During your first visit with our office, a dental hygienist will assess the health of your gums and the amount of bacterial deposits to determine what type of cleaning will best suit your health needs. Three out of four adults are affected by periodontal disease at some time in their life. The best way to prevent periodontal disease is utilizing good toothbrush and flossing techniques. Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus (tartar) to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed.
Plaque: a thin, colorless, sticky film containing bacteria, which constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria produce harmful byproducts that irritate the gums, causing gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal disease.
If plaque isn’t removed daily, it will build up into a hard deposit called calculus. When plaque continues to form on top of the calculus, it can irritate the gums, and a pocket may develop between the teeth and gums. Plaque buildup can eventually destroy the gums and bone that support the teeth.
That depends on what is causing it. Often, bad breath results from less-than-optimal oral health, and sometimes people are not aware that they are not performing oral hygiene as effectively as they could. Our dentist and hygienists will be able to evaluate your oral health procedures and make recommendations for improvement; also, these professionals will be able to recognize any associated problems that might be contributing to an unpleasant mouth odor. Periodontal disease can be an underlying factor as well as sinus problems, stomach problems, certain foods and medications.
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good, daily tooth brushing and flossing techniques.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film that sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
While brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.
When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.
To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don't forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.
Next you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth by using short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. After you are done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.
If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call the office.
Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper technique. The following instructions will help you, but remember it takes time and practice.
Start with a piece of floss (waxed is easier) about 18" long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand.
To clean the upper teeth, hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert the floss tightly between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or try to snap it in to place. Bring the floss to the gum line then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance. Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Continue to floss each side of all the upper teeth. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.
To clean between the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefinger of both hands. Do not forget the backside of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.
When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.
There are several things that can contribute to sensitive teeth. Cavities, cracked teeth, exposed root surfaces, or worn tooth enamel are common causes.
The dentin contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When the dentin loses its protective covering of enamel, the tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to stimulate the nerves and cells inside the tooth. This causes hypersensitivity and occasional discomfort. Fortunately, the irritation does not cause permanent damage to the pulp. Dentin may be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity near the gum line.
Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing gums from receding and causing sensitive-tooth pain. If you brush your teeth incorrectly, are using the wrong toothbrush, or are too aggressive; gum problems can result. Ask your dentist or hygienist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine.
There are several products we can dispense here at our office to help with your tooth sensitivity. If over the counter products such as Sensodyne have not resulted in relief, we can provide prescription strength topical aids. Please see our products page for more details. We recommend you make an appointment with our office to evaluate the conditions causing the sensitivity.
Chlorhexidine gluconate: this is a prescription oral rinse prescribed by the doctor to help keep the bacterial count low in your mouth. It is usually given after starting periodontal treatment and after some oral surgeries. It is also prescribed to help control rampant decay.
Clinpro 5000: We prescribe and dispense this high-concentration fluoride toothpaste to help stop and prevent cavities in patients who are experiencing a high level of decay in their mouths. It is important to this product like a fluoride treatment by not eating, drinking or rinsing for 30 minutes after use.
MI Paste (w/ or w/o fluoride): MI Paste is a paste made with bio-available minerals, including calcium and phosphate. It is recommended in cases of sensitivity when using sensitivity toothpaste isn’t working. You put some on your finger and rub it into the sensitive areas daily. We also recommend putting it into your bleaching trays before and/or after whitening.
CG Dry Mouth Gel: This is a great product for people who suffer from dry mouth. This is applied as needed, especially at night. GC Dry Mouth Gel is designed to provide comfort from dry mouth. Do not use if you have a hydroxybenzoates allergy
Ortho Wash: Daily fluoride rinse which helps prevent tooth decay and white spots and decay around braces.
PerioMed: 0.63% Stannous Fluoride used for tooth decay, gingivitis, sensitivity Product may produce temporary surface staining of teeth. Xerostomia, mouth breathers, and other conditions where saliva flow is reduced are more susceptible. Adequate brushing may control these stains, which are not permanent and can be removed by your dental professional.
Xylitol Gum & Mints:
Arestin: We may place Arestin in periodontal pockets to help reduce pathogens in deeper pockets.
Xerostomia is the medical word for dry mouth due to decreased or absent saliva. This problem is quite common and is caused by a variety of medical conditions and medications. Helpful Hints:
Products available over the counter without a prescription:
Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, provided your mouth is kept clean. If your mouth is not kept clean, the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive, consult with your doctor. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.
There are so many products on the market that it may become confusing, and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.
Automatic and high-tech electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of patients. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes called Sonicare and Oral B.
Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle; this is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so be sure discuss proper use of these brushes with your doctor.
If used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses can reduce tooth decay as much as 40 percent. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.
Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus (tartar) to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.
Good nutrition plays a large role in your dental health. Brushing and flossing help keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong. However, a balanced diet will help to boost your body’s immune system, leaving you less vulnerable to oral disease.
How often and what you eat have been found to affect your dental health. Eating starchy foods such as crackers, bread, cookies, and candy causes the bacteria in your mouth feed on it, they then produce acids, which attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes or more. Foods that stick to your teeth or are slow to dissolve give the acids more time to work on destroying tooth enamel.
Sticky/slow to dissolve foods:
Sticky and starchy foods create less acid when eaten as part of a meal. Saliva production increases at mealtime, rinsing away food particles, and neutralizing harmful acids.
Foods such as nuts, cheese, onions, and some teas have been shown to slow growth of decay causing bacteria in the mouth.