HEALTHY ADULT CLEANING (PROPHYLAXIS)
The American Dental Association labels a prophylaxis as a scaling and polishing procedures to remove coronal plaque, calculus, and stains. This type of cleaning is recommended for persons who do not have any periodontal disease, bone loss, or infection around their teeth. There also should not be bleeding, mobile teeth, or recession of the gums where it has pulled away from the teeth and exposed the root surface.
If you have periodontal disease, you may require root planing to removed 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 no longer appropriate. Instead, you will require special on-going gum and bone care procedures known as periodontal maintenance to keep your mouth healthy. Typically, an interval of 3-4 months between appointments is effective for maintaining periodontal health. Intervals longer than this between each maintenance appointment would allow for toxins to accumulate and irreversible bone loss and damage to occur.
DEEP CLEANING (SCALING AND ROOT PLANING – SRP)
A deep cleaning removes bacteria, tarter, and diseased deposits from under the gums. This type of meticulous and therapeutic cleaning is one of the first steps to treating gum and bone disease (periodontal disease). Scaling is required the full length of the root surface, down to where the root, gum and bone meet. Periodontal treatment promotes healing of the gum tissue and its reattachment to the teeth.
Fillings are done to remove decay and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because new material fills the hole that decay left. These days most teeth are treated with bonded tooth colored composite resin fillings. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly, If not treated, decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth would need root canal treatment or an extraction.
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth, to the front of the tooth. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, or for cosmetic purposes. First the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding and hold it. A gel is applied to micro etch the tooth surface, and a primer/bond agent is applied so the material adheres to the surface. Then the material itself is placed on the tooth and hardened with intense light. The composite resin material is shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish as a last step.
This is used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn’t brush, but because they’re too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These will develop cavities over time, and you don’t want that. So the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.
NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENTS
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for ones teeth. All structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium (gum disease) may be as follows: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these signs may mean something is wrong. With the proper care, however, it may be possible to return them to a healthy state. This is where appropriate gum treatments come in. If you’re having a problem, come in and see us so we can take care of it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, along with local antibiotic agents. If the gum disease gets too severe it may need to be treated through surgery or extraction. This is why it is important to get it treated at the first sign of a problem.
This is a focused beam of X-Ray particles through bone which produces an image on special film, showing the structure through which it passed. This gives the familiar black and white images that doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems. X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process, and not to use them could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an X-ray of the whole tooth, and supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.
In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take X-rays using 50-70% less radiation versus conventional X-rays. Coupled with computer monitorying, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of any dental concerns