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How often should I get a dental cleaning?

Q: My hygienist tells me I need a cleaning every 3 months but I’ve heard every 6 months was the norm. 

A:  I get asked this question every day.   The frequency on how often you should visit your dental hygienist depends on a number of different factors.  How much build up you have, your level of participation in your home care and how deep are your gum pockets measurements.  If you are in good health with no complications; if you have impeccable home care and have no gum disease, then a 6 month interval would be warranted. 

Gingivitis is a very common form of gum disease characterized by irritated and bleeding gums, swelling and/or pain.  Bleeding is not normal however it is also not uncommon.   Most people do not experience pain associated with the bleeding from day to day care.  As a result, because there’s no pain, the need to resolve the issue becomes less important.   That said, if you suddenly started bleeding in other parts of your body, your first thoughts would include making a trip to see your family doctor ASAP!

So what causes gingivitis?? 

Directly speaking….PLAQUE!!!  Plaque is a soft deposit mainly found on your tooth surface.  It is generally clear to white in colour and it can be fairly easily removed with excellent brushing and regular flossing.  Plaque is the white deposits you see on your floss each time you perform your homecare.   Any bacteria/plaque that remains undisturbed on your tooth surface can cause:

  • Swollen gums

  • Gums that bleed easily when you brush and floss

  • Halitosis (Bad breath)

  • Dark red gums

  • Tender or receding gums

What happens if we leave the undisturbed plaque? 

Over time, any undisturbed plaque that sits on our enamel hardens and turns into what we call tartar also known as calculus.  When calculus is formed, it creates a rough surface for more plaque to attach and the effect snowballs.  Once plaque hardens, no matter how much you scrub or floss, you must see your dental hygienist for a dental “cleaning”.   It can take as little as two weeks for this plaque to turn into calculus!!  So as you can see, a 6 month interval is much too long between dental visits. 

Complications from uncontrolled gingivitis can lead to a more serious dental disease called Periodontitis.  This is the stage where the gum disease has spread to the underlying tissue and bone thus causing it to deteriorate.  Bone is the supporting structure for our teeth and when this bone loss is experienced, tooth loss can be the end result. 

It all sounds daunting but the truth is….gingivitis is reversible! *throws confetti*.  Exceptional home care including brushing, flossing, tongue cleaning and consistent visits (3, 4, 5, 6 month intervals) with your dental hygienist is imperative to maintain your oral health.  We pride ourselves in taking the time to show you where your problem areas are and what we can do to solve the issues if any.

At Lux Dental Group, we are committed to helping you achieve optimum oral health.  Using modern technology we can confidently show you where you are excelling and areas that require improvement.  Need help co-ordinating your benefits?  With a simple phone call to your insurance company, we can help sort out complicated dental plans and help you understand your coverage.  Call us today and let us help illuminate not only your smile but your dental knowledge as well.  Call us soon....we look forward to hearing from you!!

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