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Here's What Your Dentist Is Looking for During Your Bi-Annual Cleaning

Brushing, flossing, and maintaining good oral hygiene are great for keeping your teeth strong and healthy. But did you know that the American Dental Association recommends that everyone — kids, teens, and adults — get professional dental cleanings twice a year?

Bi-annual dental cleanings are the only way to ensure that all the bacteria and plaque buildup on your teeth is removed. Nothing beats that fresh-from-the-dentist clean feeling, but your bi-annual dental exam includes more than just a dental cleaning. 

Kohei Morita, DDS and our expert team at Morita Dental clean your teeth, but we also perform a comprehensive dental exam at your appointment. From deep cleaning to screening for common oral diseases, your dental exam is an important part of your whole-body health care plan.

Here are a few things we look for during your dental cleaning:

Plaque and tartar

Your mouth naturally contains bacteria and plaque, a clear, sticky film that’s constantly forming on your teeth. Brushing and flossing remove plaque, but if you miss a spot, that plaque can harden into tartar. 

Once plaque becomes tartar, it can’t be removed by tooth brushing alone. At your dental cleanings, we examine your teeth for signs of plaque and tartar buildup. We use special tools to remove buildup on the surfaces of your teeth, between teeth, and even below your gum line.


Cavities are small holes that form in the enamel surface of teeth. Your teeth are strong, but bacteria can erode enamel and create decay. When cavities start forming, they might be so small that you don’t notice them. However, decay gets worse if left untreated, eventually compromising the integrity of your tooth.

We check your teeth for signs of cavities, and we may take X-rays to determine how much the decay has progressed. If Dr. Morita and our team identify cavities or other minor flaws, we often recommend dental fillings to strengthen and repair your teeth. 

Gum disease

Gum disease affects half of American adults. It’s a progressive disease that begins with gingivitis, or mild gum inflammation. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which may eventually lead to tooth loosening and tooth loss.

At your dental cleaning, our team evaluates your gums for signs of gum disease. Healthy gums fit snugly around your teeth, but gums affected by gum disease may appear puffy or red. Symptoms include bleeding, inflammation, and tenderness. If we identify signs of gum disease, we can recommend treatment to minimize or even reverse damage.

Other oral health issues

Gum disease is the most common oral health problem affecting American adults, but it isn’t the only disease for which we might screen. Oral cancer screenings include a visual exam of your cheeks, gums, and tongue, and are often performed alongside your dental cleaning.

As part of a pediatric dental exam, Dr. Morita may assess your child’s need for orthodontic treatment, like Invisalign®. Children and adults alike can benefit from preventive treatments, like fluoride or sealants to protect against cavities and decay.

Regular dental cleanings are an important part of your health care. Schedule your next exam at Morita Dental by calling our friendly team at 408-775-7770 or booking an appointment online now.

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