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You may brush your teeth twice a day, floss once each day, and use mouthwash on a regular basis, and still not get rid of the plaque that is on your teeth. The reason is that plaque is something that your mouth creates all on its own, and the battle against plaque is one that never ends.

To keep plaque under control, you need to brush twice a day, floss every night, and see your dentist at least every six months for a thorough cleaning and exam. However, if you do not keep on top of your oral hygiene routine, plaque will build up, harden into tartar and could lead to gum disease, tooth loss and even damage to your jawbone. If plaque builds up, it can cause your gums to swell, allowing the plaque to work its way below the gumline. Once it is there, you will not be able to reach it with a toothbrush or dental floss. At that point, your dentist may decide to do a deep cleaning, if your gum disease is still in the early stages.

A deep cleaning is also known as scaling and root planing. The first step is simple: the dentist uses an instrument to scrape the plaque and tartar from the surface of the tooth above and below the gumline. In planing, the dentist will smooth out the root of your tooth so that it can reattach itself to your gums. The process is often done in two office visits, and you may need a local anesthetic. When the procedure is done, the dentist will schedule a follow-up visit to make sure that the area is healing properly.

If you have been experiencing problems with your gums, or you would just like to have a cleaning and exam to make sure you aren’t having any problems with plaque, our dentist, Dr. Eli J. Lawrence would love to see you! If you live in the Chicago, Illinois, area, you can make an appointment at Eli Lawrence, DDS by calling 312-236-9895. We look forward to helping you have a stunning smile!