Here's What Your Dentist Is Looking for During Your Cleaning

Even if you brush and floss regularly, you still need to visit your dentist for regular dental cleanings. These regular cleanings not only polish your pearly whites to remove food stains and scrape away stuck-on tartar, but they also give your dentist an opportunity to find dental issues before they turn into major oral health problems.

At La Michoacana Dental Clinic in Houston, our dental experts use your routine dental cleaning as an opportunity to look for dental decay, early signs of gum disease, and many other oral health issues that benefit from early intervention.


A cavity, also referred to as tooth decay, refers to a hole in the enamel of your tooth. The hole is caused by the acid produced by plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that’s constantly forming on your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing helps control plaque, but professional dental cleanings and dental examinations are needed to keep cavities under control.

The good news is that adults have fewer cavities now than they did 40 years ago, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. However, 92% of adults ages 20-64 have cavities in their permanent teeth. Without proper treatment, cavities can lead to an infection that may require a root canal or a tooth extraction.

Your regular dental cleanings may help find cavities before they turn into major dental problems. And with the right care, you may even be able to reverse the decay and restore the eroded enamel.

Changes in gum health

If you’re not diligent about brushing and flossing your teeth, the sticky film of plaque on your teeth hardens to form tartar, also known as calculus. It can be especially difficult to remove plaque from along your gum line, which can affect gum health and lead to inflammation and bleeding, which is a condition referred to as gingivitis.

When left untreated, gingivitis can lead to gum disease, which is an infection in the tissue that helps hold your teeth in place. This infection can lead to tooth pain, sensitivity, and even tooth loss. 

During your dental cleaning, we’re evaluating the health of your gums looking for any signs of gingivitis or gum disease. If tartar buildup under your gums is extensive, we may provide a deep cleaning to improve gum health and prevent or heal gum disease.

Broken or damaged teeth

Your dental cleaning also gives us an opportunity to thoroughly evaluate your teeth to look for cracks and chips. Any changes in the structure of your tooth weaken it and may lead to a more serious break or increase your risk of infection. 

Crooked, misaligned teeth

You may consider your desire for straighter teeth more of a want than a need, but that’s not how we look at it. During your dental cleaning, we’re also looking at how the placement of your teeth affects your bite. Misalignment may alter your bite in such a way that it places too much stress on some of your teeth, which may cause them to wear down a lot faster than the others.

We’re also looking at how hard it is to clean your crooked teeth. If your teeth overlap, you may not be able to remove plaque or food debris in between, which increases the risk of cavities and gum disease. 

All the information we gather during your dental cleaning helps us design your personal dental plan aimed at maintaining or improving your oral health. Your plan not only includes any special procedures, treatments, and/or tools you can use at home to keep your teeth healthy, but also a schedule for how often you should come in for your dental cleanings. 

If you’re due for your dental cleaning, contact one of our two convenient La Michoacana Dental Clinic locations by phone or online today to schedule your appointment.

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