Frequently Asked Questions
- Regular cleaning.
- A regular cleaning is known as a prophylaxis in dental terms. The American Dental Association describes a prophylaxis as removal of plaque, calculus, and stains from the tooth structures. This deposit removal is performed on tooth structures that have not been affected by bone loss; typically the crowns of the teeth. A regular cleaning is recommended for persons who do not have any bone loss, periodontal disease, or infection around their teeth. There should also be no bleeding, mobility of teeth, receded areas where the gums have pulled away from the teeth, or gaps where the spaces around the roots of the teeth are exposed. In other words, the mouth should be healthy, with no gum and bone problems.
- Root Planing.
- Root planing procedure removes bacteria and their toxins, tartar, and diseased deposits from the surfaces of tooth roots. Scraping or scaling is required the full length of the root surface, down to where the root, gum, and bone meet. Root planing is typically one of the first steps in treating gum and bone disease (periodontal disease). Periodontal disease is very common, but does not always have distinct symptoms. It is an inflammation and infections of the supporting structures of the teeth (gums, bone, ligaments, root surfaces) that eventually results in the loss of your teeth. You may notice that your gums bleed easily, that you have a bad taste in your mouth, that your gums appear red or swollen, that your teeth appear longer or have shifted. Or you may not notice anything at all.
- Periodontal Maintenance.
- If you have periodontal disease, you may require root planning to remove diseased deposits from the roots of your teeth. Other treatment, including surgery, may be required. After the disease process is under control, a regular cleaning is not appropriate anymore. Instead, you will require special on-going gum and bone care procedures, also known as periodontal maintenance to keep your mouth healthy. The American Dental Association describes periodontal maintenance as a procedure instituted following periodontal therapy which continues at varying intervals, determined by the clinical evaluation of the dentist, for the life of the dentition (life of the teeth) or any implant and includes the removal of plaque and calculus from the supragingival and subgingival regions, site specific scaling and root planing.
A periodontal maintenance procedure is not the same treatment as a regular cleaning even though a hygienist may perform both services. A periodontal maintenance procedure includes: gum and bone examination (periodontal probing around each tooth to check for bone loss, scaling and root planning, as needed, gums and picket irrigation with medicine, as needed. Typically an interval of three months between appointments is effective, but more frequent appointments may be needed. As in many other chronic conditions, successful long-term control of the disease and prevention of tooth loss depends on continual, and possibly life-time maintenance.
Tell us about:
- Your fears (if any) about dental treatment and going to the dentist. Many patients have fears of the dentist dating to childhood. Pain control and treatment options are constantly evolving. The things you fear from childhood may no longer exist or there may be new and improved (and less painful and invasive) ways of dealing with them. Or maybe you’re a candidate for dentistry while sedated. We have many fearful patients and we pride ourselves on our ability to find the right treatment solutions for very patient.
- Your overall health. We need to know if you’ve been diagnosed with a disease or a condition or if you are taking any medications (whether prescription or over-the-counter). Even diseases or conditions that are unrelated to the mouth may impact your treatment or require that we take a different approach. Please be honest with us. You are only hurting yourself if you don’t tell us all relevant facts about your health
- Your dental health and any concerns you may have. We really do want to know if you think you have a cavity, your teeth have become sensitive, or you think you feel a lump in your mouth or something else just doesn’t feel right. Remember, you and your dentist are partners in your dental health and by telling us about symptoms you have, you may help us make an early diagnosis.