Prevention

Gum Disease

Gum disease (Gingivitis) is the swelling or soreness of the soft tissue around your teeth. It is caused by bacteria found in plaque-a sticky, colorless film that forms in the mouth and sticks to all sides of the teeth

This initial stage of gum disease is reversible. However, if you do not remove plaque by brushing and flossing, it can build up and infect your gums, teeth and surrounding bone that supports them. This leads into Periodontitis. If left untreated, periodontitis can result in the loss of bone and teeth. Only a dental professional can diagnose and treat periodontitis.

The first signs of gum disease are not always easy to see and can be painless. The earlier gum disease is detected, the easier it is to treat. That is why it is important to see your dentist and dental hygienist regularly, and maintain good hygiene with proper homecare.

Ask your dental professional today how you can properly treat your oral health.

Cleanings

The purpose of cleaning your teeth is to remove plaque (soft, sticky, bacteria infested film) and tartar (calculus) deposits that have built up on the teeth over time.

Remember: If plaque and tartar aren’t routinely removed by your dentist or dental hygienist, it will build up, and over time lead to gingivitis. If still left untreated, it leads to periodontal disease, which results in bone loss and eventual tooth loss.

Dental Cleanings – What To Expect:

First, an ultrasonic instrument is used. It uses slight vibrations to knock larger pieces of tartar loose. It also sprays a cooling mist of water while it works to wash away debris and keep the area at a proper temperature.

After the larger pieces of tartar are removed, the hygienist will switch to finer hand tools (called scalers and curettes) to remove smaller deposits.

Once all of the surfaces are scaled, the teeth are polished. The purpose of polishing is to leave the surfaces of the teeth clean and smooth so that bacteria are unable to stick to them and you have a better chance of keeping the teeth clean during your regular home care.

The last step, if required, is the use of topical fluoride. You will need to rinse with fluoride for one minute.

Fluoride helps to strengthen the teeth since the acids from bacteria in dental tartar and plaque will have weakened the surfaces. It is best not to eat, drink or rinse for 30 minutes after the fluoride has been applied.

FAQs on Dental cleaning:

Q: Are dental cleanings painful?
A: While most patients experience very little discomfort or symptoms during teeth cleaning, exceptions may occur. Some discomfort may occur if you have active gum disease, recession of gums which leads to exposed root surfaces, or heavy buildup or tartar.
In order to minimize discomfort, your dental team can use nitrous oxide, numbing gel or in certain cases, local anesthetic.

Q: Will my teeth be sensitive after a cleaning?
A: Tooth sensitivity following a cleaning is very normal. It is usually related to the surgical cleaning. In some cases it’s a result of removing the tartar. As tartar builds, it coats teeth surfaces. The mere act of removing the tartar exposes the root surfaces and may cause temporary sensitivity. But if the tartar is left on the teeth, it will cause bone and tooth loose. Tooth sensitivity after cleanings can be minimized by using Sensodyne and very meticulous home care to remove plaque.

NIGHTGUARDS

If you ever wake up with a sore jaw, dull headache, or find yourself clenching your teeth, you may have a condition called “bruxism”. Bruxism is the habit of clenching or grinding the teeth. Many people are unaware that they grind/clench their teeth because they do it while they sleep.

Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism:

  • Headaches, earaches or toothaches.
  • A sore jaw joint.
  • Damage to dental restorations and loose teeth.
  • Tooth sensitivity with temperature changes and pressure (This happens when the enamel of a tooth is worn away to expose the underlying dentin).

One treatment for bruxism is the fabrication of a Nightguard (it’s worn while you sleep). A Nightguard sits over the teeth of either your upper or lower jaw and it prevents contact with the opposing teeth. This relieves some of the not so enjoyable symptoms of bruxism and pressures of grinding and clenching.