Did you know that over 26 percent of American adults have untreated tooth decay? Among adults over the age of 29, 46 percent have signs of gum disease (gingivitis). About nine percent suffer from the effects of severe gingivitis.
You can avoid being one of these statistics. Following the American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines can reduce your risk. If you do develop a severe buildup of plaque, you may need a deep cleaning.
You may wonder, “What does a dental deep cleaning consist of?” Keep reading to learn about dental care and deep cleanings.
The Parts of the Tooth
When discussing dental cleanings, it’s helpful to know about the parts of the tooth. The tooth consists of four main parts. These are the enamel, dentin, pulp, and cementum.
The enamel covers the crown of the tooth, which is the part above the gum. This is the hardest substance in the human body.
The cementum covers the root of the tooth, which acts as an anchor in the gum and jawbone. The dentin is the softer layer that lies below the enamel. The pulp describes the center of the tooth that contains the blood vessels and nerves.
When cavities form, they often move through the dentin quickly since it’s so soft. When they reach the pulp, you feel increased sensitivity and pain.
What Is Plaque?
When food particles and liquids stay on the teeth after you eat, plaque can start forming. This is a colorless, gunky film that sticks on and between your teeth. It contains bacteria that when combined with sugar, makes an acid.
This acid starts eating away at the enamel making crevices and holes. It also causes your teeth to look yellow. More concerning is that bacteria can get past the enamel and cause cavities.
Another risk involves bacteria getting into the gums and causing gum disease (gingivitis). Common symptoms include bleeding and tenderness. Eroded teeth and gingivitis can also cause bad breath.
Severe gum disease (known as periodontitis) causes swelling, pain, and infection. The plaque makes toxins that cause this irritation in the gums.
When plaque remains on the teeth for days, it calcifies into a dense, hard substance called tartar. It’s very hard to remove tartar and often requires a visit to the dentist.
Recommended Routine Teeth Cleaning at Home
The best way to fight plaque and tartar is to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes. You also need to make flossing a part of your daily fight against tooth decay and gum disease.
Other healthy practices include drinking fluoridated water and using fluoride toothpaste. Avoid using tobacco products as they damage the enamel and gums.
Eating a diet that’s low in sugar and carbohydrates also reduces plaque buildup. Drink water while eating meals or snacks to rinse the sugars away.
Each time you eat or drink a sugary item it starts an acid attack on your teeth that lasts 20 minutes. Thus, if you like to spend your morning sipping coffee with sugar, each drink resets the clock. Drinking with a straw and reducing the liquid washing over your teeth can help.
It may surprise you to learn that drinking alcohol can promote tooth decay. Alcohol causes dry mouth which prevents the saliva from washing off harmful residue.
Many alcoholic beverages have sugar or are highly acidic. Remember that sugar combined with bacteria creates acid that damages your tooth enamel. If you take medications that dry your mouth, you need to drink plenty of water. You may also chew sugarless gum.
How to Remove Plaque from Teeth Naturally
Dentists provide the following guidelines for how to remove plaque from teeth. As described, properly brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day. It’s key that every surface of all teeth is thoroughly cleaned.
Electric toothbrushes provide an excellent tool for removing excess plaque from teeth. They work even better than a manual toothbrush. Using fluoride toothpaste will help repair any damage that has developed on the enamel.
Many people skip flossing. Did you know that no matter how well you brush your teeth, tartar can still build up between them? Flossing is the only way to remove plaque from between teeth, so don’t skip this step.
The ADA recommends that everyone see a dentist at least once a year. If you have other risk factors, such as periodontitis, you may need visits twice a year or more. This allows the hygienist to remove plaque and tartar and check your gums.
What Does a Dental Deep Cleaning Consist of?
If you’ve developed excessive plaque on your teeth, you may need a dental deep cleaning. You may hear this called root planing and scaling or gum therapy.
Sometimes, this procedure may take place during two separate appointments. At the first visit, the dentist or hygienist will focus on cleaning one side of your mouth. The other side will undergo cleaning on the second visit.
Dentists often give you local anesthesia before starting. This helps to control pain and bleeding.
Once you’re numb, the dental provider performs subgingival scaling. They may use manual instruments or ultrasonic tools to remove plaque and tartar.
This procedure cleans beneath and between the gums. It also focuses on the base of the tooth, and around the tooth roots. They use a vertical, circular, and/or horizontal motion to scrape the teeth clean.
If periodontitis spreads, it can damage the cementum and/or dentin. Root planing works to smooth all the rough surfaces and remove bacteria under the gums.
The dental professional's deep cleaning removes all plaque and tartar buildup. Planing removes all the cementum and sometimes a thin layer of the dentin. The amount removed depends on how much buildup and infection is present.
Are You Looking for a Dentist in the Arkansas Area?
This article reviewed proper oral hygiene practices. It also answered the question, “What does a dental deep cleaning consist of?” Arkansas Family Dental offers gentle dentistry for the entire family.
Our highly qualified professionals use state-of-the-art equipment to provide the best care. We also focus on making this a comfortable dental experience. Patients may watch TV or listen to the radio or music during treatments.
If you have financial concerns, let us know. We offer flexible payment plans coordinated with your insurance. Schedule your dental cleaning now to maintain the best oral health.