You might be wondering why your dentist recommends seeing a dental hygienist twice a year. The reason this is absolutely necessary is because plaque needs to be removed from the mouth consistently twice a year. If left uncleaned for more than six months it begins to harden into tartar, which eats into the tooth enamel and infects the gums. It is the dental hygienist’s role to help you keep up with the removal of this plaque so that you can maintain a healthy mouth.
If your mouth is very healthy because you have been brushing your teeth regularly your visit may only necessitate a bit of scraping of tartar off your teeth. However smokers, people in ill health and those who have neglected their oral care may find themselves with gums that are pulling away from the teeth. If this is the case then the dental hygienist may perform a root planing and scaling (RPS). This is a quick, gentle, and effective method for treating existing gum disease and preventing further infection. Most people feel absolutely no pain while this procedure is being done.
During a root planing and scaling the hygienist may numb the area with a topical anesthetic although it isn’t necessary. At Sachem Dental we use use an ultrasonic instrument that helps clean the tooth beneath the gum all the way up to the root. The hygienist also cleans very carefully between each tooth to prevent the spread of further infection. Within days of this type of this type of cleaning many people see a reduction of red or white inflammation on their gums and see it turn pink again.
During your bi-annual visit Sachem Dental hygienists perform an oral screening for cancer within the mouth. This is a very common cancer that can develop anywhere on the lips, tongue and at the back of the wisdom teeth. It can also occur in the throat, the roof of the mouth and on the tonsils. Oral cancer is a completely preventable and curable disease with a resolution rate of over 90% as long as it is detected in the early stages.
It is particularly important to get this screening if you are over 40 years of age or have been a heavy user of tobacco and alcohol. Keep in mind that 25% of people who do get oral cancer have never used tobacco or alcohol at all. Oral cancer affects men twice as much as women but oral cancer cases are on the rise within women in the United States.
Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly and avoiding smoking can really help prevent the need for more invasive procedures such as root planing and scaling.
Sachem Dental has five locations within Suffolk County and all of our dentists and hygienists come from the highest training and education. Scheduling a visit for a cleaning is very easy and our offices are open late and on Saturdays to accommodate you and your busy lifestyle. Sachem Dental strives to make your oral health care a pleasant and enjoyable one. To schedule an appointment, please visit the location page here to find an office that is located near you.