Why do I need to have my teeth cleaned?
Over time tartar, also known as calculus, builds up on the surfaces of your teeth. This is a hard chalky substance that is not removed by brushing or flossing. While daily home hygiene is the most important factor in the health of your teeth and gums it is ineffective for the removal of tartar, which must be manually done by a dental health professional with special instruments. Accumulated tartar acts as an irritant to your gums, causing swelling and/or, over time, periodontal disease that can cause the loss of bone and gum tissue around your teeth. Regular visits also increase the chance of catching tooth decay, gum disease, or oral cancers in their early stages.
How often should I have my teeth cleaned?
It varies from person to person. The standard recommendation is 6 months, but for many people it is more often than this. If you have previously been diagnosed with periodontal disease the recommendation is usually to be seen every 3-4 months. Once some bone loss has occurred around the teeth the porous roots become exposed, and these are more prone to rapid tartar build up that needs to be removed on a more regular basis. Occasionally people build up excessive amount of tartar in short periods of time and may need to be seen more than every 6 months despite otherwise healthy teeth and gums.