You probably know that you should visit the dentist twice a year for a dental cleaning and exam, and the same goes for your child. But if you brush your teeth every day, do you still need to see your dentist? The answer is, yes! Nothing compares to a professional dental cleaning because only a dentist such as those at Golnick Pediatric Dentistry will be able to reach every part of the mouth, including those tricky parts in the back that are especially difficult for children to reach. So, what does a teeth cleaning look like? There are two types that are performed in both of our locations in Taylor and West Bloomfield, MI.
Unlike cleaning teeth at home with brushing and flossing, a professional dental cleaning removes plaque and tartar buildup from the tooth surfaces up to the gum line as well as between the teeth. Brushing does a pretty good job of removing plaque, but only dental tools can remove tartar, which can be very harmful if left on the teeth for long periods of time – it can discolor teeth, affect the gums and bone, and even lead to tooth decay or tooth loss.
A dental cleaning is, in most cases, performed by a hygienist and will usually take 30 minutes to an hour. The hygienist will first examine the teeth and gums to assess overall oral health. They will look for signs of inflammation, plaque and tartar, and other oral health concerns. If they find any red flags, they will alert the dentist, who will discuss your child’s oral health with you at the end of the appointment.
To clean the teeth, the hygienist will use a tool called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces. These substances are most often found near the gum line and between the teeth. When the tartar and plaque have been removed, the teeth will be brushed using an electric toothbrush. The toothpaste used at the dentist office is grittier than what you use at home because it contains particles that help scrub and polish the teeth. The hygienist will then floss the teeth to get everything out from between the teeth, including any traces of plaque and toothpaste left from the previous steps. The cleaning will end with a rinse.
Golnick Pediatric Dentistry offers fluoride treatments to add another layer of protection to the teeth. Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen teeth. The teeth are treated by using either a gel-covered mouthpiece or brushing a sticky paste onto the teeth.
A deep clean is a treatment for the early stage of periodontal disease, called gingivitis. It is similar to a regular cleaning, but the scaling will reach further into the gums to clean out the periodontal pockets of plaque and tartar. There is also an additional step called planing, which smooths out the tooth roots. Removing bacteria from all the surfaces possible will help the gums to heal and help keep both the teeth and gums healthy.
If your child regularly brushes and flosses every day, that’s great – tell them to keep up the good work. But don’t forget to make regular appointments at Golnick Pediatric Dentistry, either at our Taylor or our West Bloomfield, MI office, for a professional cleaning and exam.