Why Are Dental Cleanings Important?
Everybody wants a bright, white smile that they feel confident flashing on all occasions – whether at home with friends and family, or professionally at work. Unfortunately, having perfect pearly whites isn’t something you can attain without proper maintenance. In addition to performing correct oral hygiene at home, which includes thoroughly brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing at least once a day, you also need to have regular teeth cleanings to get rid of the plaque and tartar that you can’t remove on your own.
Most people are safe having a professional dental cleaning just twice a year, but some are recommended to get cleaned every 2 or 3 months for optimal oral health. San Diego patients who have a history of periodontal bone loss, take certain medications, or have a medical condition that makes them more prone to gum disease, are recommended to have more frequent cleanings and evaluations to prevent inflammation and bone loss. Not only can regular teeth cleaning reduce the risk of gum disease, it also allows early detection of problems before they become severe; such problems include gum recession, cavities, or even oral cancer.
What Happens During a Teeth Cleaning?
Did you hear that Forbes recently ranked San Diego as our nation’s 13th healthiest city?! We understand your commitment to health and want to help you achieve your goals by being your partners in health. It’s our number one priority! We want to help you enjoy the beautiful outdoors and with your friends and family and enjoy all the amazing things that life in Southern California has to offer! That’s why we care so much about your oral health. We want to help you stay healthy and active by being your partners in health as your oral health specialists. Having a healthy smile can not only boost your self-esteem, but it also goes a long way to helping you be healthier overall, reducing your risk for life-altering medical conditions like heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even some cancers.
During your regular teeth cleaning, we will perform the following:
- Medical history review- The first step in a routine tooth cleaning or periodontal maintenance appointment is to review your medical history for any changes. We have found that a lot can happen in just a few months, so it is important for us to confirm any medications you may be taking, recent doctor visits or recent health concerns. Your health is our number one priority, so don’t be surprised if we ask about your overall health before ever even looking at your teeth and gums!
- An exam – After reviewing your medical history, Dr. Beck or one of our highly trained dental hygienists will perform an examination of your mouth. We’ll be looking for inflammation (identified by bleeding), gum recession, performing an oral cancer screening, evaluating your bite, checking for any decay (cavities) or cracks on the teeth, or any other changes in your oral health.
- Plaque and tartar – Plaque is the white or yellowish film that you’ve probably seen collecting on your teeth, especially in between them if you’re not diligent at thoroughly flossing every day. If this plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth, it turns into a rock-hard substance commonly referred to as tartar, that can only be removed by a dental professional using specialized instruments and equipment. Don’t worry; our gentle technique will painlessly remove all your build up and leave your teeth and gums feeling healthier than ever!
- Polishing – After the tartar is removed, the dental hygienist uses a slightly abrasive toothpaste on an electric brush to polish the teeth and remove any staining.
- Home care recommendations – After thoroughly rinsing the polishing paste off your teeth, our highly trained hygienists will review any modifications or additions for your daily home hygiene routine to help you ensure you’re armed with the best techniques available to maintain the most optimal level of oral health possible.
When is a Deeper Teeth Cleaning Warranted?
For San Diego patients who are starting to show the early signs of gum disease, a deeper cleaning of your teeth is necessary. This specialized cleaning will stop the disease in its tracks, and prevent further damage to your gums and jawbone tissue, which, if left untreated, could lead to tooth loss. Called scaling and root planing, this deep cleaning goes underneath your gums to clean plaque, tartar, and bacteria from the tooth roots. To ensure optimal comfort during the procedure, the gums and teeth are thoroughly numbed with local anesthetic (like Novocain). For patients who may be anxious about having the procedure done, Dr. Beck offers the following sedation options to ease your fears and help you be more comfortable during this much needed procedure:
- Anxiolysis- Anxiolysis literally means elimination of anxiety. This is accomplished by taking a medication similar to Valium or Xanax prior to your appointment. This is a very light level of relaxation and is ideal for patients who probably would tolerate the procedure comfortably without any medication, but desire a little something to take the edge off. Patients usually remain awake but relaxed, and will need someone to drive them home.
