Elmhurst Family Dentist Explains the Purpose of Regular Professional Dental Cleanings

Written by Dr. Scharfenberg on Oct 18, 2011

Most adults should have a professional dental cleaning at least twice a year. Semi-annual professional cleanings are important for both the health and appearance of your smile. Many patients, however, wonder why a professional cleaning is necessary at all—what does a dentist do that a patient can’t do with regular dental hygiene at home?

The truth is that professional cleanings are the only way to meet a variety of necessary dental needs.

Tartar Removal

Everyday our smiles accumulate plaque—a sticky bacteria-ridden substance that adheres to the surface of teeth. Plaque can be brushed and flossed away with regular at-home dental hygiene. However, patients are not able to clean all plaque—some inevitably becomes stuck between teeth—and this plaque hardens into something called calculus (also called tartar). Calculus is a rough mineralized substance that is calcified onto to dental enamel. It is a prime breeding ground for oral bacteria, and importantly, it can only be removed with a professional dental cleaning.

Tartar and plaque contribute to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Oral bacteria can actually travel through your blood stream and contribute to chronic inflammatory diseases and heart problems. A dental professional can remove harmful dental tartar using dental scaling, and keep your mouth healthy.

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer often goes undetected by patients because the symptoms are not readily apparent until the disease has progressed. However, a regular dental exam includes an oral cancer screening—increasing the likelihood that any health problem will be diagnosed and treated early, before it causes irreversible complications. Our Elmhurst family dentists, for instance, look for signs of oral cancer such as mouth sores, lumps ad masses, and white patches on oral tissue.

Maintaining a twice daily flossing and brushing routine is a great start to maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile. However, it is only when this routine is used in conjunction with professional dental cleanings that you are able to effectively avoid cavities and oral disease. Give our Elmhurst family dentists a call if you’d like more information or to schedule an appointment—(630) 733-1624.