Even the best brushers and flossers should have biannual cleanings with a professional hygienist. The cleaning will provide your teeth with a chance to be free of plaque or tartar that is often difficult, or even impossible to remove with toothbrush and floss alone. Depending on an individual’s needs there are several different types of cleanings we are able to perform. If your mouth requires a more extensive cleaning, we may need to schedule you for a longer appointment.
For patients with varying degrees of gum disease, a deeper cleaning is needed. Since gum disease affects the bone that surrounds the tooth under the gums, the bone shrinks away under the gums and leaves behind a “pocket”. As the bone shrinks, the pocket increases in size making the space impossible to reach with a toothbrush or floss. The hygienist will, therefore, take periodic readings to check your bone level and aid in the prevention of further erosion. This area must be cleaned manually by the hygienist or the gum disease will progress and cause tooth loss. These “deep cleanings” are a treatment called scaling and root planing.
We recommend regular check-ups and exams at least every six months. Typically this includes a thorough review of your mouth by our hygienist and Dr. Dial. This, along with new x-rays once a year, helps us track any changes in your mouth and catch any issues before they become true problems. It also gives us the chance to inspect for any signs of other oral conditions such as periodontal disease, excessive tooth wear, joint problems or cancer.
Typically sealants are used on molars as they erupt around age 6 and again at age 12. There are very deep grooves and fissures on the chewing surface that can easily trap food and bacteria. Placing a sealant in the grooved area protects the teeth from debris which can cause a cavity. Sealants can be a very effective way to protect a child’s teeth through childhood and adolescence, when oral hygiene is sometimes neglected.
Some patients find that they grind their teeth during the night. This can lead to problems with the jaw joints and will cause damage to the teeth. While the underlying cause of the grinding cannot always be corrected, a nightguard will lessen the effects while the grinding takes place. To make your custom nightguard, an impression of your mouth will be taken and we will either send it to a lab or, often times, construct the nightguard in our lab here at the office.
Dental injuries can, and often do, occur during athletic events. A proper mouthguard will not only protect your teeth, but will fit your mouth more comfortably and will enable you to participate in sports with little distraction. While you can get them over-the-counter , the best mouthgaurd with the most comfortable fit, and that offers the most optimal protection is custom made to fit your mouth by a dentist.
Periodontal treatment is the specialized cleaning of your teeth and gums to help control the bacteria that cause gum disease. Gum disease is caused by the germs (bacteria) which live in your mouth. The bacteria stick to your teeth, irritate the gums and make them swollen and often times bleed.