There have been unanswered calls, deleted voicemails, ignored texts, & friendly reminders that never make it out of the envelope…we both know it’s been a while since you visited the dentist. Read more
What if we told you the more often you see your dentist, the less you’ll spend on dentistry? We know it sounds like a contradiction, but that is the power of preventive dentistry. Read more
Everyone knows about cavities & how they affect your teeth and your oral health, but you never hear very much about gum disease. What is gum disease? How can you protect your gums and teeth from gum disease? And what causes it anyway? Read more
Over time, plaque (a thick, bacteria-filled film) and tartar (a hard calcium-based build-up) can build up on your teeth & eventually lead to tooth decay. While regular brushing & flossing at home can help prevent this buildup, Read more
Despite what some people seem to think, a hygienist’s greatest desire is not to scold patients. A dental hygienist’s greatest desire is to see healthy mouths free of tooth decay and dental disease. Read more
A periodontist is a fully trained dentist who specializes in treating periodontal disease (advanced gum disease) and the placement of dental implants. Read more
Recent studies have revealed that there is a strong correlation between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Gum disease, which is referred to by dentists as periodontitis, is when the space between your teeth and gums becomes infected, creating pockets of bacterial infection Read more
Most dental patients come into the office twice a year for a teeth cleaning. However, some patients are told that they need to get a deep cleaning instead, and that they need to see us more often than twice a year. While a regular teeth cleaning is a routine procedure, it’s important to know that a deep cleaning is very different and is actually a treatment for an oral disease.
There is more than one type of dental procedure that may be casually referred to as a cleaning. For example, there is a regular cleaning & then there is what is referred to a deep cleaning. It’s important to understand that there is a big difference between these procedures & implications that each of these procedures have when it comes to your oral health.
Regular Cleaning or Prophylaxis
A regular teeth cleaning, which is called prophylaxis by dental professionals, is what most people think of when they think of going to the dentist for a checkup. Prophylaxis involves removing plaque, calculus & stains from teeth. (Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on teeth as a byproduct of bacteria feasting on the food you eat. Calculus, also known as tartar, occurs when plaque & minerals in your mouth harden.) A dental hygienist or a dentist uses a specialized cleaning device, called an ultrasonic scaler, to remove plaque & calculus. This cleaning occurs only on the visible part of the tooth, known as a the crown.
Regular teeth cleaning is only recommended for patients who have generally good oral health & do not suffer from bone loss or gum problems (bleeding, recession, infection, etc.)
Scaling & Root Planing or Deep Cleanings
Root planing is a procedure that involves removing tartar, bacteria, toxic deposits from the root of a tooth, all the way down to where gum & bone meet. While it is sometimes casually referred to as a “deep cleaning”, you should know that this treatment is quite different from prophylaxis. This procedure is required as a treatment for periodontal disease or periodontitis (commonly called gum disease, though it also affects the bone).
Many people can have periodontal disease & not even know it. Symptoms of the disease include bleeding gums, bad breath, teeth that look longer due to recessed gums, & swollen or red gums. However, many people do not notice any symptoms at all. That’s why it may come as a surprise when your dentist recommends scaling & root planing instead of a regular cleaning. It’s important to understand that this procedure is vital to getting periodontal disease under control & avoid future tooth loss, though other procedures including surgery may be required to treat the disease.
Once you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease & have undergone scaling & root planing, periodontal maintenance is what you can think of as taking the place of prophylaxis in your dental care routine. Rather than just addressing the just crowns of your teeth as in prophylaxis, periodontal maintenance also cares for your tooth roots, gums & bone. In other words, think of it as cleaning & maintenance for the tissues affected by your periodontal disease. The frequency of your periodontal maintenance appointments depends on your individual oral health condition & will be determined by your dentist.