Dental Hygiene Treatments

Dental Hygiene Therapy

Dental Hygiene Therapy includes cleaning the patient’s teeth, removing tartar, stains and plaque as they brush, floss and scrape. Also educating patients on the best ways to brush and floss teeth, as well as which products to use.


Fluoride therapy is the delivery of fluoride to the teeth, topically or systemically, to protect them from dental caries (cavities). Strictly speaking, fluoride therapy repairs rather than prevents damage to the teeth, causing the mineral fluorapatite to be incorporated into damaged tooth enamel

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. Every day, minerals are added to and lost from a tooth’s enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. Minerals are lost (demineralization) from a tooth’s enamel layer when acids — formed from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth — attack the enamel. Minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate are redeposited (remineralization) to the enamel layer from the foods and waters consumed. Too much demineralization without enough remineralization to repair the enamel layer leads to tooth decay.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It also reverses early decay. In children under 6 years of age, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth. Fluoride also helps speed remineralization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth of both children and adults.

Fluoride therapy is the delivery of fluoride to the teeth, topically or systemically, to protect them from dental caries (cavities). Strictly speaking, fluoride therapy repairs rather than prevents damage to the teeth, causing the mineral fluorapatite to be incorporated into damaged tooth enamel

Oral Examination and Patient Education

Oral Exam
An oral exam is performed on both new and existing patients to determine their dental and health status. New patients receive a more comprehensive exam that includes x-rays and checks for gum and bone disease, systemic disorders and oral cancer. A more routine exam is done for existing patients to see if there have been any changes in health since their last visit. In order to look for gum disease, the gum tissue is measured with a small ruler to measure the pocket depth between the tooth and connective tissue. A measurement of over 4mm could indicate disease or infection. Gum disease can develop easier in deeper pockets due to the extent that plaque collects in these deep pockets. If the oral exam reveals the need for tooth scaling or root planing, these services are performed in lieu of or in addition to the routine cleaning.

Supportive Periodontal Therapy

A supportive periodontal therapy is a cleaning procedure performed to thoroughly clean the teeth. Supportive therapy is an important dental treatment for halting the progression of periodontal disease and gingivitis.

Periodontal disease and gingivitis occur when bacteria from plaque colonize on the gingival (gum) tissue, either above or below the gum line. These bacteria colonies cause serious inflammation and irritation which in turn produce a chronic inflammatory response in the body. As a result, the body begins to systematically destroy gum and bone tissue, making the teeth shift, become unstable, or completely fall out. The pockets between the gums and teeth become deeper and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body.

Reasons for supportive periodontal therapy/teeth cleaning

Supportive periodontal therapy is an excellent procedure to help keep the oral cavity in good health and also halt the progression of gum disease.

Here are some of the benefits of supportive periodontal therapy:

Tartar removal – Tartar (calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can cause serious periodontal problems if left untreated. Even using the best brushing and flossing homecare techniques, it can be impossible to remove debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dentist using specialized dental equipment is needed in order to spot and treat problems such as tartar and plaque buildup.

Aesthetics – It’s hard to feel confident about a smile marred by yellowing, stained teeth and puffy red swollen, bleeding gums. Supportive periodontal therapy can rid the teeth of unsightly stains and return the smile to its former glory.

Fresher breath – Periodontal disease is often signified by persistent bad breath (halitosis). Bad breath is generally caused by a combination of rotting food particles below the gum line, possible gangrene stemming from gum infection, and periodontal problems. The removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria noticeably improves breath and alleviates irritation.

Identification of health issues – Many health problems first present themselves to the dentist. Since prophylaxis involves a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity, the dentist is able to screen for oral cancer, evaluate the risk of periodontitis and often spot signs of medical problems like diabetes and kidney problems. Recommendations can also be provided for altering the home care regimen.

Periodontal Assessment

A periodontal Assessment and probing is used to assess the health of your gums and teeth. This assessment helps us diagnose the gum diseases gingivitis and periodontitis. They also can reveal receding gums, exposed roots, tooth grinding (bruxism) and other problems.The exam and probing include taking measurements of the spaces between your teeth and gums.

Soft Tissue Management Programs

Soft Tissue Management (STM)
A typical Soft Tissue Management (STM) program consists of tissue debridement with a piezo scaler: a laser like instrument and/or ultrasonic scaler which is quick and painless. Scaling and root planing with hand instruments should be carried out along with an in office irrigation treatment with the warmed medicaments: chlorhexidine and fluoride; which are known to aid in the healing process.

