DENTAL HYGIENE

DENTAL HYGIENE

PROFESSIONAL DENTAL CLEANING

At Seawall Dental a professional dental cleaning will be performed by one of our Registered Dental Hygienist. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:

  • Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
  • Periodontal Examination: Our dentists or hygienists will evaluate pocket depths, bleeding and inflammation to make a diagnosis of your current periodontal health

Home Care

Tooth brushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste. 1.    Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums. 2.    Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth. 3.    Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth. 4.    Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath. We also recommend electric toothbrushes. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.

Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

  1. Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
  2. Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
  3. Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.

Floss holders are recommended if you havedifficulty using conventional floss.

Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you. Our dentists and hygienists will recommend certain dental tools specific to your individual needs: Interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, etc.

Periodontal Disease

DIAGNOSIS

Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during a periodontal examination. This type of exam should always be part of your regular dental check-up.

A periodontal probe (small dental instrument) is gently used to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums. The depth of a healthy sulcus measures three millimeters or less and does not bleed. The periodontal probe helps indicate if pockets are deeper than three millimeters. As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets usually get deeper.

Your dentist or hygienist will use pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, tooth mobility, etc., to make a diagnosis that will fall into a category below:

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Plaque and its toxin by-products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed.

Periodontitis

Plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). As calculus and plaque continue to build up, the gums begin to recede from the teeth. Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and become filled with bacteria and pus. The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily. Slight to moderate bone loss may be present.

Advanced Periodontitis

The teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed. Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and may be lost. Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present.

 

TREATMENT

Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Periodontal disease progresses as the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth!

If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings.

If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) will be recommended. It is usually done one quadrant of the mouth at a time while the area is numb. In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planing). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.

If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean. Your dentist may also recommend that you see a Periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone).

 

MAINTENANCE

It only takes twenty four hours for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to turn into calculus (tartar)! Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention.

Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings (periodontal cleanings), usually four times a year. At these cleaning appointments, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and calculus that is difficult for you to remove on a daily basis will be removed from above and below the gum line.

In addition to your periodontal cleaning and evaluation, your appointment will usually include:

  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
  • Examination of tooth decay: Check all tooth surfaces for decay.
  • Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, cheek tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Oral hygiene recommendations: Review and recommend oral hygiene aids as needed. (Electric toothbrushes, special periodontal brushes, fluorides, rinses, etc.)
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

Good oral hygiene practices and periodontal cleanings are essential in maintaining dental health and keeping periodontal disease under control!

Laser Hygiene Therapy

We are constantly trying to improve the standard of care that we provide to our patients in this office.

Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) can affect up to 80% of adults and is a growing problem in our society.  Recent evidence in medicine has demonstrated a positive link between those with gum disease and overall health issues including positive links with heart disease, lung disease, certain cancers, osteoporosis ( bone loss), strokes and diabetes.

The knowledge that infections in your gums ( Periodontal disease) can be linked to a greater risk for other problems in your health has given us reason to not only mechanically remove the irritants and diseased tissue in your normal cleaning but to additionally address the bacteria that cause gum disease.

With these new ideas we are now recommending that all patients have their tissue or gums decontaminated prior to their hygiene appointments for 3 reasons:

  • To reduce bacteremias – Bleeding gums will happen many times during your cleaning and this will allow bacteria to flood into your bloodstream, where the can settle in weakened parts of your body such as in knee or hip replacements, or weakened heart valves where they can cause harm.  We often are unaware of these issues until they do creep up unexpectedly in our lives.
  • Prevent cross-contamination – During the normal cleaning process we can inadvertently infect one area of your mouth from another in your mouth through normal instrument usage in the two areas of your mouth.  Decontamination helps prevent the spread of bacteria from one area to another.
  • Kill periodontal disease bacteria – this is a preventative process where we are able to prevent breakdown of the gums (Loss of attachment) prior to it happening.  Often by the time we recognize that gum disease is occurring in an area it is past the point of full recovery.

Laser Bacterial Reduction is painless, takes 5-10 minutes time, and offers no side effects.  We highly recommend that you take advantage of this service as part of your cleaning.

The cost for Laser bacterial reduction is $25 and like our cancer screening is not presently covered by dental insurance.  Unfortunately, dental insurance coverage is almost always trailing the leading edge of high tech health care.

 

PERIOWAVE LASER HYGIENE THERAPY

PeriowavePeriowave™ is a painless, non-invasive procedure that can significantly improve treatment outcomes when added to scaling and root planing (SRP). Using a powerful process known as photodisinfection, it inactivates many of the bacteria and toxins that SRP leaves behind.

Periowave™ is a non-antibiotic therapy that, unlike antibiotics, quickly destroys gram negative bacteria without promoting the development of bacterial resistance. Periowave™ does not exhibit many of the issues commonly associated with antibiotics, such as allergic or sensitivity reactions, opportunistic infections such as oral yeast infections, or the requirement to take prolonged doses of medication. As Periowave™ utilizes a cold (non-thermal), low-power diode laser as the activating light; it does not cause damage to root surfaces or surrounding tissues. There is no heat involved in this process.  Visit the PERIOWAVE site here.