Dental hygiene is essential in order to maintain healthy and beautiful teeth. Lack of dental hygiene or poor oral hygiene can cause complications such as cavities or periodontal disease. These conditions may lead to infections, tooth loss, bone atrophy and more serious complications, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic and renal issues, respiratory problems, neurological disorders, and preterm birth.
Bacterial plaque and dental tartar are the main causes of periodontal disease. There are many cases in which the patient has what appear to be near perfect teeth, but can have hidden problems as a result of this relentless disease that acts slowly, without obvious symptoms or pain to attract attention. Unfortunately, when the first signs of periodontal disease appear (such as inflammation, bleeding gums, or dental mobility), the disease is already established. In fact, the stage of evolution is advanced. The most effective approach in prevention, as well as early detection and the establishment of a quick and effective treatment plan, is to schedule regular check-ups at the dentist.
It is recommended that professional hygiene be scheduled regularly every 3-6 months. and specifically performed before starting any dental treatment, especially surgical procedures.
Good oral hygiene can be achieved and maintained in 2 ways:
- Personal, individual oral hygiene, performed daily, both in the morning and in the evening, at home, by the patient;
- Professional dental hygiene, performed at least every 6 months (or every 3-4 months for people who have implants, prosthetics, gum recession or other dental concerns) in the dental office, by specialized personnel using specific technology.
Professional dental hygiene includes the following services:
- Root planing, ultrasonic scaling and hand scaling, which remove tartar deposits;
- Polishing, which removes the small pieces of tartar left after descaling;
- Fluoride, which protects the teeth.
What are scaling and root planing?
Scaling and root planing are essential procedures for the health of the teeth and gums that are performed in the dental office and which remove the deposits of tartar from the tooth surface. Although we brush our teeth daily, sometimes it is not enough to keep them perfectly clean. Depending on the food we consume, bacterial plaque is deposited on both the teeth and gums. Over time, it can mineralize, forming hard deposits, known as tartar deposits or dental calculus.
Scaling removes these deposits both above and below the gum line. Root planing specifically targets the teeth roots, smoothing them and removing any plaque build up.
With today’s advanced technology, the scaling procedure is done not only by hand, but also by an ultrasonic device. This device, used with water, cleans the teeth with ease and efficiency. An additional benefit is that ultrasound is able to effectively sanitize the wisdom teeth, which can be difficult to keep clean.
After scaling and root planing, patients may feel a slight tenderness in the teeth and gums for 2-3 days.
Teeth polishing is both healthy and cosmetic. It helps remove plaque and deters bacteria from adhering to the teeth. It is a gentle, pain-free procedure.
Positive polishing aspects:
- Provides teeth with a beautiful aesthetic look;
- Smooths tooth surface, so less plaque accumulates;
- Produces the pleasant feeling of smooth teeth;
- Helps improve effectiveness of orthodontic procedures.
The last step of the cleaning process is a fluoride treatment. This treatment is used as a protectant for the teeth which helps fight against cavities for several months.
Fluoride varnish is painted onto the teeth with a small brush. The varnish will adhere to the teeth when in contact with saliva, so you can eat and drink immediately afterwards. The tooth surface will feel sticky- this will wear off gradually. It is recommended to leave the varnish on until brushing at the end of the day for maximum benefit.
At the end of the dental hygiene procedures, the hygienist will recommend which oral hygiene products to use daily at home – toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash and so on – depending on your specific needs.
Do not hesitate to contact us and book a professional cleaning session with your favorite hygienist here at Pacifica Dental!