It’s Time for a Spring Cleaning: For Your Teeth!

It’s Time for a Spring Cleaning: For your Teeth!

The first day of Spring was March 20th, and we have a promotion just in time! If you are a New Patient, come in today and get a Spring Cleaning (prophylaxis cleaning, checkup exam and x-rays) for only $99!

Good oral hygiene not only will help prevent gum disease but can also help remove many of the surface stains that discolor your teeth, giving you a whiter and brighter smile. Regular dental care is not expensive, but neglecting your teeth is. With a regular dental checkup and professional cleaning, you will have a great looking smile and fresh breath all through the day and night. The American Dental Association recommends scheduling a professional dental cleaning and checkup every 3 to 6 months, because it takes that long for new cavities to form.

Professional dental cleanings can help remove tartar buildup, plaque and surface stains. This is an important aspect in preventing gum disease and reducing the risk of dental problems and tooth loss.

Caring for your teeth can impact your overall health as well. Studies have shown that when you start caring for your teeth, you may be able to reduce the risk of:

  • Diabetes,
  • Heart attack,
  • Stroke,
  • Kidney and lung problems, and
  • Certain types of cancer.

Regular care of your teeth and gums can also help prevent the need for more expensive dental work like cavities, root canals or extractions.

Call us today to schedule an appointment to get your teeth and gums checked as the offer is only available for a limited time!

Different Types of Dental Cleanings

There are different types of dental cleanings depending on the current state of your mouth and how long it has been since you have last been to a dentist.

If you have not been to a dentist in a long time, your first visit might be a Full Mouth Debridement, which is a quick cleaning so the doctor can diagnose any problems you may be having. If you have periodontal issues, (or gum disease), or if you have not been to the dentist in a long time, you may need to get Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing (also known as a “deep cleaning”). Afterwards, you will likely be scheduled for Periodontal Maintenance visits every 3 to 4 months. If you regularly go to the dentist and do not have periodontal issues, you will likely be scheduled for a prophylaxis cleaning, or “prophy,” every 3 to 6 months.  Below we will describe in more detail each type of cleaning.

Prophylaxis Cleaning & Checkup

A dental prophylaxis is a procedure that is used to clean the teeth in a thorough manner. This treatment process is important for preventing tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease.

What does the treatment involve?

A Prophylaxis is usually performed by the hygienist during a general checkup visit to the dentist. During this procedure, the area above the gum line is thoroughly cleaned to rid it of calculus and plague, and the teeth are polished (supragingival cleaning). X-rays are usually taken during this visit as well, which help show the extent of gum damage and this can also enable the dentist to identify areas that may require attention in the future.

  • X-rays – The dentist may recommend taking of x-ray before or after the checkup process is completed. This can give a complete picture of your oral health and treatments may be recommended based on this.
  • Cleaning – Although regular brushing and flossing can help prevent plaque and tartar buildup to an extent they may not be able to do so completely. You need professional cleaning from a dentist to thoroughly remove plaque from places that are hard to reach in the mouth.
  • Polishing – Stains may make your teeth look discolored and regular polishing can enable them to look clean and bright.

How often should a patient get a cleaning and checkup done?

Prophylaxis is recommended two times a year (every 6 months) for both children and adults, but if the patient is prone to calculus and tartar buildup then the treatment is recommended to be performed every 3 – 4 months.

Make an appointment twice a year for a thorough checkup so that you are able to detect and prevent any type of gum or tooth disease. Remember prevention is better than cure and early detection of any dental problem can help save time and money.

Why are annual appointments necessary?

The reasons that two annual appointments with dentists are important are:

  • The dentist may be able to check for dental problems that you may not feel or see
  • Early signs of gum decay, tartar and plague buildup are detected
  • Treatment is recommended based on the checkup

Patients may require more frequent appointments if they suffer from any kind of gum disease or if they have a weak immune system or if they have family members with a history of gum and oral disease.

Even if you brush regularly and floss each day, it is recommended that you do not miss on the appointments with the dentist. The early signs of most health problems are visible in the mouth and the dentist may be able to identify them easily during a regular checkup. This can enable you to get preventive treatment before the disease becomes severe.

