A businessman walked into the dental office in a brusque manner, demanded to be seen immediately. He said he had to head back to work for an important meeting, and he just wanted to have a quick checkup, but not cleaning. Like many others, the reasons tend to be
“Cleaning hurts my teeth!”
“Cleaning takes a long time!”
“Cleaning makes my teeth loose!”
So… after convincing him that since he hadn’t seen a dentist in the past 10 years, it’s best for him to receive a cleaning, he reluctantly agreed with me. As soon as he opened his mouth, the odor nearly knocked me unconscious. To be expected, lots and lots of food debris, such as leftover meat and green onions started to flush out. I wondered if it’s from his dinner last night or two months ago… then out of nowhere, came human hair.
Many patients we see during office visits prefer not to have professional cleaning. To do the cleaning can be sensitive during the process and takes time as well, however, it is absolutely necessary.
After we eat, no matter how much we brush, we leave little soft food scraps in between our teeth (after all, we are human, not machine). These soft food scraps are called PLAQUES. When these soft plaques get mixed with your saliva, they become hardened, and are called CALCULUS. The bad news is, you can brush for a whole hour and the hard calculus will never come off your teeth.
As days go on, those hard calculus starts to attract bacteria, which makes your gum irritable, puffy, red, and swollen. It starts to trap food debris (and yes, even fruit flies) in the enlarged gum area. It can be painful, and you may experience bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. As time goes on, this becomes what is known as inflamed gum, or “gingivitis.” Can this situation be reversed? Yes, once all the calculus or plaque is removed, your gum will go back to become pink and healthy. The reason why dentists always recommend cleanings every half a year, is that only through professional cleaning cavitron machines and hand scalers, can we remove calculus, and ensure the gingiva tissue to its healthy state.
However, that does not mean you only rely on dentists cleaning your teeth twice a year, and not to brush or floss your teeth. Remember, the best way to prevent plaque and calculus build up is to brush and floss your teeth after every meal. With a good, routine oral hygiene habit, and the scheduled professional cleaning, this will help ensure and maintain your gum to the healthiest condition.