Cleaning appointments or "prophies" are the only way to ensure good gum health and avoid cavities...
In our practice, we refer to cleanings as "preventive maintenance" because we know that many, very important tasks go on at these appointments. Along with removing plaque and hard deposits from the teeth and under the gums, we provide many services that will help you prevent numerous other problems.
In most modern dental practices today, the maintenance visits are as much about the gums as they are about the teeth. 80% of adults over 30 years old have some stage of active gum disease! The direct cause of gingivitis (and more advanced gum disease) is plaque, the soft, sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms constantly on the teeth and gums.
Classic signs and symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, tender gums that may bleed during tooth brushing or flossing. Often times, once home care is increased and routine dental visits are held, gingivitis is reversible. If gingivitis is not treated, it will progress to a more severe gum diseases caused periodontal disease. Periodontitis is a chronic infection that, if not controlled, leads to loss of the supporting structures of the teeth. The loss can include; the formation of deep pockets between the teeth and gums, recession and bone loss. "Pockets" are perfect places for bacteria to multiply and hide from the best efforts of brushing and flossing. Most patients with periodontal disease have pockets are just too deep for your tooth brush bristles or floss to reach.
At your preventive maintenance appointment, we will do an oral cancer screening, check to see that every existing filling in your mouth is in good shape, carefully scrutinize x-rays, verify that no changes are taking place in the bone around your teeth, check for changes in your bite, tooth position, and evaluate tooth wear. We will take and compare intra-oral photos of your teeth and tailor our recommendations to what we find through all that.
Our hygienists also want to help you improve your home care in order to achieve optimal oral health. They will tell you about current information that may be changing and improving your health, and most importantly, we will look at you as a whole person, not just a dental patient. We care about your kids, your hobbies, your questions, your hopes and dreams. An important part of your 6 month visits will be catching up on the relationship of caring between us!
By seeing your dentist and hygienist regularly and following a good oral hygiene regimen at home, you are more likely to keep your mouth healthy and your teeth for a lifetime!