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A new wave of technological advances has been improving the level of dental care and dental hygiene services offered at dentists' offices around the country.
An article in the Decatur Daily draws attention to some of the newest tools that may be used by hygienists during a routine dental checkup.
Traditionally, hygienists have used metal scalers to remove plaque and calculus from the surface of a patient's teeth.
But recently, there has been an increase in the use of powerful ultrasonic instruments that use sound waves and blasts of water to rid the teeth of tartar and bacteria.
These tools offer dental care professionals the opportunity to address dental health concerns that exist below the gumline and may not be accessible by ordinary scalers.
Dental hygiene consultant Linda Drevenstedt told the news provider that these advanced instruments help dentists and hygienists combat gum disease - which is increasingly seen as making the body vulnerable to other illnesses.
"That's why before you have major surgery, your doctor will tell you to go to the dentist and make sure you don't have any serious gum disease," she commented.
The American Dental Association recommends visiting a dentist for a checkup twice a year.
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