A fine motorized toothbrush is recommended, like Rotadent for example, which is only dispensed by a dental office and carries a lifetime guarantee. We will show you how to use it along with customized instruction of other oral hygiene aids. A prescription mouth rinse that prevents decay, inhibits plaque and desensitizes the teeth will most likely be recommended.

The Goal

The goal of a Soft Tissue management treatment program is to resolve the signs of inflammation, reduce pocket depths and detectable plaque to a level associated with periodontal health. Ideally, the progression of the periodontal disease will be halted.

We can start with a conservative, non-surgical periodontal therapy program, but in some cases, a referral to a periodontist may be necessary to evaluate the need for periodontal surgery. By undergoing the STM program, the aim is to avoid or limit the need for periodontal surgery.

Depending on the type of periodontal disease present, the STM program consists of 2 to 4 visits to the dentist who offers a Soft Tissue Management program. The details are usually explained at the time of diagnosis and treatment plan.

Occlusal Sealants

What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are usually placed on the chewing (occlusal) surface of the permanent back teeth — the molars and premolars — to help protect them from decay.

Why are dental sealants placed on teeth?
The chewing surfaces of the molar and premolar teeth have grooves — “fissures” — that make them vulnerable to decay. These fissures can be deep, are difficult to clean, and can be narrower than even a single bristle of a toothbrush. Plaqueaccumulates in these areas, and the acid from bacteria in the plaque attacks the enamel and cavities can develop. Fluoride helps prevent decay and helps protect all the surfaces of the teeth, dental sealants provide extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas by providing a smooth surface covering over the fissured area.

When are dental sealants placed?
The first dental sealant to be placed is usually on the fissure of the first permanent molar tooth, once the chewing surface of the tooth has erupted completely beyond the gum. This tooth grows in behind the baby teeth. If the chewing (occlusal) surfaces of these teeth are sealed, the dental sealant will help protect the tooth. Except for the wisdom teeth, which come through much later, the molars and premolars continue to erupt until eleven-thirteen years of age and the chewing surfaces of these teeth can be sealed after they have erupted beyond the gum.

Preventive Oral Health Instructions

Oral Hygiene and Prevention Instructions

Daily brushing and cleaning between teeth are important to your dental health because it removes plaque. Plaque is a thin, colorless, sticky bio-film that constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat foods containing sugars and starches, the bacteria in plaque produces acids, which attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with the teeth. After such attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms. If plaque is not removed with daily brushing, it can harden into calculus (tarter). As calculus forms near the gumline, good oral hygiene is more difficult to maintain and gums can become irritated, inflamed, swollen and may bleed. Gums then begin to pull away from the teeth and form pockets that usually become infected. For this reason, good oral hygiene and routine dental visits are imparrative.

How to Brush

Brushing removes plaque and food particles from the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth. This is done by placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums. Gently move the brush back and forth in short, half tooth wide strokes. Brush the inner, outer and the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Using the tip of the brush will help reach the inner surfaces of your front teeth. It is recommended that you brush for a total of 2 minutes. Also, it is recommended that you brush your tongue to help freshen your breath.

Good oral hygiene requires the use of appropriate dental care products. Ask us for recommendations tailored to your needs. When choosing a toothpaste or gel, look for a product containing fluoride. Fluoride helps reduce tooth decay in adults and children. If you have certain conditions such as sensitive teeth or dry mouth, we may recommend special toothpaste. A fluoride mouth rinse can help prevent tooth decay and an antimicrobial mouth rinse may help control plaque and reduce gingivitis. Mouthwashes are primarily used to freshen breath. If you must constantly use breath freshener to hide unpleasant mouth odor, it can be a sign of poor health, so we recommend making an appointment . Persons who have trouble handling floss may wish to try a commercial floss holder or an interdental cleaning aid. Interdental cleaning aids include picks, sticks, or interdental brushes used to remove plaque from between teeth.

How to floss

Normal brushing only cleans the exposed surfaces of your teeth, leaving the “in-between” surfaces full of plaque, food, and decay causing bacteria. To clean these “in-between” surfaces, we recommend flossing. To do this, you need about 18 inches of dental floss or tape and wind most of it around your middle fingers. Wind the remaining thumbs and forefingers, with about an inch of floss between them, leaving no slack. Use a gentle “sawing motion” to guide the floss between your teeth. Do not jerk or snap the floss into the gums. When the floss reaches the gumline, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and tooth until you feel resistance. Hold the floss against the tooth and gently scrape the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum. When flossing, it is good to establish a regular pattern. This way you are less likely to miss any teeth. You may experience sore or bleeding gums for the first five or six days that you floss. This should stop once the plaque is broken up and the bacteria removed. If bleeding does not stop, give us a call.