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Dental Cleaning

Brushing

 
 
Importance of brushing
Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, brushing is important because it removes plaque and disrupts the bacteria that cause tooth
decay and gum disease.
 
Proper tooth brushing involves five things:
  • a soft toothbrush
  • toothpaste with fluoride
  • brushing long enough
  • the correct brushing action
  • brushing at least twice a day
How to brush
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. They are kinder to your teeth and gums. They also make it much easier to remove plaque from below the gumline, where gum disease starts.
 
Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride strengthens the outer enamel layer of the teeth. It can stop a cavity in its tracks and give you more resistance to future cavities.
 
Make sure your brushing routine lasts long enough to thoroughly remove plaque. We recommend that you brush for at least 2 minutes. Try using a timer or clock to confirm the time.
 
Use the correct brushing action. To start, center your brush on the gumline and angle the bristles at a 45-degree angle. Apply gentle pressure so the bristles slide under the gumline. Gently vibrate the brush while you move it in short, circular, wiggling
motions.
 
Brush one or two teeth at a time. Then move to the neighboring teeth, allowing some overlap. Use this method to brush the insides and outsides of all the teeth. To brush the backs of the front teeth, tilt the brush and make several up and down strokes. Then brush the chewing surfaces of teeth with a gentle, circular, scrubbing motion.
 
End by brushing your tongue and the roof of your mouth. This removes germs and keeps your breath fresh.

Flossing

 
   
The importance of flossing
People who floss every day are taking a significant step in keeping their teeth clean and
healthy.
 
Periodontal disease and many cavities start between the teeth where the bristles of your
toothbrush simply cannot reach. That is why flossing is necessary for removing the plaque
and bacteria that cause these dental diseases.
 
How to floss
Pull out about 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle fingers of each hand, leaving
about a 5inch span of floss between your fingers. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and
index fingers, leaving about 1 inch to work with.
 
Using a gentle side-to-side motion, gently guide the floss between the teeth. Pull the floss tightly in a Cshape around the side of the tooth and slide the floss under the gumline. Move the floss up and down several times to remove all the food and bacteria. Then pull the floss around the neighboring tooth and repeat the process. Wind the floss to a fresh section and gradually work your way around your mouth. Make sure to floss on both sides of every tooth.
 
How to solve flossing problems
If your gums are infected, they will bleed when you floss. That is to be expected if you are just beginning to floss. After a week or so of regular flossing, the bleeding should stop.
 
If you have problems reaching some areas, you may want to use a floss fork, a floss pick, or other flossing aids.
 
Tell us if your teeth are too tight to floss or if the floss catches or tears. This indicates that there may be problems in your mouth that need to be fixed.
 
Let us know if you have any questions about your flossing. We will be happy to recommend the best floss for you and offer tips for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

Electric Toothbrush

   
 
Electric toothbrush popularity increases
Electric toothbrushes have become more popular for a variety of reasons. They do a good job of reducing stains, removing plaque, and disrupting the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Electric toothbrushes can be easier to manage than a manual toothbrush, and they are fun to use.
 
How to brush with an electric toothbrush
No matter why you have chosen an electric toothbrush, it is important to use it correctly.
 
Make sure the brush head has soft bristles because these are kinder to your teeth and gums.
  • Apply a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Place the toothbrush in your mouth, and close your lips slightly to prevent splattering. Hold your jaw in a relaxed, open position so you can reach all tooth surfaces.
  • Center your brush on the gumline, and angle the bristles according to the manufacturer’s directions. Turn on the toothbrush, holding it gently against the tooth and gumline for a few seconds. Do not press hard; let the toothbrush do the work. Then, move to the next tooth.
  • Make sure you brush the insides and outsides of each tooth, including the backs of the front teeth, and all the chewing surfaces.
  • Your brushing routine should last at least 2 minutes. To help you, electric toothbrushes often have builtin timers.
 
When to brush
Your brushing schedule is important, too. Brushing after breakfast cleans away the morning’s food debris. Brushing your teeth before bedtime protects your teeth all night.
 
Ask us if you have any questions about using your electric toothbrush.  We are happy to offer tips for better brushing and having a clean, fresh, healthy mouth.

Full Mouth Debridement

Plaque and tartar buildup
When heavy plaque and tartar deposits have built up on your teeth, we often recommend a
procedure called full mouth debridement to remove that buildup.
 
The benefits of debridement
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of food and bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. If it is
not removed every day, plaque hardens into tartar, and over time, plaque and tartar build up
on your teeth. A heavy buildup blocks our ability to clearly see and examine your teeth and gums.
 
It is also important to remove the accumulation of plaque and tartar because they are the main cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
 
Many factors can contribute to a heavy buildup, including—
  • dry mouth, also called xerostomia.
  • tobacco use.
  • certain health conditions.
  • wearing braces.
  • poor homecare.
  • not getting regular professional dental cleanings.
The debridement procedure
Depending on the situation, we may begin the procedure by recommending a numbing gel or offering nitrous oxide to make you more comfortable.
 
Next, we use a variety of instruments to carefully remove the plaque and tartar above and around the gumline.
 
