To safeguard your oral health there are several steps you need to take including, brushing and flossing, watching what you eat, and visiting our office for regular cleanings and exams. Having your teeth professionally cleaned can remove harmful bacteria and help us be aware of your oral health which can play a role in the steps we take moving forward. At Michael Regan, DMD Family, Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry, we value the health of our patients, and the work and education that is provided during your cleaning is vital to your long term oral health success.
A professional dental cleaning involves several steps that can not be achieved at home. Our team has the education and experience to understand areas of concern and how to remedy them.
Evaluating Gum Health
Gum disease, including gingivitis and other levels of active periodontal disease, is dangerous to your oral health. We will evaluate and determine your gum health through tracking and measuring your gum pockets. We measure the depth of the gum pocket on each tooth while also noting the symptoms of gum disease. Pocket depths exceeding 3mm is noteworthy and something that we will want to address. In addition, we take notes on these measurements to compare at future appointments and help us understand the direction that your gum health is headed. In addition, we take note of gums that are bleeding, red or puffy. Gum disease is an active bacterial infection that we will want to help you gain control of before it damages your gum tissue or bone.
Determine Level of Plaque
Plaque is a naturally occurring material, it is a blend of saliva along with any other food particles that are in your mouth. Plaque can settle along the gum rim, between teeth and in the crevices of your molars. Some patients have spots where plaque can get stuck and accumulate. It is in these spots that decay can develop. Ideally, patients remove plaque daily through brushing while it is still soft and easy to remove. Plaque that stays in place will eventually dry hard and is what we term tartar or calculus, it is much harder to remove. We may recommend dental sealants for patients who have deep grooves and areas that plaque can find it easier to hide. Dental sealants will serve as a barrier to guard the tooth.
Tartar is hardened plaque, it’s difficult to remove and should not be attempted on your own, as it is easy to damage your enamel. We remove tartar with a specific hand tool known as a scaler, or with a vibrating tool known as an ultrasonic scaler. The ultrasonic scaler uses a directed stream of water along with a vibrating tip to gently loosen and break the tartar away. It feels much like a powerwashing of your teeth. Some patients describe the sensation to be fascinating and others find it to be painful, we can provide pain relief with a local anesthetic if needed. Once the tartar is removed, we may find it necessary to smooth the roots in a process known as root scaling. By smoothing the roots, we will induce a healing response from your gum tissue helping close the gum pockets.
Once the tartar and plaque are removed, we finish your dental cleaning with polishing the teeth. This is done with a specialized toothpaste that is gritty and a rotary brush. Polishing should remove surface stains and help your teeth look brighter.
A dental cleaning often leaves our patients feeling better, they like the cleaner, fresher feel. Sometimes, we may recommend other preventive measures including dental sealants, a fluoride treatment, or ask to see you sooner for your next cleaning. In addition, we like to take this time to discuss brushing and flossing techniques and provide some guidance on improvement. Your oral health is important, not only to us, but for you!
Call our office at 503-654-8283 to schedule an appointment.