dental hygiene (CLEANING)

Routine Dental Hygiene

professional dental cleaning is a cleaning treatment performed by a Registered Dental Hygienist to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums.  An essential part of your dental checkup, Professional Dental Cleaning is used to remove dental plaque and other irritants from the oral cavity.  As these deposits build on your teeth, they form dental tartar, which contributes to most dental problems.  Professional Dental Cleaning is an effective procedure in keeping the oral cavity in proper health and halting the progression of gum disease. Professional Dental Hygiene can be performed at our office.

The benefits include:
 
  • Plaque removal

Tartar (also referred to as calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can result in serious periodontal problems. Unfortunately, even with a proper home brushing and flossing routine, it can be impossible to remove all debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dentist or hygienist using specialized dental equipment is necessary to catch potentially damaging buildup.

  • A healthier looking smile

Stained and yellowed teeth can dramatically decrease the aesthetics of a smile. Prophylaxis is an effective treatment in ridding the teeth of these unsightly stains.

  • Fresher Breath

Bad breath (or halitosis) is generally indicative of advancing periodontal disease. A combination of rotting food particles (possibly below the gum line) and potential gangrene stemming from gum infection, results in bad breath. The routine removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria at our facility can noticeably improve halitosis and reduce infection.

It should be noted that advanced gum disease cannot be completely reversed, but prophylaxis is one of the tools Dr. Griffith can use to effectively halt its progression

probing

Before starting with the actual cleaning, the dental hygienist will use an instrument called a periodontal probe to measure the gingival sulcus (area around your teeth and gums) to see if you have any pocketing. A probe is usually long, thin, and blunted at the end, and there are markings inscribed onto the instrument for accuracy and readability. The tip of the instrument is placed with light pressure of 10-20 grams into the gingival sulcus which is an area of potential space between a tooth and the surrounding tissue. Probing is of extreme importance because ideally, a normal healthy sulcus will measure no more than 3mm deep, if this measurement surpasses 5mm, you have an active periodontal pocket which needs to be accessed and thoroughly cleaned, in this case, your Hygienist or Dentist will probably need to prescribe you a deep cleaning procedure. Without probing it is impossible to have an accurate diagnosis of your gums.

healthy gums
are my gums healthy?

Healthy gums have certain characteristics: they are normally pink coloured and make perfect contouring of the teeth, also, they do not bleed while brushing or flossing.

If your gums are swollen, bright red or purple coloured, if they bleed spontaneously or when you brush or floss, if they feel tender or painful to touch, if you have loose permanent teeth, if you feel a change on the fit of your teeth while biting, or if you experience bad breath, you should see your dentist the sooner you can!

Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease):
Gingivitis:

Gum disease is an infection caused, most commonly, by plaque (a sticky film composed mainly of bacteria and food debris). Plaque forms continuously in our teeth and should be removed daily by good brushing and flossing techniques, to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. If not removed, these bacteria end up producing toxins which irritate and swell your gums and may cause gum bleeding. This first stage of gum disease is called

Gingivitis and in this stage there is no commitment to the bone, making the disease totally reversible after treatment and adequate daily oral hygiene made by the patient.

Although not every case of Gingivitis will progress to Periodontitis, all cases of Periodontitis are preceded by Gingivitis.

periodontitis

If not treated, Gingivitis can progress into Periodontitis.  In this case, the disease is not restricted to the gums, but is already damaging the bone and supportive tissues surrounding the teeth. There is the presence of periodontal pockets, where plaque and calculus will accumulate, making it impossible to adequately clean this area by brushing or flossing. 

Periodontitis can be controlled, by adequate treatment, but the damage to bone and supportive tissues cannot be corrected anymore.  At this more advanced stage of disease, your Hygienist or Dentist will prescribe you a deep cleaning procedure.

Click here to learn more about DEEP CLEANING PROCEDURES 

The regular dental cleaning appointment for an adult usually will take 45 minutes (3 scaling units), but it is important to be aware that, depending on the conditions of a patients oral hygiene, and on the regularity of his/her cleaning appointments, it can be necessary to schedule more time or additional appointments to effectively remove all debris, bacteria and deposits from your teeth and gums.  So, make sure you visit your dentist regularly and are always up to date with your dental check-ups and cleaning visits to avoid problems and the necessity of a longer treatment. We recommend that professional dental hygiene should be performed twice annually as a preventative measure, but should be completed every 3-4 months for periodontitis sufferers. Remember, regularity is the key to prevent oral disease and decrease the chances of infection, disease and longer treatments.