One of the most beneficial and simplest things you can do to help maintain good oral health, in addition to daily brushing and flossing, is to schedule professional dental cleanings at least twice per year. These cleanings are beneficial for a number of reasons and can leave your mouth feeling refreshed while also brightening your smile.
Yet, a brighter smile doesn’t necessarily mean your teeth will be whiter after each cleaning. They may, however, appear a slight shade lighter, depending on the level of staining or tartar build up that can be easily removed.
What to Expect During a Dental Cleaning
Dental cleanings involve a number of steps that are all beneficial. The focus is on hygiene, not whitening, so you can expect your dental hygienist to work in every reachable area of your teeth and gums to achieve the best cleaning possible.
In general, here is what occurs. The hygienist will
examine the interior of your mouth, looking for signs of cavities, loose fillings, tartar build-up, receding gums, and other conditions. Then, using a dental tool called a scaler, built-up plaque and tartar, which often appears yellowish in color and sits at the gum lines and between teeth, are removed.
Next comes the brushing and polishing with an electric
wand-type toothbrush with a professional-grade paste. Your hygienist will usually finish up with flossing and, in some cases, a fluoride treatment.
Once this cleaning is complete, your mouth will not only feel fresher, but your teeth will appear brighter. Yet, the goal of cleanings is not to see how much whiter the hygienist can get your teeth. It is more focused on helping you maintain your teeth and a healthy mouth overall.
These professional dental cleanings benefit your oral health and appearance in the following ways:
- Removes the build-up of plaque and tartar, which can lead to cavities, gum disease, and even tooth loss
- Identifies any problem areas that need attention
- Kills bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath, leaving a freshness to your breath
- Minimizes or removes surface stains created by the food and beverages you consume, such as coffee or tea, or from tobacco usage.
Does Dental Cleaning Make My Teeth Whiter?
The answer to this question can be both yes and no. Built up tartar and plaque, along with some minor surface stains, can be removed during the cleaning process and may result in slightly lighter colored teeth.
The no part of the answer is that brighter and lighter doesn’t necessarily mean your teeth will appear whiter. To achieve that type of result, you may want to consider asking your dentist about the availability of other options to help with this goal.
How Can I Get Whiter Teeth?
Scheduling regular dental cleanings and exams can help you maintain good oral health in the long run. They can also brighten teeth by removing tartar and plaque and reducing or eliminating some minor staining. To really whiten your teeth, however, you’ll need to consider specialized teeth whitening treatments.
Today you have access to a variety of teeth whitening options over the counter, and these include whitening toothpastes, mouthwashes, whitening strips, and entire kits. While these can work, they do take longer and may not achieve the full results you are looking for to enhance your smile. Also, if directions are not followed exactly, you may experience pain or sensitivity during the process.
Your other option is to undergo professional teeth whitening which will be conducted or supervised by your dentist. There are several benefits for going this route, and these include the following:
- Provides for personalized treatments
- Offers higher safety for teeth and gums
- Uses higher grade, professional strength whitening agents
- Takes less time to achieve results
- Creates a more even whitening across teeth that is long-lasting
Professional teeth whitening options include in-office whitening, take-home whitening kits, or a combination of these two. The in-office option usually involves your dentist applying a whitening agent, followed by heat and light. You may require one or more of these sessions, depending on your goals.
For the professional take-home whitening, your dentist will provide you with a customized tray or mouthguard that is thin and lightweight. Each one of these will contain just the right amount of bleaching agent for your needs. You can choose to wear the trays during the day or at night and then follow back up with your dentist periodically to evaluate results.
Schedule a Dental Cleaning and Learn More About Teeth Whitening Options Today by Contacting Lifetime Dental Health
Regularly scheduling dental cleanings and exams can help you maintain a healthy mouth and also brighten your smile. Get started today by calling the Columbus office of Lifetime Dental Health at 614-321-1887 to schedule your next appointment. Dr. Richard Barry and his team will also answer any questions you may have about professional teeth whitening and help you get started with your own customized take home mouthguards or trays.