Don’t be fooled by our name, at Implant Dentistry of Florida we perform all the general dentistry services in addition to our focus on prosthetics. Some people wonder what’s different in a professional cleaning and exam versus what they’re doing at home, and they opt to skip their twice-yearly cleanings.
In reality, good dental hygiene is a partnership between home care and professional cleanings. And those professional cleanings (we use a fancy term, prophylaxis) should happen twice each year.
Tartar is the initial problem
Professional cleaning by the hygienists at Implant Dentistry of Florida has three goals. It removes plaque, calculus (tartar), and stains from the teeth. Can’t this happen at home? While you can, and do need to, remove plaque with your home hygiene, it is almost impossible to remove it all. What you don’t/can’t get at slowly turns into tartar. This is the hard light-colored stuff that builds up particularly on the inner bottom teeth. Tartar cannot be removed with home care. No matter how well you brush or floss, once tartar has taken hold, it can only be removed by a professional hygienist or dentist. That’s where dental picks come into play.
What’s the big deal with a little tartar? Once formed, tartar keeps growing because brushing doesn’t remove it. If you let it keep expanding, it will eventually begin to expand down under the gum line, irritating. This irritation is called gingivitis and is the precursor of gum disease.
Here’s what we do that you can’t
So, what does a professional cleaning at Implant Dentistry of Florida involve? We start with a scaling and polishing procedure that removes normal plaque buildup, calculus, and stains. What’s scaling? That’s where the hygienist chips away the layer of tartar that has formed in the usual spots in your mouth. Various picks have different characteristics that help the hygienist break the grip of the tartar. Once the grip is loosened, the tartar releases and can be removed.
Once the tartar is removed, the teeth are professionally polished. We utilize a special paste with more grit than typical toothpaste that helps remove stains and polishes the teeth. You couldn’t use this polishing compound on your teeth at home; there is too much grit. This polishing also makes the tooth surfaces more smooth and difficult for plaque and debris to adhere to, at least for a couple of days.
Twice each year
Sometimes patients think the “twice yearly” timeframe for cleanings and exams is arbitrary, but it isn’t. The timeframe matches the time it takes for tartar to take hold in your usual build-up locations — six months. And once it builds up it needs to be removed.
Have you been delaying your cleaning? Call us at Implant Dentistry of Florida, 321-259-9429, to make your appointment.