Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums
Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed
or cannot reach.
The following guidelines are important to brushing correctly.
1.Firstly, make sure to use a soft bristled brush. Hard bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth.
2. Place your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gumline. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gumline.
3. Use short back and forth strokes or tiny circular movements to brush your teeth. Each movement should be no bigger than the size of each tooth.
4. Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing. Gentle strokes are effective in removing plaque, while too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth.
5. Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
6. Finally, don’t cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes.
The following guidelines are important to flossing correctly.
1. Take 18″ of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand
.You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using
your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1-2 inches in between
2. Gently move the floss up and down the spaces of your teeth. Never
snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage.
3. As you move the floss down into the space between two teeth, slide it
up and down against the surface of one tooth. Gently clean at the
gumline as well. Repeat this for the other tooth.
4. Repeat this process for all of your teeth.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
A prophylaxis or “regular cleaning” appointment is generally recommended every 6 months for patients with healthy gums and bone. This patient displays good homecare, has healthy gum tissue, does not bleed upon light probing and has no pockets over 4mm. During this appointment we remove stain, soft plaque deposits and hard tarter mainly above the gum tissue on the crown of the tooth. Pocket depth measurements are generally recorded once per year. This procedure is prophylactic and superficial in nature.
A perio maintenance appointment is performed on an individual in order to control the progression of their periodontal disease. This patient has been through a “deep cleaning” or root planing and curettage in the past to clean and disinfect the roots of the teeth. They have pocketing of 4mm and above, recession and bone loss/bone changes are evident by x-ray. The frequency of these appointments is generally every 3-4 months and includes scaling below the gumline in order to disinfect and control their disease progression. Pocket depth measurements are generally recorded more than once per year depending on clinical signs which may indicate active disease progression such as bleeding and inflammation. This procedure is therapeutic in nature and requires more skill and expertise than prophylaxis procedures as the majority of the work is done below the gumline. As in the case of diabetes, periodontal disease cannot be cured. It is a chronic condition requiring life-long monitoring and can be controlled. Due to this fact, once an individual is classified as a perio maintenance patient, they should not be classified as a prophy patient again.
The majority of dental insurances cover/partially cover 2 prophy appointments per year. Insurance may cover/partially cover up to 4 perio maintenance appointments per year. Each insurance policy is different and negotiated by your employer or yourself when you enter into the insurance plan. Our recommendations are based upon keeping our patients healthy, not upon what your insurance may or may not cover.
The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you shouldcontact your dentist if you experience any of these:
- gums that bleed while brushing
- red, swollen or tender gums
- gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- bad breath that doesn’t go away
- pus between your teeth and gums
- loose teeth
- a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- a change in the fit of partial dentures
Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene.This includes brushing, flossing, and visiting you dentist regularly.
Also make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and
minerals necessary for your teeth.
In-office teeth whitening
In-office teeth whitening works by producing a significant color change in your teeth in short amount of time, usally within an hour. The procedure is done at the dentist’s office applying a high-concentration peroxide gel on the teeth after they have been protected with a special shield.
Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits
These whitening kits are purchased from your doctor for use at home. The strength of the gel used in these kits is lower than that used for in-office bleaching, and thus the gel can be applied for longer periods of time. Usually the trays are worn a couple hours a day or overnight for a few days or weeks depending on the product.
Over the counter whitening
Over the counter teeth whitening kits are store-bought and use a lower concentration gel than both in-office bleachin and take-home kits purchased from your doctor. While they are cheaper, they typically are less effective than methods that can be performed by your dentist because of the low concentration gel. Additionally, over the counter trays are not custom fit for your teeth, which can result in irritation to your gums while wearing the trays.
Other Common Questions
Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, including the types of food you ingest, periodontal disease, dry mouth, and other causes. Going to your dentist will help you determine the cause of your bad breath, so that you can take steps to elminate it.
Regardless of the cause of your bad breath, good oral hygiene and regular checkups to the dentist will help reduce it. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth which emit odors. It will also help prevent or treat periodontal disease (gum disease), caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, which can lead to bad breath. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist). Finally, make sure to brush your tongue regularly to eliminate any residue.