Dental Hygiene and Examinations

A program of routine preventive care and daily home maintenance is the backbone of good oral and dental health. To keep your teeth healthy and to prevent problems before they arise, we recommend semi-annual cleanings and exams.

Professional Cleanings

Our talented, educated hygienists perform most of the cleanings in our office. They carefully remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque), which are breeding grounds for cavity-causing bacteria, and polish your teeth to a lustrous shine.

We take the time to help our patients develop proper oral hygiene habits at home, evaluating your hygiene techniques and making adjustments to your routine where needed. Our doctors and hygienists will also make suggestions for further preventive measures, such as dental sealants to keep bacteria out, or night guards to protect against excessive grinding.

If we feel that you are suffering from gingivitis or more severe gum disease, we may recommend a deep periodontal cleaning, called scaling and root planing. These measures can be instrumental in preventing bone loss and helping you to keep your natural teeth.

Dental Examinations

After your cleaning, our dentists will perform a comprehensive examination, so we can catch problems as early as possible and prevent others from developing. Examinations include careful scrutiny of digital radiographs (x-rays), evaluation of the extent of any decay or periodontal (gum) disease, and a thorough oral cancer screening.

Periodontal Care: Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common dental problems patients face—and one of which they’re often entirely unaware. Periodontal problems can become quite serious and extremely advanced without any pain whatsoever. That’s why it’s so important to be attentive to the warning signs—bleeding, swollen, and receding gums, to name a few—and to keep us apprised of any changes at your regular visits.

We will examine your gums carefully for any signs of disease at your semi-annual exams. In most cases, periodontal disease is easily treatable with scaling and root planning, a non-surgical, deep-cleaning procedure. Plaque and tartar are removed from below the gum line, and root surfaces are cleaned and smoothed with specially- designed instruments.

It is important to remove the plaque and tartar from the pockets (the spaces between your teeth and gums), because, aside from the bacterial toxins that irritate the gums, rough surfaces make it easier for bacteria to gain a foothold. Local anaesthesia is usually administered to eliminate any discomfort associated with the procedure.

Oral Cancer Screenings

During your exam, we will check your neck and oral tissues for lumps, red or white patches, or recurring sore areas. Screening for early changes in the oral tissue can help detect cancer at a stage when it can be more successfully treated.

Our doctors will also discuss your risk factors with you. Smoking, especially combined with heavy alcohol consumption (30 drinks a week or more), is the primary risk factor for oral cancer. In fact, this combination is estimated to be the most likely trigger in about 75 percent of oral cancers diagnosed in this country. Other lifestyle and environmental factors also may increase your risk of developing oral cancer.