You’ve got a dental cleaning appointment scheduled for 3:00 pm tomorrow. You also have big meetings with corporate bosses in the morning and early afternoon that you know will leave you exhausted. Instead of keeping the appointment, you decide to cancel it so you can go directly home after the meetings and relax.
No harm in cancelling a dental cleaning, right? As a dedicated, twice-a-day brusher and flosser, you’re pretty sure your oral health won’t be compromised by foregoing just one cleaning.
So, let’s talk a bit about oral hygiene care and what your dentist can do that brushing and flossing can’t do.
When you eat or drink something, oral bacteria voraciously consume any food debris remaining on your teeth. The more food particles they devour, the more acids they secrete. This acid is what dissolves tooth enamel and causes cavities.
Although brushing and flossing regularly should always be a part of your oral hygiene care regimen, only special dental tools can scrape plaque off teeth. Plaque is an accumulation of bacteria that thrive on the remnants of sugary and starchy foods. If it is allowed to remain on the teeth, plaque hardens into a yellowish film called tartar that brushing alone cannot remove.
Tartar forms underneath and just above the gum line. In addition to promoting cavities, tartar can cause bleeding gums (gingivitis) and periodontitis, the most severe type of oral disease. Tartar is also a porous material that makes it easier for coffee, soda, or tea to stain teeth.
To remove layers of plaque and tarter accumulated on your teeth, at Westlake Family Dentistry in Lake Oswego, our team uses a dental scaling instrument designed to reach in-between and hard-to-brush areas of teeth. Scalers have finely honed tips especially crafted to deep-clean the surfaces of grooved molars and smooth posterior teeth. For tackling more solid layers of plaque and tartar, ultrasonic scalers are available that use vibrational energy to clean your teeth thoroughly.