× 843-734-0212 Home About Services & Technology Smile Gallery Contact Blog

What Is a Dental Cleaning and Why Do We Need Them?

Close up of a young woman getting a dental cleaning from a dentist

Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That’s the best way to look at professional dental cleanings. Yes, teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist are going to look better and feel better, but even more importantly is the benefit of a dental cleaning to our patients’ oral health and their total body health. 

Let’s look at what cleanings are and why they matter:

What is a Dental Cleaning?

Although there will be some variation of processes between practices, there are generally 2 major components.

The Exam 

When hygienists begin, they are looking for signs of trouble. They’re looking at overall gum health and signs of gingivitis, as well as problematic wearing of enamel and other visible damage. At least once every year but often six months, hygienists will take X-Rays, which allow them and the dentists to spot multiple problems or potential problems: 

  • Cavities and early signs of cavities

  • Decay around fillings or other objects like bridges or braces

  • The health and positioning of teeth as it concerns potential procedures like crowns, braces, implants, wisdom tooth treatments and more

  • Cysts, tumors, and abscesses

  • Bone loss

  • Infections

The Plaque and Tartar Treatment

Hygienists will scrape plaque and tartar from teeth using a scaler. (Some offices, like Carolina Family Dental, use laser treatment for gum health as well). Ultrasonic scalers use water and vibration to clean, as opposed to the traditional metal hook scaler some offices still use. Using both methods is a common practice. This is followed by a high-powered brush with gritty prophylaxis paste to remove other stains and residual plaque and tartar. Then the hygienist will floss the teeth to access unreached surfaces of the teeth and gums, and rinse the mouth. Most offices apply fluoride at this point.  

Why Does Dental Cleaning Matter?

Oral Health

Besides the money involved, there are significant benefits to dental cleaning. Preventing problems is the best way to fix them, as Ben Franklin suggested. Cavities - which can lead to fillings, crowns (caps), root canals, and extractions - find it difficult to take root in teeth that are free from plaque and protected by fluoride. A good cleaning will allow for both of those conditions. Plus, gum disease, periodontal disease, halitosis (bad breath), and more are greatly hindered by frequent, professional dental cleanings. 

Whole Body Health

Many people don’t know this, but oral health is hugely important to the wellbeing of other parts of the body. For example, if the body isn’t producing enough saliva - which can keep food and bacteria from harboring and spreading infections in the body - multiple consequences can occur. There are four major health conditions caused by oral health problems:

  • Heart disease and stroke: According to a plethora of research, heart disease, stroke, and artery clogging may be connected to the infections and inflammation caused by bacteria from the mouth. 

  • Problems in childbirth: Studies indicate that periodontal disease correlates with problems in childbirth, namely premature births and low birth weights.

  • Pneumonia: Pneumonia and other diseases are sometimes caused by harmful bacteria that makes it out of the mouth and survives the body’s protective measures. 

  • Endocarditis: Endocarditis is a condition that can be caused by, among other culprits, harmful bacteria from the mouth making its way into the bloodstream and, ultimately, the inner lining of the heart. 

Dental cleanings are a good representation of what we aim to do here at Carolina Family Dental as a whole. As an ounce of prevention, we want to examine your total oral health with an expert eye for identifying, then preventing or treating problems or potential problems. To do this we need to see our patients regularly. Detecting and then stopping a potential tooth-ending extraction by using a crown is great; so is using a filling to avoid a later crown; and then a good dental cleaning can help us avoid the fillings; and, thus, we keep the whole process from developing. 

Carolina Family Dental wants to take care of you. From cosmetic dentistry to preventative care like dental cleanings to reparative care like crowns and fillings, we offer top notch treatment from our knowledgeable and caring team. Contact us to schedule a cleaning or exam and give us a chance to show you why we are a growing practice with a great reputation!