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What Does a Dental Hygienist Look for During a Teeth Cleaning?

Your dental hygienist acts as your first line of defense in preventing serious oral health conditions. During a teeth cleaning, they will look out for specific signs of potential problems to make sure your teeth are terrific.

Routine dental cleanings and checkups help keep your teeth and gums in optimal condition. Without these regular visits, gum disease, tooth decay, and infections could run rampant, causing your mouth to suffer irreversible damage. Preventive dental care is key to keeping your smile in perfect shape year after year and avoiding costly and painful oral health problems. During your teeth cleanings in Little Rock, your dental hygienist will perform a thorough examination of your mouth to make sure you don’t have any dental hygiene issues that need the attention of your Little Rock dentist.

Gum Damage

An inadequate oral care routine, genetics, or health complications can all lead to the development of gum disease. The first sign of a problem is usually inflammation around your gum line. During your teeth cleaning, your dental hygienist will evaluate your gum tissue while checking for telltale inflammation, discoloration, or tissue recession and also ask if you have had any gum pain. If these factors are noticeable, you may need treatment for gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay appears as small black dots or receding areas anywhere along the enamel of your teeth, even below the gum line. Your dental hygienist will examine your teeth and take x-rays to identify any pockets of potential decay. If there are signs of decay, you may need to get a cavity filled or a more serious procedures to stop the bacteria from progressing to the center of your tooth.

Open Abscesses

Open abscesses may pop up when your gum tissue or other oral structures experience an injury or infection. An abscess may look like a small red or white spot on your gum line, inner cheeks, or lips. Although pain is usually felt when an abscess forms, your dental hygienist may find the irritated tissue during your teeth cleaning before you notice significant pain or irritation. Care for this problem may include treatment of the underlying problem and medicated mouthwash sessions.

Oral Infection

Severe swelling of your oral tissues or lymph nodes in your neck may indicate an infection is brewing under the surface of your gums. Infections often happen when bacteria from tooth decay reaches the pulp and root of your tooth. Your dental hygienist will alert your dentist to this problem right away to prevent the infection from traveling into your blood stream and causing serious complications.

Broken Teeth

Fine enamel cracks or broken teeth are often spotted first in the visual exam conducted by your dental hygienist during your cleaning. When this kind of damage happens to your teeth, the structure becomes a lot weaker, which increases the risk of other serious problems. If you have had some kind of injury or accident, tell your dental hygienist so they can examine your teeth closely for you. Minor cracks can be filled in or resurfaced, but major cracks and breaks need to be repaired and replaced with a bridge or implant to protect your oral health.

Schedule Your Next Teeth Cleaning

Before you are in desperate need of dental hygiene services in Little Rock, schedule an appointment at Arkansas Family Dental by calling 501-683-8886. Our team will treat you like family during every single cleaning!

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Samaria Mascagni

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