken when hygienists perform certain treatments, they must be under the supervision of their dentist.

What Is A Hygienist’s Method for Removing Calculus from Teeth?

The most important part of a dental hygienist’s job is removing plaque and calculus build-up accumulated since the last dental cleaning.

Plaque is created due to bacteria that grow on the surface of teeth. There are always bacteria in the mouth that will cause tooth decay and plaque build-up, so brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash twice daily is vital to dental health.

Stages of Periodontal Disease

If plaque is not removed from the tooth’s surface, it will form into calculus or tartar, which is much more challenging to remove. No one except a dental professional can remove this.

Plaque - Removal - Calculus
Calculus is often found supragingival, which hardens at the gum line and is usually apparent because of the tannish, yellow color. Calculus is also found subgingival, which means it has hardened below the gum line making it nearly impossible to see with the naked eye.

Keeping the oral environment healthy and disease-free is crucial to preventing tooth loss, bone loss, and gum disease. If calculus is not properly treated, then the risks of these things are much more significant. Not only will gum disease cause issues for oral health, but periodontitis or severe gum disease is linked to many other health problems like cardiovascular disease, cancer, strokes, diabetes, cognitive impairment, and more.

Normal Tooth and Periodontitis - CalculusRemoving calculus from the tooth is also known as debridement and cannot be done by anyone other than a dental professional. Ultrasonic technology and other dental tools commonly used by hygienists can remove both subgingival and supragingival calculus. The use of ultrasonic technology is to help tear down the hardened substance with high-frequency vibrations. Once removed, the surface of the teeth will be polished, so the chances of more calculus and plaque growth are minor.

Once the hygienist has completed the exam and dental cleaning, they will consult with the dentist on any issues they found or any concerns you, as the patient, may have had. This ensures that the proper steps are taken to maximize your dental treatment plan. Depending on the severity of your dental cleaning, it may be appropriate to discuss setting up another appointment to receive a deep cleaning.

No Insurance?

We take all PPO dental insurance. No insurance? We’ve got you covered. Inquire about individual coverage options such as Aflac or financing options such Alphaeon® Credit and CareCredit® and even if you can’t afford to pay in full, we are willing to arrange an in-house payment plan.

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