Dental cleaning and prevention are both key in early detection of gum disease and tooth decay. A good home routine as well as regular dental exams and cleanings may help you to avoid other expensive dental treatments in the future. Prevention begins with getting a control on plaque, which is an invisible bacteria that sticks to the teeth and calculus, which is a mineral deposit that forms on the teeth. Both of these are main causes of disease and decay. Proper dental care includes dental exams, dental cleanings, sealants and prevention.

Dental Exam

At your first dental visit, a comprehensive exam will be performed. When you return for regular checkups and exams, they include the following:

1. X-rays. Detect tumors, decay, bone loss and tooth and root positions.
2. Examination of tooth decay. Teeth are checked for decay using special instruments.
3. Evaluation of gums for disease. Exam that looks for signs of periodontal disease.
4. Exam of existing restorations. Evaluation of current crowns, fillings, or treatments.
5. Screenings for oral cancer.

Dental Cleaning

Dental cleaning is either performed by a dental hygienist or the dentist. A dental cleaning appointment will include the dental exam and the following:

1. Removal of tartar. Tartar is hardened plaque that forms on the teeth due to insufficient brushing and dental home care. Tartar can be found below and above the gum line and can only be removed using certain instruments.
2. Removal of plaque. Plaque is invisible and sticky to the touch. It is a growing form of bacteria, saliva and food that forms on the teeth. Left untreated, plaque will produce toxins in the gums.
3. Polishing of teeth. This process removes plaque and stains from teeth that home brushing has missed.

Prevention

A preventative dental program will prevent the start, progress and recurrence of dental illnesses and diseases:

1. Brush teeth twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride.
2. Floss each day.
3. Eat a proper diet, avoid food high in sugar and processed foods.
4. Visit a dentist twice a year for cleanings.
5. Do not use tobacco products.
6. Rinse your mouth with water. This should be done after brushing your teeth and after eating if you are not able to brush.

Dental cleaning and prevention starts at home with good hygiene and a proper diet. This is continued in a dentist office with the dentist or hygienist restoring and maintaining your good oral health. Prevention also includes dental cleanings, exams and x-rays. Fluoride as well as sealants provides preventative treatment to protect teeth. Proper dental cleaning and prevention helps to avoid dental problems such as periodontal disease, and is the key to having a healthy and beautiful smile.