New patients receive a comprehensive examination which includes a screening for oral cancer, gum and bone disease, blood pressure, and systemic disorders. A routine oral exam is performed on established patients to determine any changes in dental and health status since the previous visit.
Your gum tissue is measured with a fine instrument ruler to calibrate in millimeters pocket depth between the tooth and the connective gum tissue around the tooth. Pocket depths more than 4 millimeters, could indicate disease and infection. The deeper the pocket, the greater the extent plaque bacteria collects and infection in gum disease develop.
X-rays are taken as needed.
Tooth scaling and root planing occur as needed.
Routine cleanings also include a professional polishing (Prophy) that removes only the soft sticky plaque that is above the gum line.
Dental plaque is a biofilm, usually a pale yellow, that develops naturally on the teeth. Like any biofilm, dental plaque is formed by colonizing bacteria that attach themselves to the tooth's smooth surface.
Once sugars are introduced to plaque, it turns into a tooth eating acid that sits just above the gum line. If regular oral care isn't standard, the acid will start eating at the teeth producing cavities and the plaque will cause gum disease.
Plaque that is allowed to sit for a prolonged period of time can cause cavities, gingivitis, and other problems in your mouth. If it's left longer than that, serious dental procedures may be required to restore your decaying smile.
In order to floss properly, begin by taking approximately 18 inches of floss and winding one end a few times around your middle finger. Leave approximately 6 inches of floss between your hands and wrap the opposite end of the floss around your other middle finger once. Put the floss between your thumbs and index fingers and hold tightly.
As you insert the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion, curve the floss in the shape of a C once it reaches the gum line. Move the floss up and down against the side of the tooth in a gentle manner, making sure you work the floss into the adjacent tooth before moving onto the next space. Before you move onto the next space, wind a little floss around your middle finger in order to get a new section of floss to work into your gums.
Fluoride is an important part of healthy tooth development and will help prevent cavities.
Fluoride can provide protection from tooth decay in a couple ways:
1) It helps to strengthen the tooth's enamel so it can repel the acid that is formed by plaque.
2) Teeth that have been damaged by plaque can repair and re-mineralize themselves with the help of fluoride.
Fluoride is incapable of repairing already formed cavities, but it does assist in reversing low levels of tooth decay and helps in preventing new cavities from forming.
Proper brushing of teeth can be done in three steps:
1) Brush teeth gently using a circular motion along the outside and inside of the tooth surface while holding the brush at a 45 degree angle.
2) Make sure to brush each tooth individually and to use the front half of the brush in a circular motion vertically behind the front teeth.
3) Place the brush against the top of your teeth use a gentle back-and-forth motion to brush. After brushing all your teeth be sure to brush your tongue in order to remove odor-producing bacteria.
Tooth scaling removes plaque, tartar and hard, crusty calculus deposits, which are loaded with bacteria.
Sub-gingival tooth scaling is necessary when plaque and tartar are detected below the gum line.
Sometimes after a tooth scaling, the roots of a tooth must be planed in order to create a smooth surface for the gum tissue to re-attach to. In addition to the planing, your dentist may also prescribe medication in order to control infection and pain.