Hygiene / Cleaning Appointments
Hygiene appointments serve as an important, regular opportunity to have your teeth cleaned and evaluated. It is particularly important to maintain the gums and supporting substructures of the teeth in a healthy state. The bone underlying the teeth serves as the support for the tooth. If the support (bone) is weakened with periodontal disease, the tooth will be at risk for being lost. Depending on the susceptibility of the patient, the frequency of cleaning will be every six months, four months, or three months. Some patients will be placed on an alternating cleaning schedule with a Periodontist if necessary.
Some patients have a particular susceptibility to periodontal (gum) disease. It is most important to reverse this disease process as soon as possible. This disease is often time painless which allows it to progress without an individual being alerted that there is a problem. The presence of the disease leads to bone loss around the teeth. This will ultimately compromise the teeth and eventually lead to tooth loss. It is also very fatiguing on the body and has been linked to major systematic complications. Treatment requires a periodontal scaling usually done by the hygienist, with a local anesthetic administered by the dentist. After the patients’ periodontal status is stabilized they can be placed on a three month cleaning schedule and followed closely.
It is very common for our molars and some of our premolars to have very detailed anatomy, including grooves and pits. These areas are very susceptible to harboring bacteria that is not easily removed and therefore can result in a cavity. These “pits’ and “grooves” can easily be sealed by a flowable resin material that bonds to the tooth and eliminates these “niche” areas so that it is easy to maintain a clean and healthy tooth surface.
Fluoride is an ion that is incorporated into the enamel matrix of our teeth. It is important to have fluoride available to the teeth while they are developing so that they can become strongly mineralized and resistant to decay. Individuals that have gum recession may develop some tooth sensitivity in these exposed areas. This is because the tooth had thinner enamel covering toward the root surface. Fluoride treatments may be recommended to help mineralize these areas and therefore decrease the sensitivity.