Regular Dental Cleanings and Exam
How often should you have a professional cleaning? This depends on your own personal thoroughness with daily brushing, the foods you eat, medications you may take, and of course, smoking. Thorough cleaning is much more than simply cosmetic, although that is very important too. We are all subject to the formation of tartar, although the amount that precipitates out of saliva varies with each individual. If you accumulate a little or a lot, then your teeth must be scaled. Usually twice a year is sufficient. However, if you accumulate a lot, it must be more frequent or the irritation will cause pocket formation, bone loss, and eventually possible loss of your teeth.
Dental cleanings differ from your at-home dental routine of brushing and flossing. During a cleaning our hygienists remove the surface plaque and calculus (tarter) above and below the gums to prevent gum inflammation (gingivitis) and periodontal disease. Removal of plaque and calculus can only be done in a dentist office with the use of ultrasonic tools and specialized instruments.
Exams are performed at your regularly scheduled check up appointments. All regular check up appointments will include, oral cancer screening of the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat tissues and at the gums for any signs of oral cancer. Evaluation of the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease. Diagnostic X-rays (radiographs) will be taken as needed since they are essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions. Examination of all tooth surfaces for decay, will include current fillings .crowns, bridges, etc.
Non-Surgical Periodontal Treatment
Treatment guidelines stress that periodontal health should be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through non-surgical periodontal treatment, which Karen and Cheryl do including scaling and root planing (a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus [tartar] from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins), followed by adjunctive therapy, as needed on a case-by-case basis.
Most periodontists and general dentist would agree that after scaling and root planing, many patients do not require any further active treatment. However, the majority of patients will require ongoing maintenance therapy to sustain health. Non-surgical periodontal treatment does have its limitations, however, and when it does not achieve periodontal health, referal to a periodontist may be indicated to restore periodontal anatomy damaged by periodontal diseases and to facilitate oral hygiene practices.