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What is a Dental Cleaning?

We all know that it is important to go to a regular check-up at a doctor’s office annually. It is surprising to us that some of our new patients have not heard that a dental cleaning is just as important. Seeing your dentist twice a year is vital for the health of your teeth, and your overall health.

Why a dental cleaning is important?

At our Santa Monica dental office, we are constantly educating our patients about coming in for their bi-annual dental cleaning, or prophylaxis. Even if you are vigilant about brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes, a professional dental cleaning allows the dentist or dental hygienist to concentrate on problem, or hard to reach areas that you may miss. Also, during the appointment, we will examine your mouth for cavities and tooth decay, fractured teeth and more serious issues, such as gum disease, and mouth and/ or throat cancer. We have had cases where a patient coming in for a routine dental cleaning showed signs of first stage oral cancer. Had those patients not come in for their bi-annual appointments, they may not have found out about these serious diseases in time to cure them.

importance of prophylaxis

What is involved in a dental cleaning?

During a dental cleaning in our Santa Monica dental office, we will first look into your mouth to diagnose any potential issues.  These could be deposits of plaque and tartar, cavities, broken teeth, or more serious issues, such as gum disease, periodontal disease, or oral cancer. We will then discuss what we see with you, and recommend solutions for issues. We will let you know if you need to brush or floss more frequently, and will advise on techniques or areas you need to focus on. We will also advise you of any concerns we may have and offer solutions.

Then, a dentist or a hygienist will start to clean your teeth. The cleaning will remove any tartar or plaque on your teeth. If you have too much of either, bacteria will start to form, causing more serious issues.

To clean your teeth the dentist or registered dental hygienist will use an ultrasonic scaler or Cavitron® instrument that sprays cool mists of water. As the ultrasonic scaler vibrates, it produces sound waves to break apart and blast away large chunks of dental tartar and stubborn calculus. During this procedure, you will hear a buzzing sound while the instrument is in use. Then, a hygienist will switch to hand tools to scrape smaller deposits from your teeth.

After removing debris, your teeth will be polished using a paste on a rubber cup attached to a rotating instrument. This paste will be left on the teeth for some time, and then you will be able to spit it out and rinse your teeth.

Dental Cleaning

Are dental cleanings painful?

Many of our patients admit to not coming in for their regular dental cleaning appointments because they are scared of pain. An important fact to remember is that the more time lapses in between cleanings the more uncomfortable the cleanings may be. That is because each scheduled dental cleaning allows us to remove debris stuck to your teeth. By coming in regularly, we are able to keep up with your plaque and tartar. However, these deposits harden with time, and with many missed appointments, it becomes much harder to scrape them off, making the procedure longer and, possibly, more uncomfortable.

However, there are certain techniques we use to make your visit as comfortable as possible. We will always try to be more gentle during the procedure if we are alerted to any pain or discomfort and we can also numb sensitive areas before starting the cleaning.

To sum it up, dental cleanings are very important to your overall health. Remember to come in to see your dentist and hygienist at least two times a year for your dental cleaning!

For more information, visit https://sbhaledds.com/contact-us/

Dr. Susan Hale, DDS

Doctor Susan Hale is a Southern California Native. She attended UCLA followed by Northwestern Dental School in Chicago where she met Dr. Brent. Susan follows the quote of GV Black (the founder of modern dentistry and the first dean of her dental school,” The Professional has no right to be other than a continuous student.” She graduated from UCLA’s TMJ and Facial Pain Mini-Residency and Esthetic Professional’s Mini-Residency. She has a passion for her patients and giving them a beautiful healthy smile, In addition to loving her time with her family and friends, Dr. Susan enjoys running, yoga, cooking and now a little golf.

Dr. Brent Hale, DDS

Brent was born in Michigan and decided early on in life that dentistry suited his personal qualities, and would allow him to focus his career on things he truly enjoyed. He met Susan while they were both in dental school at Northwestern University. After graduating in 1985, the couple returned to Susan’s native Santa Monica to set up their dental partnership. They opened their first office in 1987.

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