Cleanings & Prevention
Preventive of Dental Problems is through a cooperative effort by the patient, dentist, and dental staff to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures.
Prevention of dental disease starts at home with good oral care and a balanced diet. It is continued in the dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health.
Prevention includes –
- Regular dental exams.
- Timely x-rays.
- Special Preventive Procedures – Sealants and Fluoride.
Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy, confident, beautiful smile.
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays (Radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumours, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Mouth cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
- Old Fillings: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Professional Dental Cleaning:
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. Professional dental cleanings (dental scaling and prophylaxis) are very important in preventing Gum Disease. It is recommended once every six months. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
- 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.
Dental Radiographs (x-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Bone loss
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumours
- Decay between the teeth
- Developmental abnormalities
- Poor tooth and root positions
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources such as radiation from the Sun, radiation emitted by using mobile devices etc.
Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs.
- A full mouth series of dental x-rays (which is usually good for 3-5 years) is recommended for new patients.
- Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.
Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. It starts at home by eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
- 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.
- Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
- Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. 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.
- Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss. 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.
- Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
- 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.
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.
Use other dental aids as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist: Interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, etc., can all play a role in good dental home care.