If you brush and floss your teeth conscientiously every day, you may wonder why you still need a dental cleaning with your hygienist. Your teeth look and feel clean, so what can a hygienist do that you can’t?
This is a common misconception that gets patients into hot water with their oral health. It’s essential to brush and floss, but it isn’t a substitute for dental cleanings with your Lexington hygienist. And, these appointments are as much about diagnosis and prevention as they are about leaving you with a clean smile.
What Do Hygienists Look for During a Dental Cleaning?
Your dental hygienist is one of your first lines of defense against cavities and gum disease.
Some of the things they look for during a dental cleaning are:
Gum disease is widespread, primarily because, as a patient, you may not experience any symptoms. But during your routine cleaning, your hygienist will look for inflammation around your gum line and gum recession. By measuring the depth of the spaces that form around your teeth (called periodontal pockets), your hygienist can determine if you have gum disease and plan treatment accordingly.
During your exam, your hygienist will check for signs of decay that usually appear as small black spots. They take x-rays as needed to identify areas of decay when they are very small and do not require complicated procedures like dental crowns or root canals to treat.
Broken or Cracked Teeth
You can’t see them, but very fine cracks can appear in your teeth. These types of fractures weaken the tooth structure and can lead to other oral health problems. Small cracks are easy to fix with bonding or resurfacing, while major cracks or breaks may require the strength and support of a dental crown.
Schedule Your Next Dental Cleaning with Us
We recommend teeth cleanings at our Lexington, KY dental office at least twice a year. If it's time for your next hygiene appointment, please call us to schedule. If we find evidence of gum disease, we won't judge or lecture you, but we will provide the treatment you need and support you in resolving it.