Regular professional teeth cleaning is an important part of keeping the mouth in order. Like a car engine teeth do a lot of work and need regular maintenance.
Teeth at first form plaque which can turn into calcified deposits right at the gum line. These calcified deposits may show up even with meticulous cleaning. They are referred to as calculus or tartar. It is rough and can harbour many kinds of bacteria. If left unchecked these calcified deposits can lead to gingivitis, making the gums inflamed and prone to bleeding. This is reversible by improving home care like brushing and usually a professional cleaning. If this calculus is not removed the deposits can work their way underneath the gums and cause them to shrink so the root(s) become exposed.
The supporting bone around the teeth can irreversibly dissolve away from the irritation “getting long in the tooth.” This is called periodontitis. The teeth may become very sensitive to temperature. They may become loose. They may become infected. They may fall out in the long term. They may change position. Note that smoking and hard liquor can accelerate this process. This is why brushing your teeth is so important.
Some people have much better resistance to this process of deterioration than others. This is primarily genetic. Having dentures at an early age may be something that runs in families. But by getting teeth cleaned at regular intervals can prevent this from happening. We try to tailor the frequency of the visits according to the rate of calcium deposits as well as a person’s susceptibility. This is the kind of decision that gets figured out after a few visits over months and years and having a regular hygienist. A person may need to see the hygienist at intervals of every 3 to 4 or 6 to 9 months or even yearly depending on the already mentioned factors. If there has already been a degree of damage the hygienist may need to use anesthetic to clean thoroughly below the gum lines.
Hygienists are professionals that have taken a 2-year specialty training program in this field.
With their continued care and a proper diet a person may never need dental work and may only ever see the dentist for check-ups once a year.
If there has been too much damage the person may need the services of a periodontist. This is a dentist who has had an additional two years of training in looking after the hard bone tissues and the gums that support the teeth. Sometimes they graft bone as well as gum tissue to repair defective areas.
Gum recession can be also be caused by brushing too hard, excessive tooth grinding, smoking, hard liquor, and other abusive subsatneces.
Calculus/tartar build up with subsequent gum and bone loss.