Why are dental cleanings so important?
The clinical term for a dental cleaning is oral prophylaxis, which means “prevention of oral disease.” During the dental cleanings, our hygienists look for early signs of periodontal disease, dental decay, and other changes in the soft tissue of the mouth that could lead to oral cancer.
A cleaning helps prevent against periodontal disease by removing bacteria-laden plaque and tartar build-up both above and below the gum-line. Our hygienists will also instruct on the best way to brush and floss in order to promote and maintain good oral health. These customized dental cleanings are recommended every six months, and might include the gentle use of a Cavitron (ultra-sonic dental cleaning instrument), gluten-free prophy paste, or pumice, depending on the patient’s needs and preferences. Ozone products might also be used and / or recommended, as well as coconut oil pulling, xylitol, or essential oils.
Our hygienists are friendly, caring, and highly trained dental professionals who expertly evaluate the health of teeth and gums. Our dentists will then work with the hygienist to review her findings and make recommendations regarding the patient’s oral wellbeing.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease (or gum disease) manifests itself when plaque and tartar are allowed to build up at the gum line. Plaque and tartar are full of bacteria, which can then cause an infection of the gums. If this infection is allowed to progress, it can lead to abscesses as well as gum, bone, and eventually tooth loss. When the infection advances to the jaw-bone, this is known as periodontitis and can be quite serious.
The condition of existing dental work can also affect periodontal health. Broken fillings, decayed teeth that trap food, and ill-fitting crowns or bridges can all negatively impact gum health. Mercury from fillings or metal / nickel crowns can also lead to inflammation and periodontal breakdown.
What are the symptoms of Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease can seem very benign, but it is important to be familiar with some of the common signs:
- Bleeding gums when brushing and / or flossing.
- Swollen, tender, or red gums.
- Persistent bad breath.
- Teeth feel loose or like they’re separating / drifting.
- Receded gums – gums that have pulled away from teeth.
- Teeth don’t fit together the same way when chewing.
- A change in the way partial or full dentures fit.
What can be done?
The key to treatment of periodontal disease is through early detection and prevention. It is critical that we treat this condition early, because the tissue and bone that are destroyed unfortunately cannot be restored. Some patients may take excellent care of their teeth and gums (brushing and flossing twice a day and more) but still get periodontal disease. Even the most diligent home-care can still allow regular bacterial plaque and tartar build-up. Sometimes, periodontal disease is a symptom of a greater systemic health problem, and patients are therefore referred to naturopaths, nutritionists, or functional medicine doctors for a more comprehensive health evaluation. At our office, we may recommend an appointment with Denise Schneider. Denise is trained in using the EAV BioScan device, and can assist in discovering the root causes of periodontal disease and tooth decay.
At our office, we may recommend Laser Therapy to assist with gingival and/or periodontal health. Using our Diode Laser, this technique is a noninvasive method for killing the bacteria that is difficult to eliminate with hand instruments or ultrasonic tools. Laser Bacterial Reduction (LBR) or Laser Assisted Periodontal Therapy (LAPT) is performed by our hygienists, and aims to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Ozone therapy is also utilized in the form of water lavage and gas insufflation.
At our office, we are passionate about preventing oral disease… and strive to recommend products, therapies, and techniques that have a holistic approach. We have several fluoride-free and toxic-free oral-care products available for purchase, including teeth whitening systems, electronic toothbrushes and water-flossers, rinses, pastes, ozone oils, and supplements aimed at supporting oral health.