Professional teeth whitening is a special process that only your dentist can administer. It involves fitting your mouth for special trays. These trays contain a safe whitening agent that whitens your teeth while you wear them. However, a dental cleaning can also whiten your teeth temporarily by removing superficial stains. Dental cleaning isn’t a substitute for a whitening procedure, but it can give you a radiant smile. Here’s why:
What happens during a dental cleaning?
Before your dentist works their magic, a dental hygienist will perform a physical examination of your mouth. Using a small mirror, they will check your teeth and gums looking for gingivitis (gum disease), plaque, tartar and cavities. Then, going deep between the teeth and around the gum line, the hygienist uses a small instrument called a scaler to rid your mouth of plaque and tartar. This is followed by a deep cleaning using a high-tech electric toothbrush. The toothpaste used for the deep cleaning is a little grittier than what you’re used to at home. Although it is grainy, it’s not rough on your teeth. This toothpaste gently scrubs your teeth to remove any plaque and tartar that the scaler missed. Next, you’ll receive an expert flossing that gets deep between your teeth. The hygienist will give you a liquid afterwards so that you can rinse out your mouth before giving you a fluoride treatment. Fluoride protects your teeth against cavities for several months which is why it’s important to visit your dentist every six months for cleanings.
Once the cleaning is complete, your dentist will do a comprehensive exam of your mouth. Your dentist is trained to look for defects and irregularities on your teeth, gums and tongue. During the exam, your dentist looks for:
- Early signs of cavities
- Tooth decay
- Damaged teeth and cracks
- Signs of gum disease like inflammation and periodontal pockets (when the supporting tissue and bone around the tooth are destroyed and form pockets where food and bacteria becomes trapped)
- Other dental work like fillings, root canals and crowns to make sure they are still intact
- Early signs of throat or mouth cancer
- Cysts or growths
- Teeth positioning, bite and spacing
- Signs of teeth grinding or clenching and overall health of the temporomandibular joint
- Signs of bleeding and inflammation on the tongue, roof of your mouth or floor
- The overall health of your jaw and facial bones
Once per year, X-rays will be taken to give your dentist an in-depth look at your entire mouth.
What do dental cleanings do?
Dental cleanings offer many aesthetic benefits and improve your health by:
- Preventing cavities, gum disease and tooth loss through the removal of plaque and tartar build up
- Freshening your breath by using special rinses and toothpastes designed to kill the bacteria that causes bad breath
- Giving you a brighter smile by removing built-up surface stains caused by tobacco use, and drinking and eating certain foods like coffee, wine and candy
- Boosting your overall health by lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke
How do you get white teeth in between dental cleanings?
Between dental cleanings it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene. There are many ways to do so that will keep stains and tooth discolouration away.
- Brush and floss: You must brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. You should also use mouthwash after brushing to remove any plaque and tartar that the floss and your toothbrush missed. The Canadian Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for 2-4 minutes at time.
- Stay away from food and beverages that stain your teeth: Keep your consumption of tea, soda, candy, red and white wine, coffee and foods that are high in acid to a minimum. Stick to water whenever possible because it won’t destroy your teeth or cause tooth decay.
- Do not use over-the-counter whitening strips: Although over-the-counter whitening strips are Health Canada approved, they are made in a one-size-fits-all manner. The whitening agents they contain may be too much for your mouth and can lead to gum inflammation. Also, the strips may only whiten the centre of your teeth since they aren’t designed to penetrate the natural grooves of each tooth.
- Professional whitening procedure: Only your dentist can professionally whiten your teeth. Using a specialized procedure, your teeth can be whitened up to eight shades. Plus, this procedure is long-lasting if you maintain good oral health.
If you’re looking to get a thorough dental cleaning or whiten your teeth, please contact Dawson Dental for more information or to book an appointment. Your oral health is important and we’ll help you achieve great results.