- Conscious Sedation- This form of sedation is sometimes referred to as ‘twilight’ sedation, and utilizes the same medication as anxiolysis, but at higher doses. This form of sedation is ideal for San Diego teeth cleaning patients with moderate dental anxiety. This medication puts the patient in a very deep and relaxed state, though he or she is still technically awake. Because the medications used to put you in conscious sedation are so strong, patients who choose this option will need to arrange for transportation home because they will be unable to drive themselves.
- Deep Sedation- Deep sedation is similar to the type of general anesthesia one might receive in a hospital operating room, and is administered only by a board certified Anesthesiologist. Deep sedation is great for those with the greatest dental fears because it ensures unconsciousness. You will be very drowsy when you awaken from its effects. Given these side effects, San Diego patients who choose deep sedation will not be able to drive themselves home after their deep cleaning and will need to have family member or friend transport them home.
Learn more about our sedation options here!
Why Choose a Periodontist for a Teeth Cleaning or a Deep Teeth Cleaning?
When it comes to your gum health, we know that you have several choices, including an array of regular dentists. However, did you know that only a periodontist like Dr. Beck is trained and certified in preventing, diagnosing, and treating periodontal disease? And if left untreated, or incompletely treated, could result in continued bone loss and, or tooth loss.
As a periodontist, Dr. Beck has had all the education and training of a regular San Diego dentist, plus 3 additional years studying periodontics and all the ways it can be treated, to help you prevent witnessing first-hand the devastating effects of gum disease. You can trust that she has invested in only the best tools and equipment to ensure only the best care for her patients. With all the benefits of seeing Dr. Beck for your regular or deep teeth cleaning, why would you trust your health to anyone else?
Why Work with Dr. Beck
One of the things that our San Diego patients say about our team is how friendly and gentle we are with all of our patients. Whether you’re coming in for gum surgery, dental implants, a basic teeth cleaning, or a deeper teeth cleaning if it’s been determined that you have the early stages of gum disease, San Diego patients can expect to be treated with compassion and professionalism at all times.
But on top of that, Dr. Beck is also one of the most respected and knowledgeable periodontists in the country. She has been recognized both locally and nationally for her leadership and service to multiple organizations that advocate for public health and safety, as well as volunteerism and community service. Her peers admire her passion for oral health, and its link to overall well being. Dr. Beck has also published multiple articles on the benefits and limitations of various procedures, and given lectures to educate other dentists and dental hygienists about oral health and advances in her field. She’s a proud San Diego native with a world-class education, having attended UCSD for her undergraduate degrees, UCLA for her extensive dental education, and 3 whole years at the University of Texas at San Antonio for her specialty training in periodontal surgery and dental implants, while also earning a Masters degree in Biomedical Science. San Diego patients are fortunate how dedicated she is to serving her beloved Southern California community to provide the best oral health care possible! If you’re looking to work with one of the most caring and respected periodontists on the West Coast, then make sure you contact us. You can also check out our Smile Gallery to see Dr. Beck’s impeccable work for yourself.
How to Get Started with Dr. Beck
Whether you need extensive dental work or you’re looking for a new dentist for teeth cleaning, San Diego patients should make sure to call our office. When you call, you’ll be greeted by one of our friendly and caring team members, who can help you schedule your first appointment. Your call is important to us, and we look forward to talking to you! If you have questions or concerns, we are happy to discuss them with you.
During your first appointment, Dr. Beck will talk with you about your medical history, any symptoms that you’re experiencing, and address any oral health concerns you may have. She will then perform an examination to get a better idea of what may be affecting the health of your teeth and gums. She may also need some specific x-rays to get more information on what’s happening internally and how best to help you. Once she has completed her assessment, she will explain her treatment recommendations and answer any questions you may have. As you may have gathered, your health is our top priority, and we are committed to helping you achieve healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime, for a healthier you!
To schedule your teeth cleaning consultation with Dr. Beck, call our San Diego office at (858) 635-6700.