What happens in a dental checkup?

At each dental checkup the dentist may:

  • Examine the gums, teeth and entire mouth
  • Asks questions about any oral health problems you may have experienced since your last visit. If you are visiting the dentist for the first time they may ask you about your overall health and any problems pertaining to your teeth and gums.
  • Look for signs of oral disease and oral cancer, diagnose any problems and make treatment recommendations.

After the dental checkup process is completed the dentist may recommend things that you need to do at home to keep the teeth and gums clean. Do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have about brushing and flossing.

You may be surprised to know that most people are not aware of the right way to brush and floss their teeth and gums and this can seriously compromise their overall oral health. If oral problems are left untreated for a long period of time they may become difficult and expensive to treat. You may be able to avoid all this when you are regular with your dental appointments.

Periodontal Maintenance

Periodontal maintenance is a type of dental cleaning procedure that is performed by the hygienist to thoroughly clean the teeth to halt the progression of periodontal disease (or gum disease). Bacteria from plaque can cause inflammation and irritation in the gums. The bone and gum tissue gets completely destroyed and this can even lead to infection in other parts of the body.

Benefits of Periodontal Maintenance

  • Tartar removal – Plaque buildup and tartar, both below and above the gum line can cause periodontal disease, if it is not treated properly. Regular brushing and flossing may not be able to completely solve the problem and a dentist requires specialized equipment to remove the tartar.
  • Fresh breath – Bad oral health is often characterized with bad breath caused by bacteria on the gums. When plaque and calculus are removed, it can also help eliminate bad breath.

Periodontal maintenance is recommended every 3 – 4 months so that you can keep the teeth in good health and halt the progression of gum disease and periodontitis.

Full Mouth Debridement

A Full Mouth Debridement is a dental procedure that is used to remove extensive buildup of plaque and tartar. The thick deposits of plague and tartar make it difficult for the dentist to ascertain the extent of tooth decay and gum disease. This procedure is common for patients that have not had their teeth and gums cleaned by a dental professional for a long time.

After the extensive deposits of plague and tartar are scrapped away the dentist may be able to examine the teeth and gums properly and evaluate your oral health. Procedures such as scaling and root planing may be recommended depending on the assessment.

Scaling and Root Planing

Severe gum diseases are treated through a procedure called Scaling and Root Planing, also called a “Deep Cleaning.” Gum disease can lead to inflammation of the tissue resulting in separation of the gum from the root surface. This creates space known as periodontal pockets. Bacteria accumulate in these pockets over a period of time and create an infection, which is difficult to clean. If the disease is not treated, these pockets will grow bigger and your teeth will become loose and eventually may fall out or have to be extracted.

Dental Scaling and Root Planing is the most common procedure used by dentists to treat gum disease. If the periodontal disease is moderate and not severe the dentist will recommend Scaling and Root Planing, rather than periodontal surgery. This type of Deep Cleaning can help prevent the disease from getting worse.

What does the treatment involve?

Scaling and Root Planing is a procedure performed by the hygienist or periodontist, whereby they perform a thorough cleaning to remove dental plaque and tartar. Before starting the treatment process, they will use a periodontal probe to ascertain the extent of gum damage and measure the size of the periodontal pockets. Topical anesthesia or oral sedation may be used to prevent discomfort during the treatment. This procedure is non-surgical but is different from the conventional dental cleaning. Two types of scaling instruments are used in this procedure to remove the plaque from the root surface:

  • Curette and dental scaler – These hand held specialized instruments are used to manually remove the plaque from teeth and gums.
  • Ultrasonic instruments – The ultrasonic instrument uses a vibrating metal tip that effectively cleans the plaque. The tartar is chipped and a water spray washes it away easily.

The procedure is performed in “quadrants” or quarters of the mouth. All four quadrants (upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right), may be performed in one visit or may be spread out over 2 or 4 visits. After the Deep Cleaning, the dentist will recommend the patient come in for regular Periodontal Maintenance visits every 3-4 months.

Whatever type of cleaning you need, Morris Park Dental is here for you! Call us today to schedule an appointment at (718) DR-SMILE (718-377-6453)!