Regular teeth cleaning (also known as prophylaxis) is a procedure for the removal of tartar (hardened mineralized plaque) that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult to reach during routine tooth brushing. The prophylaxis is usually done by a dental hygienist. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling and tooth polishing and debridement if too much tartar has accumulated. This involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove stains, plaque and tarter from the teeth. Most dental hygienists recommend having the teeth professionally cleaned every six months. More frequent cleaning and examination may be necessary for more advanced gum disorders. Routine examination of the teeth is recommended at least every year. This may include select dental X-rays, the cleaning and placement of topical fluoride.
Sealants are thin layers of resin that are placed on the pits, fissures, and grooves of molars to prevent decay on these surfaces. The majority of decay on back teeth starts in the grooves and pits of chewing surfaces, especially during the first few years after their eruption. Sealing these surfaces with composite resins prevents cavity causing bacteria from penetrating the grooves, pits and fissures. Sealants are one of the most effective methods of preventing decay on the surfaces where they are placed. Although it is still a possibility that decay may develop on surfaces in between teeth, sealants significantly reduce the overall chance of having cavities.
Gum Treatments (non-surgical periodontal treatment)
There are a several gum treatments that are considered non-surgical periodontal treatments for those with periodontal disease(deep pockets or loss of bone around the teeth). A deep cleaning which are referred to as scaling and root planing is 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. Scaling and root planing is sometimes followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials, systemic antibiotics, and patient hygiene modification, as needed on a case-by-case basis. 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 periodontal health.
In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take x-rays using 60-80% less radiation versus traditional x-rays. Together with computer software, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis and better treatment planning of dental problems. We use digital dental x-rays to further evaluate your teeth and surrounding structures to assure that you receive the dental treatment that you need. With an x-ray we are able to detect cavities that are between the teeth or may not be visible on the outside surface of a tooth. X-rays also allow us to see the root of the tooth and the supporting bone structure as well as the gum tissues. The frequency of x-rays taken depends on your current oral health, your age, your risk for disease, and any signs and symptoms of oral disease.
A dental restoration or dental filling is a treatment to restore the function and shape of missing tooth structure resulting from decay, a crack or a fracture. There are two main types of filling material used for the dental restoration (filling) composite which is white or tooth colored material and amalgam which is a mixture of silver, tin, copper and mercury. Most dentists use composite fillings for cosmetic reasons. Most patient are more conscious about having something metal in their teeth because it makes their teeth look unnatural.