On average, by the time we reach our 50s we will have lost twelve of our permanent teeth. Seriously! This alarming statistical number, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), should shed light on any assumption that tooth loss only presents a challenge to older people or, where appropriate, an 18th century problem.
Even though tooth loss is often caused by traumatic events, such as vehicle accidents, injuries caused by sports or the result of some act of violence, the NIH is very clear: the two main reasons that cause tooth loss they are caries and periodontal diseases, as well as their precursor, gengivitis.
During the normal and daily course of the day, our teeth and gums are exposed to battery attacks, viruses and even parasites. All of these present a risk, but it is the presence of 'colonies' of bacteria that form a gelatinous layer on our teeth, known as dental plaque, which establishes the conditions for caries to form as well as periodontal disease, also known as gum disease.
While groups of bacteria consume the sugars in the food and beverages we eat, they secrete acid, which, if not removed, will eventually erode the natural defenses of our teeth, gums and lower gum tissues. There is only one way to fight dental plaque completely: regular professional teeth cleaning.
Think of a professional cleaning as if it were a super weapon against dental plaque, that is, as an arsenal that fights gum disease. Regular oral hygiene at home protects against plaque, but only for a limited time. Plaque builds up on the surface of the teeth and on the gum line, and it eventually becomes tartar.
A professional cleaning helps safeguard our permanent teeth, our health and our pocket.
Consider all the costs in terms of stress, money and time required for an endodontic, extraction or implant. In addition, periodontal disease can also adversely affect our general health, and it has been linked to heart disease, dementia, and even strokes.
Despite the fact that nearly half of adults age 30 and older have chronic gum disease, most of us simply need basic cleaning to prevent tooth decay and treat mild gum disease. For medium to severe gum disease, a deep cleaning is probably necessary to prevent serious infections and tooth loss.
It is highly recommended that dentists suggest to their patients that they have a basic cleaning every six months. Patients should consult their dentists about the frequency of basic cleaning, taking into account that if the patient has one or more risk factors that can lead to gum disease, basic cleaning should be done at least twice a year. and, in some cases, as frequently as four times a year.
According to the Mayo clinic the risk factors are:
⭕Bad oral habits
⭕Decreased immune system, caused by leukemia, AIDS, or chemotherapy
⭕Hormonal changes, such as those caused by pregnancy or menopause
⭕Abuse in the use of drugs or psychotropic substances
⭕Badly done dental restorations
⭕Problems with the way your teeth are positioned when you close your jaw
While sitting in what should be a comfortable reclining chair, the dentist will begin to examine your teeth and gums, determining where dental plaque is most prevalent and the gum health condition before beginning treatment.
The dental staff team uses a series of tools to clean the teeth, which include a small mirror, a variety of wedges or tooth scrapers (hook-shaped instruments), a tooth polisher with different sizes of heads, a small water hose and a suction hose. Scrapers help gently remove small, hard-to-remove tartar portions, which can be between the teeth, below the gum line, and some crown holes. If the hygienist takes a while with the scraper, this means there is more than just a little tartar buildup. You may feel a little sensitive or uncomfortable.
The hygienist uses polishers along with a flavored polishing paste, which tastes sweet but a little gritty. The hygienist then applies the polishing paste with the polisher to remove what is left of the tartar and literally polish the enamel. You will feel your teeth very smooth once you rinse your mouth.
The following is professional flossing. The hygienist flosses your teeth to make sure that small tartar remains do not get between the teeth or below the gum line. Gums that are sensitive may bleed a little. Throughout the cleaning process the hygienist will give you instructions on when to rinse your mouth to remove small debris, already tartar, and small granules of the polishing paste.
During basic cleaning, the hygienist will use a special instrument to measure the distance between the tooth and the surrounding gum tissue to help identify a condition called 'pocketing' (bag or pocket). A healthy pouch, that is, the space between the teeth and the gums, should be approximately 3mm or less. If the bag is 5mm or more, the dentist will most likely suggest a deep clean.
Deep cleaning is recommended when one of two instances occurs: 1. When the patient has not received a cleaning in a considerable period of time or has a tartar accumulation that requires a more rigorous cleaning; or 2. When the patient suffers from mild gum disease. If your dentist were to recommend a deep cleaning, it is very important that you carry it out to prevent future cavities and / or worsening of periodontal disease since both reasons may require more expensive and invasive treatment, tooth loss and even complications of your general health.
Deep cleaning requires two steps of scaling and scaling the tooth root, and is considered the highest level ('gold standard') of the Journal of Evidence Based Dental Practice for the treatment of chronic gum disease. During the deep cleaning process the scaling is more extensive, cleaning more deeply the surface of the gum line and always around the surface of the tooth. The hygienist could use a manual scaling tool such as the one described above, or some laser or ultrasonic instrument.
Root brushing is the most complete removal of tartar. Typically the hygienist uses an ultrasonic instrument that releases the plate from the tooth surface through vibrations, before manually using a tool called a curette (somewhat similar to a climber but with a very small and fine blade), which ensures that all the remains of plaque are removed.
To be sure that the bacterial infection has been properly treated, the hygienist will irrigate the entire area with an antibiotic medication. Even an oral antibiotic could also be prescribed. A second appointment will be necessary to ensure that the infection does not return and that the teeth and gums are healing as expected.
At TopDental the Dental Care of our Patients is our number one mission. As suggested in The Five Tips for the Best Dental Appointment, if there are concerns about pain, these should be discussed with the hygienist and dentist as there are more options to decrease pain.
Most patients prefer cleaning after their oral exam. We offer one-day cleaning (even deep cleaning) so you don't need to do two visits.
We offer all dental services with convenient hours at our locations in Fairfax, Manassas, woodbridge, and also offer patients payment plans.
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You can visit us at any of our 3 clinics located in Virginia