Getting a dental cleaning is an essential part of maintaining good oral health. However, it can be difficult to know how often to get one done. Most general dentists recommend dental cleanings twice a year, but there are certain signs to be aware of that can indicate a need for them more frequently.
How to tell if you need a dental cleaning
Outlined below are a few signs that indicate a need for a dental cleaning. When unsure, it can be helpful to review the following information.
Plaque and tartar
Plaque and tartar are dangerous to the teeth and gums. Thankfully, they can often be identified. Plaque may appear as a white or yellow film. Tartar, on the other hand, typically appears white and hard. It sits right above the gum line and is often very difficult to remove at home. Both plaque and tartar are signs that a dental cleaning is needed.
Any spots or areas on the teeth that are dark indicate a need for a dental cleaning. Discoloration usually indicates a cavity or decay, both of which require the attention of a general dentist. In some scenarios, these spots may be harmless and only require a dental cleaning. However, there are times when spots require more in-depth treatment, such as a filling, dental crown, or bonding procedure.
Unfortunately, the teeth are prone to staining. Heavily dyed foods and beverages can leave the teeth looking yellow, which is not ideal for anyone. When the teeth start to look yellow or stained, it is usually an indicator that a dental cleaning is necessary. Cleanings alone do not remove stains; however, they can help avoid the long-term buildup of stains.
Another sign that a dental cleaning is necessary is bad breath or a foul odor in the mouth. Oftentimes, bad breath is an indicator that the teeth have buildup behind them or beneath the gums. When there is any sort of buildup, it is usually a result of a long-term lack of oral hygiene, which means a dental cleaning is in order.
In some scenarios, a dental cleaning alone may not tackle the bad breath. In this case, further exploration and treatment may be required.
Any pain, discomfort, or soreness in the gums or teeth indicates a need for a dental cleaning. More often than not, discomfort indicates a cavity; however, in some cases it may just be a sign that the teeth need to be cleaned. Plaque and tartar that build up on the teeth or along the gum lines can put pressure on the nerves, which may result in discomfort. The pressure can be relieved through a dental cleaning with a general dentist.
Get started with a dental cleaning
When experiencing any of the signs listed above, it is necessary to get a dental cleaning right away. Dental cleanings can improve oral health and reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease. Reach out today to learn more or to get started with a dental cleaning appointment.
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