Dental cleaning isn’t just that!

dental cleaning

Patients often thing that dental cleaning is just that. Well, a routine visit to your dental hygienist is so much more than just cleaning your teeth.

Visiting your hygienist regularly for dental cleaning is something we can’t emphasize enough. If you’re one of those few that is truly committed and does this regularly…kudos! However, if you’re only doing it for the cleaning and think that is the most important part of it, we have to disappoint you. Actually, dental cleaning is the least important part of the procedure.

During their lives, people learned that they should visit their dental hygienists for cleaning. They call to schedule their cleaning appointment; they call to confirm their cleaning appointment and so on. But maybe it’s time to look at the bigger picture and learn that dental cleaning is way more than just scraping off plaque and stains from (and in between) your teeth.

You can think for dental cleaning as the maintenance check of your car. Every 60.000 miles, you’re required to driver your car down to your dealer for a regular maintenance check. They will check your engine, transmission, tire pressure, brakes, filters and oil. They might even vacuum and clean the interior of your car as an added bonus, but that’s not the main reason why your car is at the dealer. You don’t say that you’re getting your car washed.

Patients think that tooth polishing (usually happens at the end of the appointment) is the actual cleaning part. During this stage of the dental cleaning procedure, dental hygienists use gritty paste to remove any remaining stains and plaque from your teeth. However, even without that part, you’d be good to go. The truly important part of dental cleaning happens before that.

The truth is that you’re screened head to toe for all kinds of things the moment you set foot into a dental hygienist’s office. Once they take a look in your mouth, they are not only searching for places to clean, but also screen you for other potential illnesses, such as oral cancer.

During dental cleaning, the hygienist will have a good view not just of your teeth, but also of your gums. So, he/she can also evaluate the overall health of your mouth and determine whether there’s risk of periodontal disease. If there is (or maybe it already started to happen) this can also be a good indicator of other health issues like diabetes, heart disease etc.

Cavities are also something they look for. According to recent studies, cavities don’t form only because you eat too much sugary food and don’t floss regularly. In fact, it can also form due to dry mouth, low pH, bad bacteria infestation – so many causes of such a (seemingly) simple thing.

Dental hygienists also focus on disrupting the biofilm that forms on your teeth gums. In that film, there are a lot of bacteria that can wreak havoc on your immune system. The goal of every hygienist is to remove as much of the biofilm as possible, on order to keep your mouth healthy. It’s not just about scraping off plaque and polishing teeth.

The majority of dental cleaning is actually detective work while you chitchat with the hygienist. The actual cleaning are just the finishing touches.

So next time, when you’re scheduling your dental cleaning appointment, keep in mind that aside from that, you’re going for a detailed and thorough health assessment of your oral health.


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Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Nguyen

Dr. Nguyen is committed to providing high-quality dentistry using state-of-the-art equipment to help you achieve improved oral health and the beautiful smile you deserve.

Dr. Nguyen has served on the Virginia Board of Dentistry and has many achievements such as: Invisalign Premier and Teen Provider, Pre-Fellow with Academy of General Dentistry, Graduate of Aesthetic Continuum, Engel Institute for Dental Implant Training, WaveOne Endodontic Training, HD President’s Club.

Dr. Nguyen enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, staying active in the gym, and trying out new restaurants.  When he isn’t at work, you can find him playing basketball, tennis, football, or hiking.

“I want to make you feel right at home, exceed your expectations, and provide an amazing experience!”