"I just love the hygienists at the office. They are so gentle and nice. I love getting my teeth cleaned."
Dental Cleaning means the professional cleaning you can only receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. A dental cleaning includes scaling, polishing and fluoride treatment. These three important steps are outlined in detail below.
This is the removal of plaque and tartar from all tooth surfaces with different types of scaling being used in relation to the amount of plaque and tartar. With larger deposits that have hardened on, it can take some time to remove these, just like trying to remove baked-on grime on a stove that has been left over a long time. The number of times you will need to return to Dr. Melissa depends on how widespread your case of periodontitis or gum disease is. Localized cases can be treated in a single scaling session. However, cases spread throughout the mouth generally take several visits to treat.
Polishing is done using a slow speed handpiece with a soft rubber cup that spins on the end. Prophy (short for prophylaxis) paste - a special gritty toothpaste-like material - is scooped up like ice cream into the cup and spun around on the teeth to make them shiny smooth.
The purpose of the scaling and polishing is basically to leave the surfaces of the teeth clean and smooth so that bacteria are unable to stick to them and you have a better chance of keeping the teeth clean during your regular home care. Also, it leaves your teeth feeling lovely, smooth and clean.
This is the final part of dental cleaning. The fluoride helps to strengthen the teeth since the acids from bacteria in dental tartar and plaque will have weakened the surfaces. We have several different types of fluoride available today. No longer do you have to avoid eating or drinking after treatment. One option we offer is called Fluoride Varnish, which is very simple and quick to apply, tastes pleasant, is more effective than traditional tray fluoride, and does not require a change in your daily activities. We commonly prescribe At-Home Fluoride for patients that have sensitivity, dry mouth, or a high decay rate. Please ask Dr. Melissa what type of fluoride is best for you.
Oral Cancer Screening
We continuously monitor our patients oral health and ALWAYS examine your gums and tissue for any signs of abnormalities. We have several different methods to check for oral cancer. One of our methods is called ViziLite Plus. It is an easy and painless way to detect early changes in the tissue. We recommend this screening if you have risk factors like tobacco use, a history of HPV or certain age groups. When we note abnormalities, we generally take an intra-oral photo of the tissue and have you return in two weeks for a follow-up visit. Most of the time lesions will be gone as they could have been caused from a scratch, bite or burn in the mouth. If the lesion is still present a biopsy will be performed.
We have several different ways to treat sensitive teeth. Please let us know if you are experiencing sensitve teeth so Dr. Melissa can determine the cause of the sensitivity. It is very common to be sensitive to very cold foods like ice cream. It is not normal for your teeth to be sensitve to hot temperatures. If you have a localized problem, you may have a single tooth that needs treatment. If the cold sensitivity is generalized, you may be clenching your teeth or have recession of the gums. We will recommend treatments ranging from prescription fluoride pastes, gels and rinses to laser desensitization with our Picasso Dental Laser. Sometimes fillings need to be performed to treat sensitive teeth and commonly extreme sensitivity could be from a cracked root. We will do our best to make you comfortable in any situation.