What Happens To Teeth That Aren't Cleaned Annually By A Dentist?

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Cavities are a likely outcome for those who haven't visited the dentist for a routine checkup or teeth cleaning. When you skip going to the dentist's office for a preventive cleaning, hardened plaque and tartar buildup get worse. A dentist or dental hygienist has special tools that can better remove these harmful bacteria, which can cause infection or tooth decay, and even worse, tooth loss. The American Dental Association (ADA) and dentists recommend having a routine dental checkup and cleaning every six months. To help you understand what can happen to your teeth if you continually miss your dental cleanings, read on to learn more from LANCO Dental Care in Lancaster, PA.

What is a dental cleaning?

A professional cleaning and dental checkup are an integral part of your oral hygiene to remove harmful plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. A preventative cleaning with a qualified and licensed dentist or dental hygienist is essential to prevent tooth decay (cavities), gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Before the actual cleaning process, teeth and gums are checked for any signs of gingivitis, swollen gums, or other potential issues. Next, one of our dental professionals will scrape away hardened tartar and plaque around the gumline and between the teeth. While daily brushing and flossing can remove some plaque and tartar, the scale and clean process with a dentist or hygienist is the best option for your oral health. After your teeth are polished and tartar-free, flossing will complete the dental cleaning process that normally takes about an hour.

How often should I visit the dentist for a dental cleaning?

Preventive cleanings every six months can help detect any dental problems before they get worse. Teeth cleaning and a routine dental checkup are necessary for our dental team to see the signs of tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontal disease, oral cancer, and more. Even if you brush and floss daily, these oral health issues can go undetected. Professional teeth cleanings are typically scheduled twice a year, while dental X-rays are normally taken once a year. Whether you have good oral hygiene at home or not, the key is to keep going back to the dentist for bi-annual visits.

What can happen if I skip my preventive cleaning?

A routine dental checkup and professional cleaning are necessary to ensure Lancaster, PA patients' teeth and gums remain healthy. A bi-annual cleaning with our dental experts removes harmful plaque and tartar buildup, which, if left untreated, can lead to more serious oral health concerns. Research has shown certain chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers, have been linked to poor oral hygiene. If you routinely miss your dental cleaning, the following may happen:

1. Tooth decay

Cavities are holes in teeth caused by a bacterial infection that turns into tooth decay. This can occur underneath built-up tartar and plaque, which can also occur between teeth. Scale and clean dental treatments remove hardened plaque and tartar buildup at the gumline with specialized dental tools.

2. Periodontal disease

Gum disease occurs when tartar and plaque buildup irritate the gumline area causing a person to have inflamed and swollen gums. If left untreated, small pockets form around the tooth, allowing for more plaque and bacteria to become trapped, which can eventually lead to tooth or bone loss. A routine dental checkup and cleaning can help prevent gum disease.

3. Persistent bad breath

Consistent halitosis, or bad breath, can be the first sign of poor oral hygiene. Plaque and tartar buildup harnesses bacteria in the mouth, leading to an infection or gum disease. During a dental cleaning, special tools are used to remove these harmful factors on teeth (an even in-between) to allow patients to have better oral health and fresher breath.

4. Tooth loss

By not visiting a dentist every six months, you may eventually deal with more severe oral issues, like tooth loss. A lack of dental visits for regular checkups and professional cleanings puts you at risk of periodontal disease and cavities. Individuals who smoke or have diabetes, hypertension, or arthritis are also more likely to have dental concerns or plaque buildup, possibly causing tooth loss.

How long is a dental cleaning?

A professional dental cleaning usually takes about an hour or less and should be performed by a qualified, licensed dental professional, like a dentist or dental hygienist. As part of the teeth cleaning process with the dental team at LANCO Dental Care, the following will take place:

  • Dental X-rays (yearly)
  • Scale and clean method to remove plaque or tartar
  • Flossing
  • Fluoride treatment (if necessary)

Are you in need of a routine dental checkup and professional cleaning?

Most dental insurance will cover a cleaning and dental checkup every six months or at least once a year. The dental experts at LANCO Dental Care want to help you protect your oral health and have a beautiful smile. Our practice in Lancaster, PA offers a wide variety of restorative, cosmetic, and preventive dentistry procedures. If you need a routine dental checkup and cleaning, contact one of our knowledgeable team members today to schedule your appointment.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.