Seeing your Dentist and Dental Hygienist routinely can significantly impact the overall health of your mouth and body. Preventative care allows for minimally invasive treatment at early stages of oral disease, followed by routine maintained of care to arrest any future oral concerns.

ORAL HYGIENE CARE

Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being. It has been proven that there is a definite connection of poor gum health to risk of heart attack and stroke. Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop. In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. These include:

  • Brush thoroughly twice a day and floss daily.
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks between meals.
  • Use dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste.
  • Rinse with a fluoride mouth rinse if we advise you to do so.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.

The following are indications of good oral hygiene:

  • Your teeth are clean and free of debris & plaque.
  • Gums are pink and do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss.
  • Bad breath is not a constant problem.

DENTAL CLEANING

A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Cleanings should be performed every six months or more often if recommended, to prevent excessive plaque buildup. Plaque left untreated can lead to unhealthy gums (periodontal disease), tooth decay, boneloss, and loss of teeth. A routine dental cleaning may include scaling, root planning and polishing.

Scaling: This is the process of removing plaque and tartar from all tooth surfaces in a variety of methods, depending on the amount of plaque and tartar. Dental hygienists traditionally perform scaling by hand. However, new and advanced technology has lead to more modern methods such as electric scalers. This sophisticated tool allows dental cleanings to be performed more efficiently and in less time. To achieve best results, both electric and manual scaling methods are combined for dental cleanings.

Root planing: This is the process of cleaning pockets in the gums to treat and prevent gum problems. Root planing is used to treat moderate to advanced gum diseases. When the gum is inflamed, gum pockets become deeper and they may lose connections to the bone inside. The deeper the pockets, the easier it is for plaque deposits to become trapped and worsen gum problems. Root planing involves inserting a pointed dental tool called scalers into the gym pockets to clean plaque buildup. Depending on the degree of difficulty, root planning may take several appointments and a local anesthesia may be used to prevent pain.

Polishing: This is the last step in tooth cleaning and involves finishing the surface of the teeth to make them shiny and clean. There are two kinds of polishing: air polishing and rubber tip polishing. Air polishing works by spraying high pressured water mixed with baking soda paste onto the surface of your teeth. This powered water washes away residue and plaque while baking soda removes stains. Rubber cup polishing uses a low-speed and gentle handpiece that contains a polishing paste made of abrasive ingredients ideal for removing stains.

NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENT

The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for ones teeth. All structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium include: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these may be a sign of problem. With proper gum treatments, however, it may be possible to return gum tissue to a healthy state. If you’re having a problem, come in and see us so we may treat it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, along with local antibiotic agents. If the gum disease gets too severe it may need to be treated by a specialist with surgery or extraction. This is why it is important to have it treated at the first sign of a problem.

Even if you’re not experiencing any particular problems, it’s important to see your dentist at least twice a year for exams and professional cleanings. This schedule of professional dental care will help to ensure optimal oral health.

At these exams, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums for signs of oral diseases that require treatment, such as tooth decay and gum disease. These issues can be addressed with conservative measures when they are diagnosed early in the disease process. When your dentist is examining your teeth and gums every six months, it’s more likely that issues will be identified in the early stages.

Furthermore, your dentist will also examine your oral cavity for signs of cancer, such as lesions, lumps or cysts, at these appointments. The prognosis for oral cancer is much more positive when the disease is localized at diagnosis.

Your home oral hygiene regimen is the foundation of a healthy smile, but brushing and flossing will only take you so far toward that goal. You also need to have professional cleanings by a dental hygienist every six months. The hygienist can reach areas of your smile that are hard for you to clear thoroughly on your own. These cleanings also remove tartar buildup, which cannot be eliminated by brushing and flossing alone.

Your unique body chemistry influences your rate of plaque and tartar accumulation. Patients who seem to experience more rapid tartar buildup may want to consider getting cleanings even more frequently, such as every 3-4 months.

Patients should be brushing twice each day and flossing daily. Your technique matters, too. You need to brush for two minutes to get the maximum benefit. Use a timer to make sure that you’re hitting this goal, or consider switching to an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer.

You should also take care to brush using just the right amount of pressure. Too much can harm your teeth, while too little may not be effective in removing plaque. Angle your brush along the gumline to disrupt calculus formation in that area.

If you have a dental emergency, you should contact our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to be seen. Our schedule is flexible enough to accommodate such emergency appointments. If the emergency occurs outside of normal business hours, it can be helpful to have a dental first aid kit on hand at home so that you can temporarily manage pain or store a dislodged tooth. Of course, you should always use common sense and head to your local emergency department if you’re experiencing severe symptoms.