Our Kirkland dentist believes that brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once per day are great ways to maintain healthy teeth and gums between checkups. However, being diligent in daily oral hygiene doesn’t mean that you don’t need to visit the dentist regularly.
No matter how good of a job you do cleaning your teeth at home, there will almost always be some residue left behind in hard-to-reach spaces. Visiting the dentist routinely is imperative to ensure that you’re doing all you can to maintain the best oral health possible.
How Often Should You Be Going To The Dentist For A Cleaning?
The frequency of your dental visits depends on your oral health. The typical healthy patient will come in for a preventative dental cleaning (aka prophylaxis, or prophy,) every six months. During this visit, our hygienist will remove the tartar buildup along the gumlines, measure your gums, and polish your teeth.
What are Probing Depths?
During your hygiene visits, we periodically evaluate your gum tissue by measuring your probing depths.
Healthy gum tissue is snug around the base of each tooth. Our dental hygienist will use a special measuring tool that when inserted between healthy gum and tooth, only slips down about 1-3 mm.
When we slack on flossing, the gums become swollen and pull away from the teeth, creating a deep pocket because of bone and gum detachment. In this case, the probe slips a bit deeper down into the pocket.
Deep pockets are a breeding ground for bacteria, as they collect excess tartar along the root of your tooth. This condition is called periodontitis, or gum disease. Periodontal disease requires a deeper cleaning called scaling and root planing (SRP) where we use different instruments and need a bit more time to complete than a regular prophy. Usually, we’ll numb your mouth for a deep cleaning, to ensure that you’re comfortable as we remove the buildup beneath your gum line.
An SRP is usually easier if you split it into two visits, cleaning half of the mouth at a time. Once your initial SRP is completed and your gum disease is under control, we recommend that you return for a maintenance cleaning every 3-4 months.
Dental Check-Ups and X-Rays
Other important elements of your dental cleaning appointments are your x-rays and exam. Our dentist will examine your teeth and mouth to identify any abnormalities, such as cavities, TMJ issues, or oral cancer.
X-rays are important to take on a regular basis because they show things that we can’t see when we look inside your mouth. For example, decay between your teeth, abscesses or infections, impacted teeth, and bone loss.
Has it Been 6 Months Since Your Last Dental Cleaning?
Manson Dentistry is passionate about holistic, patient-focused dental health care. Dr. Manson is happy to answer any of your questions. Contact our Kirkland office today to reserve your next checkup and dental cleaning. We look forward to meeting you!