New patients receive a comprehensive examination which includes a screening for oral cancer, gum and bone disease, blood pressure and systemic disorders. A routine oral exam is performed on established patients to determine any changes in dental and health status since the previous visit. Your gum tissue is measured with a fine instrument ruler to calibrate the pocket depth between the tooth and the connective gum tissue around the tooth in millimeters. Pockets measuring 4, 5, 6 millimeters and up is cause for concern and requires immediate attention. The deeper the pocket, the greater the extent plaque bacteria collects, and infection or gum disease develops. X-rays are taken as needed. Tooth scaling and root planing occur as needed. Routine cleanings also include a professional polishing (prophy) that removes only the soft sticky plaque that is above the gum line.
Tooth scaling removes plaque, tartar and hard crusty calculus deposits which are loaded with bacteria. Sub-gingival tooth scaling is necessary when plaque and tartar are detected below the gum line.
After scaling the tooth roots may need to be planed to smooth the root surface. Soft tissue will re-attach itself to a smooth tooth surface. Your dentist may also recommend medications to help control infection, pain, or to encourage healing.
Step 1 – Place bristles along the gum line at a 45 degree angle. Gently brush using a circular motion along the outer and inner tooth surfaces.
Step 2 – Brush each tooth individually. Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Using the front half of the brush, use the same circular motion.
Step 3 – Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth and use a gentle back-and-forth motion.
Step 4 – Brush the tongue to remove odor-producing bacteria.
Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind some of it around your middle finger (3 turns). This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty. Shorten the length between the two fingers to 6 inches and wind some floss (1 turn) around the opposite middle finger. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers.
Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth as you gently rub the side of the tooth with an up and down motion. Before retrieving it, clean the adjacent tooth surface.
As you finish cleaning each contact wind the dirty floss once around the first middle finger and slide more new length of floss to proceed to the next contact.