HYGIENE AND PERIODONTAL INFORMATION

Home care: Ideal oral hygiene can be maintained by simply brushing twice daily (am\pm) and flossing once daily, but it must be performed correctly! We recommend that a soft or ultra-soft toothbrush be used- it is our advice that you NEVER use a medium or hard toothbrush because they are too abrasive. Proper brushing is done on the inner and outer surfaces by pointing the bristles at a 45 degree angle toward the gum line and brushing in gentle circular motions. The biting surfaces are cleaned with a scrubbing motion. Proper flossing involves gently easing the floss between the teeth; then gently slipping the floss below the gum line and then easing the floss up and down (not sawing) against the teeth. Brushing and flossing are the two basics – you must do these daily.

At times the recommendation of an electric toothbrush may be a better option for optimal oral hygiene due to limited dexterity and sever gag reflexes. Plaque is the soft, bacterial bio-film which accumulates on the teeth. Once plaque remains on the teeth for a period of time it hardens into tartar or calculus. (Tartar and calculus are synonymous terms). Tartar\Calculus is hard, calcified plaque. It cannot be removed by regular home care. It can only be removed by your dentist or dental hygienist. If calculus remains untouched for a period of time you begin the process of periodontal disease.

Hygienist care: Seeing your dentist and hygienist on a regular basis is important to your overall oral health. It is recommended you see us at least two times a year for a cleaning and exam. Depending on the length of time since your last visit and the amount and location of build up you have the doctor will determine the type of cleaning you need. Stain from coffee, tea or dark staining foods and the amount of calculus build up will determine how many visits per year you will need.

X-rays are to help with the doctors diagnosis of your oral condition. The Hygienist usually takes bite-wing films once a year to maintain you oral health and monitor for decay.

Types of cleaning procedures.

Prophylaxis is a general light debris removal on the outer surface of your teeth and at the gum line. Then a polishing to smooth the surfaces of the teeth, and to remove stain and roughness.

General or Full mouth Debridement is gross removal of plaque and calculus and is performed on patients that have been more than a year without a cleaning.

Root Plane and Scaling helps eliminate the calculus build-up that cause bleeding and swelling from a gum infection. Scaling removes hard deposits (tartar) and plaque from tooth surfaces above and below the gum line. Root planing removes the hard deposits at the root surface to ensure smooth surfaces to help prevent plaque from adhering and help gum tissue re-attach and return to a healthy state. In some instances, your gum and bone tissue may not be able to return to its healthy state without the help from a periodontist due to the progression of the gum infection or periodontal disease.

There are 3 stages of periodontal disease; early, moderate and advanced.

In early periodontitis, there are pockets of 3-4 millimeters around the tooth; slight bone loss and ligament damage, and slight progression of plaque and tartar below the gum line. Gingivitis and periodontitis are inflammatory diseases of bacterial origin. Gingivitis is red, bleeding, swollen gums caused by plaque build-up on the teeth. Left untreated, gingivitis may progress to periodontitis; however, with good oral hygiene and effective plaque control, gingivitis is completely reversible. Periodontitis once known as pyorrhea, involves destruction of the gums and bone and, if left untreated, may result in tooth loss. Periodontitis, unlike gingivitis is irreversible; that is, once the damage to the gum and bone occurs, it cannot be completely undone, Fortunately, though, the disease can be arrested.

In moderate periodontitis, there are pockets of 5-6 millimeters around the tooth; up to 1\4 of the bone holding the tooth in is lost, and significant progression of plaque and tartar below the gum line.

In advanced periodontitis, there are pockets of greater than 6 millimeters around the tooth; more than 1\4 of the bone holding the tooth is lost and the teeth may begin to loosen at this stage.