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Why Do I Have to Get My Teeth Cleaned Every Six Months?

When you have a healthy checkup, why does it end with see you in six months? In dentistry, the key to minimizing dental treatment is prevention.  Getting your teeth cleaned twice a year allows the dental hygienist to tailor your homecare routine to get the best results.  Adjusting your toothbrushing technique, choosing different flossing aids, and even changing your fluoride intake can all help to prevent gum disease and maintain oral health at home between your six month dental office visits.  Whether it’s been six years or six months since you last visited McCarl Dental Group for a dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning, it’s time to give our team a call. We look forward to helping you with all of your oral health and hygiene needs in our state-of-the-art, family-friendly dentistry practices located at Millersville and Greenbelt.

Why are Professional Teeth Cleanings Important?

Plaque, a soft sticky film produced by oral bacteria, constantly accumulates, and if missed for 48 hours or longer, it begins to harden and turn into calculus, sometimes called tartar.  Once calculus forms, it is no longer removable at home. Instead, calculus must be removed with the specialized tools wielded by oral hygienists at the dental office.  Having calculus along and under the gum line is similar to having a splinter in your hand. The area around it gets red, sensitive, and swollen, and it will not get better until the splinter is removed. Your regular professional teeth cleanings with our team are the opportunity to remove that splinter.

What Happens When Plaque & Tartar Aren’t Removed?

Prolonged periods of unremoved calculus and plaque buildup leads to inflammation and gum (periodontal) disease.  The beginning stages of gum disease are reversible, and the gum tissue can heal and reattach to the teeth with proper removal of bacteria and maintenance of a healthy oral environment at home and in our office.  As gum disease progresses, permanent bone damage occurs around teeth and more advanced treatments and deep cleanings are necessary to maintain health in a higher risk environment. Gum disease is not always about poor oral hygiene, genetics plays a role in plaque accumulation and how quickly plaque is transformed into calculus, so sometimes patients who work really hard at homecare still need to come in more often. We cannot change our genetics but rather have to learn to work with it, and a trusted dental hygienist can help you do just that.

What Treatments are Available for Periodontal Disease?

A six month recall is really only aimed at patients who have healthy gums. Sometimes patients will need to get their teeth cleaned every 3-4 months as prevention for advanced gum disease. In the half a year interval, they will remain healthy with a few minor suggestions, but those with gum disease that causes bleeding and soft tissue recession and those with high calculus levels need more frequent cleanings to keep their oral health under control.  If during a six month recall, the gum tissues are not stable, a more frequent dental office visit is suggested. 

What are the Benefits of Regular Dental Checkups?

In addition to promoting gum health, monitoring the oral cavity frequently provides the best chance for the dentist to diagnosis and treat cavities and other oral issues while the problems are small and easier to fix.  Waiting until a tooth hurts to see a dentist usually involves more extensive dental treatment as opposed to catching a small cavity on checkup x-rays and removing the decay before it reaches an advanced stage.

What Happens During Professional Teeth Cleanings?

Routine cleanings are necessary to oral health.  During a prophylaxis (professional cleaning) you may receive some combination of the following:

Removal of harmful oral bacteria, plaque, and calculus

8601 Veterans Highway, Ste 101, Millersville, MD 21108 USA
Dr. Clayton McCarl, Jr. Millersville, MD cosmetic, restorative, & preventive dentistry. infoshipleys@mccarldental.com
28 Ridge Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770 USA
Dr. Clayton McCarl, Jr. Greenbelt, MD cosmetic, restorative, & preventive dentistry. (301) 474-4144 infogreenbelt@mccarldental.com