Professional Dental Cleaning
Even the most conscientious patient cannot remove every deposit of plaque that accumulates in the mouth by brushing and flossing daily. A good professional dental cleaning is essential to maintaining good oral health. For this reason, we encourage our patients to maintain good oral health by having an exam and cleaning every six months.
What is Plaque?
Plaque is a film that forms on the teeth containing a colony of living bacteria and food debris. The bacteria colonizing in the area produce acids that break down tooth structure and inflame the gums.
What is tartar?
Tartar, also known as calculus, is caused by continuous accumulation of minerals, originating from saliva, on plaque. Calculus is firmly attached to the tooth surface and forms above and below the gum line causing gum disease.
During your checkup, we will gently but thoroughly clean your teeth and treat your gums as needed. We will also polish your teeth to remove stains and any residual plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
Professional Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planning)
When a patient has bone loss, recession, "deep pockets", and/or has not had a cleaning for a prolong period, tartar and bacteria colonize the area. This can cause the progession of periodontitis and potentially cause tooth loss. If we simply clean above the gumline with a "routine cleaning", two potential problems arise. One of the common problems is continuous bone loss and tooth loosening. The second problem is the development of a periodontal abscess, which is caused by the conversion of the bacteria in the mouth.
Scaling and root planing is non-surgical removal of tartar and plaque deep within the gums. After the plaque and tartar have been removed, the tooth roots will be smoothed in an effort to reduce the amount of future tartar and plaque that can attach to them. Common symptoms of gum disease should NOT go unchecked or untreated.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the tissues and can affect bone that hold your teeth in place. In the early stages, bacteria-rich plaque builds up, irritating the gums so they may swell, redden and bleed easily when you brush your teeth. If left untreated, the plaque turns into hard tartar that brushing can’t remove, and this can cause the tissues to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that can trap infection. Gum disease can result in sore gums, bad breath or can even cause tooth loss.
Who’s at risk?
It’s not just older people who get gum disease—teens can get it, too. Genetics can play a part in how likely you are to develop gum disease. Other risk factors include the use of tobacco, some medical conditions like diabetes and certain medications.
How can I tell if I have it?
Here are some of the warning signs of gum disease:
- red or swollen gums
- tender or bleeding gums
- bad breath that won’t go away
- sensitive teeth
- gums that are pulling away from the teeth
- painful chewing
- loose teeth
Keep in mind, though, that even if you don’t notice any symptoms, you may still have some degree of gum disease. Some people don’t show obvious signs and, in others, gum disease may affect only certain teeth.
How do I prevent gum disease?
The good news is that gum disease can be prevented, and even reversed in the early stages. The key to preventing gum disease is to keep your mouth clean and healthy. One way to help keep gum disease at bay is to use the Sonicare power toothbrush. It’s proven superior at removing hidden plaque from hard-to-reach areas yet is gentle on teeth and gums. It’s also been clinically proven to reduce gingivitis in only two weeks.*
*Holt J, Sturm D et al. Data on file, 2007.