We may also apply an antimicrobial rinse. Then we finish the procedure by carefully reviewing your homecare routine.
 
A full mouth debridement is an important initial step in the ongoing evaluation and treatment of your oral health.

Home Care and Cleaning Prosthetics

 
 
From braces to bridges to implants, most people have some kind of dental work. And no matter what you have, cleaning it regularly will help keep your mouth healthy.
 
Clean removable appliances every day
Removable appliances, such as a retainer, a bridge, or a denture, need to be taken out and cleaned at least once a day. First, place a towel in the basin or fill it with water. This will protect your appliance if you drop it while you’re cleaning it. Run it under warm water and
brush it with a soft toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste. If we have advised you not to sleep wearing your removable restoration, store it in a glass of water to keep it from drying
out. Or soak it overnight in a cleaning product made especially for your appliance. If your removable restoration is supported by an implant, remember to clean the abutments as well. After removing the prosthesis, brush and floss all around the gums and abutments.
 
Fixed appliances need special attention
A nonremovable prosthetic, such as a fixed bridge or implant, needs extra care, too. Just like with your natural teeth, you need to thoroughly brush and floss twice a day. Whether you have a fixed or removable restoration, please keep your hygiene appointments. We may even need to see you more often than twice a year. We want to address any possible issues early. The sooner we address a problem, the longer your prosthetic will last. You made an investment in your health. Good hygiene will reward you for years to come. And we’ll be here to help you keep your beautiful smile.

Professional Care and Sealants

  
 
Sealant purpose
A sealant is a clear or white plastic coating that is placed on the biting surfaces of back teeth to help prevent tooth decay.
 
The benefits of sealant
Back teeth have deep grooves and pits that are very difficult to keep clean. Plaque, which is a sticky, colorless film of food and bacteria, collects in these grooves. Plaque is nearly invisible, so to see it, we may stain the plaque with a harmless red dye.
 
Every time you eat, the bacteria in plaque forms acid. Without a protective sealant, this acid attacks the enamel that protects your teeth and causes the enamel to break down. Then,
you get a cavity.
 
Placing sealant
To place the sealant, we thoroughly clean and dry your teeth. Next, a conditioning solution is applied. Then we brush the sealant material into the grooves of your back teeth. Some types of sealants harden on their own, while others harden when exposed to a special light.
 
A sealant is an effective shield that can defend your back teeth against cavities and help preserve your oral health.

Homecare and Disclosing Tablets

 
Plaque detective
Using disclosing tablets is a good way to find the plaque that is left on your teeth after brushing and flossing. Disclosing tablets are made with a harmless vegetable dye that stains plaque red.
 
Why use disclosing tablets
Disclosing tablets can work to prevent cavities and periodontal disease by helping you see the
plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food and bacteria that constantly forms on your
teeth. Because plaque is colorless, it can be hard to see. You can see how it shows up after the disclosing tablet stained it with red dye.
 
If plaque is not removed every day, it builds up and hardens to become tartar. It takes 
professional help to remove tartar. There is no way for you to remove tartar at home. A
toothbrush or floss will not budge it.
 
It is important to keep your teeth and gums free of plaque and tartar because they are the main cause of tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease. That is why it is important that you find and remove all the plaque at home every day.
 
How to use disclosing tablets
To use disclosing tablets, first brush and floss. Then simply chew a disclosing tablet, swish it around your mouth, and rinse with water.
 
Use a small dental mirror to check your teeth for any signs of red, especially near the gumline. Brush and floss these missed areas again until the red is gone.
 
Using disclosing tablets, you can improve your homecare technique and keep your smile healthy.

Homecare and Oral Irrigators

 
   
Practicality of using an oral irrigator
Cleaning your teeth and gums with an oral irrigator can be a great idea for several reasons.
 
Many people use the powered stream of water to help remove bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Others use an oral irrigator because it makes it easier to clean around
braces, bridgework and implants. Some use an oral irrigator to help control periodontal disease.
 
No matter why you choose an oral irrigator, you will get the best results when you correctly use it.
 
How to use an oral irrigator
Begin by filling the reservoir with lukewarm tap water according to the manufacturer’s directions. Depending on your situation, we may recommend that you use saline (salt mixed with water), an antiseptic mouthwash, or a medicated solution instead of water.
 
Choose the best tip for your oral condition. If you are using a regular tip, place it at a 90-degree angle to the gumline, almost touching the tooth. If you are using a tip that is designed for rinsing below the gumline, place it against the tooth at a 45-degree angle, and gently move the tip into the tiny groove between the tooth and gum.
 
Set the pressure to the lowest setting and turn on the irrigator. Close your lips slightly, allowing the liquid to flow out of your mouth.
 
Move the tip along the gumline, pausing for a few seconds at the spaces between the teeth. If you are rinsing below  the gumline, make sure to reach into each gum groove as you go. Irrigate around all the teeth, especially the back teeth.
 
How we can help
Ask us if you have any questions about choosing or using an oral irrigator. We are happy to offer tips for keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy.

