Read the information to learn your options for receiving regular dental cleanings in Colorado Springs at Schope Dental:
Dental cleanings are the most important aspect of good dental health and the cornerstone to fundamental dental care. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), a professional dental cleaning at least twice a year is recommended to assure proper oral health. This is recommended because regular dental cleanings eliminate many dental issues before they even begin. Dental cleanings are most often painless and typically last 30 to 45 minutes.
The Dental Cleaning Process:
- Eliminating plaque:
The first part of the cleaning process is the elimination of plaque. This is accomplished by a dental hygienist using special dental tools. The tools that are often employed are a scaler and a polisher. A scaler is the tool that resembles a hook. It is used for the removal of hard plaque located on or between the teeth.In some cases, the scaler can cause discomfort for the patient. However, the amount of pain felt depends greatly on the patient’s sensitivity level. The longer a patient waits between cleanings the more uncomfortable this aspect of the cleaning process becomes.The other tool implemented in plaque removal is a polisher. This tool is used to buff the teeth eliminating small pieces of plaque. The polisher head has interchangeable attachments in order to reach various places within the mouth. During the plaque removal process, water is shot within the patient’s mouth and sucked out via a small vacuum system to remove loosened plaque.
After the plaque is loosened and removed, the hygienist brushes the patient’s teeth. This is accomplished using a mechanical brushing instrument containing a smooth rubber tip referred to as a polisher. Dental hygienists spread an abrasive toothpaste containing either calcium carbonate, boron, pumice or aluminum oxide onto the tooth surface. Because polishers can sometimes dull tooth enamel, several hygienists only use a polisher as needed instead of on every tooth, every patient or at every dental visit.
Usually flossing is performed by a hygienist after the polishing step. However, in some cases, flossing is done before. It really depends on the hygienist’s preference. The flossing removes any particles in between the teeth that were inaccessible with the dental tools.
- Dentist examination:
The majority of a dental cleaning is performed by a dental hygienist. However, after the teeth are cleaned and well examined by the hygienist, the dentist will have a look themselves to assure there are no dental issues that need attention.
Another important aspect of a dental cleaning visit is X-rays. A dentist is only able to visually see a portion of the tooth. For that reason, X-rays are necessary for a dental professional to access the health of a patient’s teeth. For example, gum disease, bone damage, abscesses, the location of a cavity or other abnormalities can only be revealed via an X-ray.When dentists treat children, they employ X-rays to determine the status of teeth that have yet to come through the gums. Although X-rays are crucial, they are not performed on patient’s at each dental visit. The tools used when taking X-rays are bitewings or paper tabs. In most cases, X-rays are taken before the cleaning process begins.
- Fluoride treatments:
Fluoride treatments are a standard part of most children’s and even teen’s dental cleaning visits. Fluoride strengthens the teeth and makes them less susceptible to cavities. Some pediatric dentists insist that children receive a fluoride treatment each time they come in for a cleaning. Often fluoride treatments are given in a molding that goes over the teeth. The molding is filled with fluoride and held in place on the teeth for a few minutes. After enough time has passed, the fluoride residue is washed off.
Who Needs Dental Cleanings?
No matter their age, everyone needs regular dental cleanings. Children should be taken to the dentist when they turn one. However, waiting until they are two or even three is acceptable, but it does increase the risk of cavities and plaque build-up. In many cases, the child’s teeth are simply examined and counted on the first visit. This is done to familiarize the child with the dentist’s office and assure them there is no pain involved in a cleaning.
How Is a Dental Cleaning Paid for?
Fortunately, most insurance companies cover basic dental cleanings. The coverage often allows for routine X-rays as well without an additional charge. However, if a patient is without dental insurance, they can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $200 for a dental cleaning depending on a dentist’s location and individual fees. In some cases, pediatric dentists cost more because they specialize in treating children only.
Having regular dental cleanings is one of the easiest ways to assure good dental health. Any dental problems that are noted during a cleaning can be addressed in a timely manner before they become serious issues. Moreover, when teeth are cleaned regularly, problems are less likely to occur. Since most dental insurance plans do cover cleanings, there is simply no reason to avoid having regular dental check-ups.
Choosing the Right Dentist
Be sure to take the time to choose your dentist wisely. This is a person you’re going to see on a regular basis and someone you want deeply invested in helping you prevent serious dental health issues later. That’s why if you’re shopping for a dentist in Colorado Springs, be sure to talk with top dentist, Betty Jo Schope, DDS, PC. Dr. Schope takes the time to get to know and understand your dentistry needs and works with you to develop a plan to regain and maintain optimal dental health.