Preventative Care

Perhaps the most important part of dental care is preventative care or oral hygiene. Professional dental cleanings along with good home care can keep you from having most of the problems that restorative and periodontal dentistry were created to treat. Tarter, a hard build-up that accumulates on your teeth, cannot be removed without dental instruments. The tarter that we all form gives bacteria a place to thrive and do its destructive work. By removing the tarter we remove the bacteria that can destroy bone and infect gum tissue. The presence of Plaque is also detrimental. Plaque is a beginning stage of the tarter and can cause gingivitis (gum infection). If the plaque is not removed daily it can cause decay and lead to periodontal disease. It is estimated that 80% of Americans have periodontal disease and is #1 reason that Adults lose their teeth. The constant infection associated with gingivitis and periodontal disease is also detrimental to your overall health. Please go to the links page to find interesting articles about this important problem.

What level of cleaning do you need?

    A one-step cleaning – Once you are in a routine you will need a regular cleaning or re-care Prophylaxis about every 6 months. Most insurance plans will pay for a regular cleaning 2 times each year. Even if you do not have insurance it is important to keep the calculus or tarter from building up on tooth surfaces. A thorough exam at each appointment will also allow you to stay ahead of small problems that can become much bigger if left untreated.

    A two-step cleaning – If you have not had a professional cleaning in a few years or build up tarter quickly, you may need a two-phase cleaning. Also called a debridement, this is done when tarter has built up covering tooth surfaces so an exam cannot be completed or is causing moderate to high inflammation. Gums in this condition are considered to be in the initial phases of periodontal disease. The first visit is a tarter removal appointment. This allows for plenty of time for your care professional to remove stubborn tarter so gums can heal. Then a second appointment is set in two to four weeks for a more detailed scaling and polishing. The healing time between appointments allows for healing and gives your care provider important information on how well your gums are recovering from the inflammation caused by the tarter.

    A three-step cleaning – This is also called a periodontal scaling. Periodontal scaling, also known as deep scaling or Quadrant scaling, is necessary when tarter builds up under the gums. Bacteria hide under and around the tarter deposits and give off acids that initiate an inflammatory response. This will in turn cause the loss of bone that supports the teeth. Bone loss is the most common reason for adult tooth loss. Removing the tarter will help to halt the bone loss process. An anti microbial irrigation may also be used to ensure the tater and the bacteria clinging to it are washed away and not left to irritate and infect the gums and surrounding bone. Once you have active bone loss you must always stay on the cleaning schedule prescribed by your care professional. Bone does not grow back.