The Truth About Regular Teeth Cleanings: Is Every 6 Months Necessary?

When it comes to dental health, one of the most common pieces of advice is to get your teeth professionally cleaned every six months. But is this biannual routine really necessary for everyone, or is it just an overcautious recommendation? Let’s dive into why regular teeth cleanings are important and whether the six-month guideline is a must-follow rule for everyone.

Understanding the Importance of Regular Teeth Cleanings

Preventing Plaque and Tartar Buildup: Regular brushing and flossing at home are crucial, but even the most diligent oral hygiene routine can miss spots. Professional cleanings effectively remove plaque and tartar that regular brushing can’t, preventing potential gum disease and tooth decay.

Early Detection of Dental Issues: Regular visits allow your dentist to spot early signs of problems such as cavities, broken fillings, or more severe conditions like oral cancer. Early detection often means easier and less costly treatments.

Maintaining Overall Health: Poor oral health has been linked to various systemic health issues, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Regular cleanings help maintain not just oral health but also contribute to overall wellbeing.

Is the Six-Month Rule Right for Everyone?

While the six-month rule is a good general guideline, it may not be necessary for everyone. The frequency of dental cleanings should be tailored to individual needs.

Low-Risk Patients: If you have good oral hygiene and a history free of cavities and gum disease, your dentist might suggest lengthening the interval between your cleanings.

High-Risk Patients: For those with a history of dental issues, such as gum disease, frequent cavities, or certain health conditions like diabetes, more frequent cleanings may be recommended. This could mean visits every three to four months.

Factors Influencing the Frequency of Dental Cleanings

  • Personal Oral Hygiene: The better you maintain your oral hygiene, the less frequently you may need professional cleanings.
  • Age and Lifestyle: Children, older adults, smokers, and those with a high-sugar diet might require more frequent dental visits.
  • Medical History: Certain medical conditions, like heart disease or diabetes, increase the risk of oral health issues.

Making the Right Choice for Your Dental Health

The best way to determine how often you need a dental cleaning is to have a candid conversation with your dentist. They can assess your individual risk factors and suggest a personalized schedule.

Regular teeth cleanings are a cornerstone of preventive dental care. While the six-month guideline is a solid standard, remember that your specific needs might differ. Staying on top of your dental health with a schedule tailored to you is key to maintaining a healthy smile and overall wellbeing.

At Deerfoot Dental, we’re committed to providing individualized care. We’re here to help you make the best decision for your oral health. Contact us at (205) 810-0844 to schedule a consultation and learn more about the ideal dental care routine for you.

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Back to School Dental Check-Up

Now that the rush of going back to school is over, it is time to schedule a visit to the dentist. And not just for the kids! At Deerfoot Dental, we make this easy to do by offering online scheduling on our website or by calling our office. This allows you to find a date and time that works best for you and your family. With the busy holiday season approaching, it is important to maintain a happy, healthy smile.

How often should you go to the dentist?

For regular dental check-ups, we recommend visiting every six months. Check-ups at least every six months will allow you to keep your mouth healthy. It also allows our team to stay up to date on any changes that may have occurred. According to the American Dental Association, a check-up and cleaning every six months is the best way to maintain a healthy smile. A good habit of brushing and flossing daily will keep teeth clean and healthy in between visits.

Why are dental check-ups important?

Through examination by a trained dentist, many oral health concerns can be detected and then treated. Dental checkups provide professional cleanings, oral cancer screenings, and digital X-rays to check for hidden issues. This helps to eliminate plaque buildup and other bacteria that daily brushing and flossing won’t effectively eliminate.

Why are brushing and flossing so important?

It is important to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time. While you are brushing, make sure to brush every surface of the tooth. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a shape that best fits your mouth will result in the best cleaning. A toothbrush that correctly fits into your mouth will allow you to reach every tooth effectively. Brushing before school and before bed is a great schedule to aim for. Adding flossing to your brushing routine will take the cleaning to the next level. Flossing allows you to get a deeper clean between the teeth, where a toothbrush might not reach. Starting a thorough oral hygiene routine is key to maintaining optimal oral health in between dental visits. It might seem difficult to start, but add it to the morning routine before school.

Regular dental checkups are a must to keep a healthy and clean mouth. Talk with your dentist about any issues you are having with your teeth. The key is continually to visit the dentist for regular teeth cleanings to prevent problems altogether. Here at Deerfoot Dental, we’re always here to help you. Call our office at (205) 810-0844 to get an appointment for a dental checkup.

What To Expect When You Get a Dental Checkup

Knowing what to expect when you go in for a dental checkup can help ease the anxiety of going into the dentist. Usually, you should get a dental checkup every six months to ensure the health of your teeth and gums.

Not only are checkups great for your overall health, but they also give your dentist the opportunity to share tips on caring for your teeth and detect oral health problems early. Here is what you can expect from a typical dental checkup.

Physical Exam

Most teeth cleanings are performed by a dental hygiene professional. Before beginning the cleaning, the hygienist will start with an exam of your entire mouth. By using a small mirror tool, the hygienist will check around your teeth and gums for any sign of gingivitis (inflamed gums) or other potential concerns.

