Oral Health Tips From Thousand Oaks Dentists Drs. Joseph & Janice Beierle
Sometimes patients ask if it’s really necessary to have their teeth cleaned every six months. Yes, it is, and here’s why. Without regular cleaning by a trained hygienist, something called “pockets” can form. There is normally some depth of gum tissue between the tooth and the gum, with up to three millimeters being normal and healthy, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). If the depth is five millimeters or more, they are called pockets, and that’s where bacteria can easily form.
During a normal exam, our hygienists will use a probe to measure the area around your teeth to see if you have any pocketing. If there are any pockets, we may prescribe a deep scaling and root planing appointment with one of our hygienists.
The Deep Cleaning Process
Scaling and root planing are also known as deep cleaning. During the scaling process, plaque and tartar are removed from the surface of the teeth and from the pocket area between the teeth and gums. The process involves the use of either ultrasonic instruments or manual scaling tools. Typically, a thorough scaling and root planing procedure require two appointments, about half your teeth during each visit, because the process is lengthy — about an hour each time — and that’s lot for one visit.
After a deep cleaning, the bacteria in the pockets of the teeth should be removed. In the next few weeks the gums should become healthier, especially if you’re good about everyday oral hygiene. It may be advisable to have your teeth cleaned every three months for a couple of quarters to make sure the pockets are not reforming. If the pockets are not removed, we may recommend a visit to a periodontist.
So, should you really get your teeth cleaned every six months? Now you know why we say, “Yes!”