Do I need a regular dental cleaning every 6 months?

Importance of dental cleaning

In order to prevent any bone and tooth loss, it is important to maintain healthy oral hygiene, and getting regular cleaning every six months would be a part of it. During the six-month periodic recall exam, you will be also getting an exam to see if there are any other oral-related problems including cavities and any other oral pathology.
Plague buildup is inevitable even for those who do an exemplary job in brushing and flossing their teeth. Everyone has a habit of missing few spots here and there brushing, not to mention some orthodontic misalignment of teeth such as crowding can accelerate even more plaque buildup, which if untreated can lead to gum disease.
Gum disease causes immune system reaction causing inflamed gingival gum tissue leading to bleeding gums. Typically, when you start bleeding, it is a sign that your gum is swollen and needs professional cleaning. Not only does gum disease cause bleeding gum, but it also has an irreversible effect on your teeth and on your whole body. Studies have shown that periodontitis is directly related to other medical conditions such as heart disease and dementia.
Gum disease can be subdivided into numerous terminologies depending on your condition. Mild plague buildup can be classified as gingivitis where the gum is bleeding. If untreated and the plaque buildup is left attached to teeth, it becomes a solid object called calculus which is filled with bacteria causing infection and irreversible bone loss around the tooth, which can be classified as periodontitis. Therefore, it is important to get the RIGHT type of cleaning depending on your oral health condition. So what are the types of a dental cleaning?

Types of Dental Cleanings

It is important to get the RIGHT type of dental cleaning depending on your current oral health condition. For example, if your condition requires a deep cleaning to go under the gum tissue to scrap out all the calculus buildup but you ended up getting just a basic cleaning, it would be not only unprofessional for the treating doctor to do a basic cleaning but also it would be no benefit to you as well to get the basic cleaning as the irreversible bone loss would keep continuing.

1) Healthy Gum with no Gum Disease
If you do not have any gum disease, you will receive just regular cleaning from your dentist. Most likely, you will be able to determine that you do not have any gum disease if there is no bleeding when you brush and floss your teeth.
With good oral hygiene including flossing, your gum health condition should be good and there should not be any gum bleeding.

Flossing is really good for you because it gives irritation to the gum tissue and it indirectly makes your bone healthier and stronger. At a dental visit, you would be only needing a regular basic tooth cleaning. But keep in mind, that even with good oral hygiene, it is important to get regular basic teeth cleaning every six months because of the irreversible effect of plaque buildup in case you may have without knowing it.

2) Full mouth debridement
When you have a significant supra-gingival calculus buildup (calculus buildup above the gum line) that is significant enough with a gum swelling that may hinder any oral exam, full mouth debridement may be indicated. It is important to get the cleaning in order to prevent progression into periodontitis.

3) Early Periodontitis
If there is subgingival calculus buildup (calculus buildup attached under the gum tissue), that has already created an irreversible bone loss around the tooth, it has more likely progressed into periodontitis. Another sign of this could be gum recession, which is also irreversible. Because calculus is a collection of bacteria which causes infection leading to inflammation that leads to irreversible bone loss from our immune response, it is important to remove the subgingival calculus buildup. In order to remove calculus build up, a deep cleaning needs to be performed as the dentist needs to give anesthesia and go inside the gum tissue to scrap out the calculus buildup. After deep cleaning which is also called scaled and root planning, it is important to follow up with regular cleaning, sometimes in severe cases, perio-maintenance may be indicated. Above all, it is very important to have proper good oral hygiene. At this point, the bone loss is mild and with good prevention, it can have a good prognosis with the treatment.

4) Moderate to Severe Periodontitis
Because of the significant calculus buildup or lack of treatment for a long time, it has already created a significant bone loss that is irreversible. In moderate cases, it may be possible to maintain your teeth after a deep cleaning with good oral hygiene. Remember, the bone loss is irreversible, meaning once you lose your bone it never comes back. The whole point of doing the scaling and root planning is not to get better but to prevent it from getting any worse. In severe cases, you may already start seeing some mobility on teeth due to the bone loss around teeth. A deep cleaning may be performed but even after the deep cleaning the prognosis may be poor and may end up losing the loose teeth.

5) Periomaintenance
This is a periodic more frequent basic cleaning done after deep cleaning in order to evaluate more frequently to see how gum tissues are healing up.

Final Thought

Regardless of what type of cleaning you get, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene. Flossing is recommended because it can irritate gum tissue and at the end, it can make your bone healthier and stronger. Also, a healthy diet is recommended. For diabetes, it is well known that diabetes causes bone loss around teeth and with calculus buildup the bone loss is expedited. It is important to maintain an extra good oral hygiene especially if you have diabetes. Studies have shown that periodontitis does affect diabetes and vice versa.

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