If any major issues are detected, the hygienist might call the dentist over to make sure it’s okay to continue.

Cleaning and Polishing

Next, the hygienist will begin to remove any plaque or tartar that has built up on your teeth. They do so by using the mirror tool and scaler. Usually plaque build up happens around the gums and in between teeth, so you’ll notice the hygienist focusing there. The more plaque and tartar there is, the more scraping there will be. Then they will expertly floss your teeth, making sure to get any problem areas where the gums might bleed more. Next, they’ll do a fluoride treatment on your teeth, which is a protectant for your teeth to help fight against cavities for several months.

Education

Another big part of the dental checkup process is education. After the cleaning the dental hygienist will discuss any hygiene problems that were detected. They’ll also show you ways to more effectively brush and floss your teeth, if necessary.

Examination

Both the dental hygienist and your dentist will then do an examination on your teeth, gums and mouth to look for signs of any problems, like a cavity, gum disease, or early signs of oral cancer. The dentist will use the mirror tool to get a better view of your teeth and gums, and if they see any issues, they might recommend a special treatment or refer you to a specialist.

X-Rays

At some of your dental visits, your dentist might ask for x-rays of your teeth. A dental X-ray allows the dentist to see detailed images of specific sections of your mouth to help diagnose problems not visible during the dental exam. X-rays aren’t typically needed at every checkup, so your dentist or hygiene specialist will talk to you about your need for x-rays based on your oral health and risk of disease.

Getting regular dental checkups is so important to your overall health. Dentists and hygienists are here to make sure you’re keeping your mouth and teeth in tip top shape. Deerfoot Dental is always here to help you and answer any questions you have. Call our office to make an appointment for your next dental checkup!

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Tooth Extractions: 4 Steps to an Easy Recovery

Tooth Extractions at Deerfoot Dental

There are more than seven billion people in the world, and every one of them has a set of teeth—32 of them, in fact. Unfortunately, from time to time, some of them have to go. It’s not something anyone’s looking forward to. After all, your teeth have all been with you for years, reliably chewing anything you asked them to. Most of us are pretty attached to them!

Many patients dread the recovery period after an extraction, but as long as you know how to take care of yourself, an extraction can be one of the least troublesome medical events of your life. Today, we’ll tell you what you can expect, and what you can do to make your recovery as comfortable as possible.

The main concern in the period after a tooth extraction is the possibility of a dry socket. This is when a blood clot fails to form over the extraction site, or when the clot comes loose and exposes the wound, possibly even leaving the bone underneath exposed. Fortunately, it’s not incredibly common (it occurs in less than 5% of routine dental extractions). 

The pain of a tooth extraction can be avoided by following these steps.

Step 1: Clear your schedule

The most important thing you can do to prepare for this procedure or any other is to make sure you’re ready for the recovery period. If you were thinking about going on a ten-mile bike tour or pushing a new one-rep-max at the gym, you’ll have to postpone it. Clear your schedule of strenuous physical activity for a few days after the extraction, so you don’t risk loosening the clot before it has a chance to heal.

Step 2: Stock up on soft foods

Avoid eating anything you’ll have to chew or suck. Stock up on soft foods like yogurt and applesauce. Or you could make a smoothie—but be careful not to use a straw. Sucking up any liquid may dislodge the clot and leave the wound exposed. Eggs can work too if you’re craving something a little more substantial.

Step 3: Manage your pain

After the procedure, your poor gums are going to need a bit of babying. You’ll probably want a painkiller of some kind. The extraction site might not hurt badly right away, but you can manage the pain best by taking a Tylenol or similar drug early. The pain likely will increase for the first three days or so, but don’t worry, that’s normal. If pain continues to increase after the third day or doesn’t decrease, it’s possible you have a dry socket. Contact your Dr. Grovenstein, and he’ll decide how to handle things from there.

Step 4: Be gentle with your teeth

Your nighttime routine will have to change, too. For the first two days, avoid rinsing out the extraction site so the wound can heal. After that, you should rinse gently with warm salt water to encourage healing. Brush your teeth gently but avoid teeth right next to the extraction site for the first couple of days. Even after the first couple of days, be very careful not to brush the site itself. When it’s time to go to bed, it’s best to prop your head up with an extra pillow or two.

Tooth extraction is a little uncomfortable for the first few days. But with just a little care, you can minimize the pain, and your teeth will be chewing reliably for you once again in no time. The key is to be patient with the healing process and gentle with your mouth for a few days. Putting up with the pain and inconvenience of an extraction is much better than living with the pain and infection risk of a cracked or impacted tooth! 

 

Deerfoot Dental is here to support you through extractions and all your dental needs. If you’re having tooth pain, or if you have questions about tooth extraction or any other procedure, give us a call at (205) 810-0844, and we’ll do everything we can to help.

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Deerfoot Dental

6735 Old Springville Rd
Pinson, AL 35126
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Hours

Monday - Thursday: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am to 12:00 pm (by appointment only)
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

Phone

(205) 810-0844

Email Address

info@deerfootdentist.com