How Often Should You Get a Dental Cleaning?

The American Dental Association (ADA) refrains from issuing a specific frequency guideline for teeth cleanings. Instead, it asserts that regular cleanings should occur at intervals determined by a dentist. The ADA acknowledges the diversity in individuals’ hygiene practices and genetic predispositions, emphasizing that a uniform recommendation may only suit some. The association highlights a connection between dental cleaning frequency and the risk of tooth loss.

Rather than offering a generic recommendation, the ADA suggests that high-risk patients may benefit from more frequent cleanings, while low-risk patients may not require regular cleanings. The ADA underscores the importance of personalized oral care, advocating for patients to collaborate closely with their dentists to establish an appropriate cleaning schedule tailored to their dental needs.

Importance of Teeth Cleanings

Plaque and tartar slowly accumulate on teeth over time, a process that occurs even among individuals who diligently brush and floss every day. This buildup is not exclusive to any particular diet or oral health condition, affecting individuals on vegan diets, smokers, and those with consistently healthy gums.

Therefore, it underscores the necessity for everyone to undergo teeth cleanings at least every six months, at a minimum, for the healthiest of teeth and gums! Regular dental visits are crucial to preventing the excessive accumulation of tartar and plaque.

Standard Cleaning Visit

A typical dental visit commonly includes a procedure called scale and polish. In this process, your dentist eliminates plaque and tartar from areas that are challenging to access through regular brushing and flossing, followed by polishing the tooth surfaces. While a scale and polish effectively address plaque and tartar buildup for the majority of patients, some individuals may have tartar that contributes to gum disease. In such instances, a more intensive treatment known as deep teeth cleaning may be necessary.

Deep Cleaning Visit

Dentists often recommend deep teeth cleaning, also known as dental scaling and root planing, for individuals with gum disease characterized by tartar buildup in the pockets between their teeth and gums and occasionally extending down to the tooth roots. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss or severe infections if left untreated. Deep cleaning involves the removal of plaque from areas below the gum line, aiming to reduce the space between teeth and gums caused by gum disease. This procedure differs from a regular scale or scale and polish, focusing on removing plaque above the gumline.

More Helpful Information

Most insurance providers have annual standardized coverage for two teeth cleanings, a practice that most individuals follow. The six-month interval between cleanings is not arbitrary; it aligns with the typical timeframe for reforming plaque on teeth, as the bacteria responsible for plaque rapidly recolonize following a cleaning.

While some individuals may find an annual cleaning sufficient, those with certain risk factors should adhere to a six-month cleaning schedule. Consider scheduling biannual cleanings if you:

  • Use water or toothpaste without fluoride
  • Frequently consume sweets and snacks
  • Infrequently floss
  • Brush your teeth less than twice a day
  • Avoid dental visits unless you are experiencing pain
  • Regularly receive new fillings at each check-up
  • Exhibit numerous cavity ‘watches’ on your dental chart
  • Wear dentures, braces, or other oral appliances
  • Have a chronic health condition like diabetes
  • Experience frequent dry mouth
  • Smoke
  • Are pregnant

For individuals with multiple risk factors, more frequent cleanings—every three or four months—may be necessary. This is especially true for those with conditions like diabetes or heart disease, as they inherently face a higher risk of developing gum disease, even with a diligent oral hygiene routine. Certain medications may also warrant more frequent cleanings to prevent potential dental issues.

Savannah Dental Solutions is a top name among dentists in the Savannah area, known for focusing on the dental needs of clients of all ages. Conveniently located in the Medical Arts Center, their range of services is unrivaled in Chatham County.