Skipped A Few Dental Checkups? You May Need Dental Debridement

Professional dental cleaning is a routine part of your dental checkups. But perhaps dental checkups aren't a routine part of your life. Skipping appointments with your dentist is never a smart idea since it often means that more effort is required at the next appointment. This is the case with dental cleaning. If it's been a while since your teeth received this professional attention, you may require a more involved type of cleaning called debridement. 

Plaque Becomes Tartar

Plaque (a sticky bacterial biofilm that forms on the surfaces of your teeth) can be shifted with a toothbrush. If it's not removed, it hardens and is now considered to be tartar. Tartar can't be removed with brushing at home—it's simply too strong. The bacteria in plaque and tartar are cariogenic in nature, meaning they can cause cavities. Plaque and tartar can actively be corroding the dental enamel beneath it. This is why it's important that plaque and tartar don't linger on the tooth's surface. 

Stripping Tartar From Your Teeth

But perhaps your tartar has had ample opportunity to linger. Your dentist will check the health of your dental enamel during your checkup, identifying any cavities that may have formed. But that tartar must be removed to prevent this entirely avoidable corrosion of your teeth. Debridement will comprehensively strip this tartar right off your teeth. Don't be concerned—although it can be more in-depth than many professional dental cleanings, debridement doesn't hurt.

Brushing and Scaling

The dentist or dental hygienist will use a special gritty toothpaste to clean your teeth, which will help to break up smaller, softer accumulations of plaque and tartar. The remaining tartar is firmly embedded and needs targeted action. An ultrasonic scaler is the preferred tool, and this produces sonic vibrations that can crack the tartar while leaving the dental enamel underneath perfectly intact.

Stubborn Patches

Once the tartar has been cracked, it can often be rinsed away. Particularly stubborn patches may need to be scaled off the tooth's surface with a periodontal curette tool—which is now possible due to the ultrasonic treatment. This intensive removal of your tartar may leave your teeth feeling sensitive, but this will quickly subside. 

Debridement can often be the only option when a significant amount of tartar has developed. Although the process isn't complicated, it's not strictly necessary if you maintain proper dental hygiene and attend your regular checkups—which your dentist may point out.

Reach out to a dental service such as Family Dentistry Of Woodstock to find out more.