Nutrition and Hygiene

 
  
A balanced diet
Eating right needs to be a daily habit, just like brushing and flossing.
 
Eating a balanced diet will help boost your body’s immune system, so you will be less vulnerable to oral disease. It will also provide you with the nutrients your body needs to maintain strong teeth and healthy gums.
 
So what is a balanced diet? It includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, moderate portions of protein, complex carbohydrates like whole grains and beans, lowfat dairy products and unsaturated fats.
 
Frequency and timing
Good nutrition plays a large role in your dental health, and that includes what you eat and how often you eat. Every time you eat a sweet or starchy food, the bacteria in your mouth feast on it and produce acids that attack your teeth.
 
An acid attack can last 20 minutes or longer, until your saliva is able to help neutralize the acids and repair the enamel on your teeth. So, the more often you eat, the more your teeth are exposed to these acids, and the less time there is for saliva to do its job. Eventually, the acids dissolve the tooth enamel and cause decay.
 
Food suggestions
You should limit the amount of sodas you drink and other beverages that contain sugar.
 
One of the main causes of tooth decay is soda. A 12 ounce can of soda contains about 12 teaspoons of sugar. Soda also contains phosphoric and citric acids that dissolve the protective layer of enamel on your teeth.
 
Combining starches and sweets in a meal with proteins and fats helps stimulate saliva production. So, if you eat dessert, eat it with your meal, not sometime afterwards.
 
It has also been found that certain foods like nuts, cheese, onions, and many teas actually slow the decay process.
 
To maximize your nutrition and your dental health, eat a wellbalanced diet. Limit sugary, starchy and sticky foods and drinks, and avoid betweenmeal snacking.

Oral Piercing and Hygiene

 
 
Piercing the tongue
Many people want to get their tongue or lips pierced. This is not the same as getting your ears pierced. Unlike your ear lobe, your tongue is a muscle that has many blood vessels and nerves.
 
What to expect
First, a cork is placed underneath your tongue. Then, a long needle is punched through the sensitive tissue. A barbell is inserted into the hole in your tongue.
 
All of this is done without anesthesia.
 
Soon after the barbell is inserted, your tongue will swell. The swelling is significant and usually lasts three to five days.
 
Because your tongue is covered with bacteria, they can invade the open wound and enter your bloodstream. This can result in painful infections that ooze pus into your mouth and throat. If this happens, you need to get immediate medical attention.
 
The needle used to pierce the tongue is quite thick. If it hits one of the many veins in your tongue, you can expect to have heavy bleeding.
 
The needle can also sever a nerve in the tongue, which can result in permanent numbness.
 
Problems with jewelry
The jewelry itself can present problems. The hard metal ball is constantly hitting the fragile tooth structure, much like a wrecking ball.
 
People with tongue studs tend to habitually bite them, which increases the chance of chipping or scratching a tooth.
 
Lip rings can also wear away the gums. This can lead to gingivitis and expose the tooth roots, which can make your teeth sensitive to hot, cold and sweet foods.
 
Take precautions
We do not advocate it, but if you must get an oral piercing, take some precautions.
  • Make sure the shop is clean.
  • The piercer should be properly trained, follow OSHA guidelines for bloodborne pathogens, and use only sterilized needles and equipment.
  • The piercer should thoroughly explain the procedure and your followup care.
  • Use a new toothbrush when you return home.
Oral piercings are a trend that can cause severe damage.  Because our goal is to keep your teeth and gums healthy, we do not recommend this fashion statement.

Homecare and Superfloss

 
Superfloss benefits difficult areas
To help you remove plaque around bridges, braces and implants, we recommend superfloss
and floss threaders.
 
When you have any kind of dental fixture, it is important to be especially careful about removing plaque. Bridges, braces and implants can trap plaque and food particles in places that are difficult to clean with regular dental floss and a toothbrush.
 
Superfloss
Superfloss is a special kind of dental floss that comes in precut segments. It has a stiff end that helps thread it through tight areas. It also has a fuzzy tufted segment that removes plaque as you floss.
 
Insert the superfloss between your braces, under your bridge between the artificial tooth and the gums, or around your implant. Then floss each area like you normally would.
 
Floss threaders
A floss threader helps you insert floss into tight spots. You simply put floss through the loop, insert the pointed end of the threader into the area you need to floss, and then pull the threader all the way through. This leaves the ends of the floss on either side of the area, ready for you to use.
 
Remove the floss threader from your mouth, and then use the dental floss as you normally would.
 
Superfloss and floss threaders are very effective tools for helping you keep your mouth healthy.

Professional Care and Fluoride

 
 
 
Decay fighter
Fluoride prevents cavities in children and adults. It is especially important for children 6 months to 16 years old to get enough fluoride to protect their teeth.
 
When bacteria build up on teeth, they produce acids that dissolve the tooth’s enamel, eventually forming a cavity. Fluoride strengthens the enamel and protects against
the acid attack. In some cases, it can add minerals back to the enamel and reverse the
damage from the acid attack.
 
Fluoridated water supplies
Many communities add low doses of fluoride to the local drinking water, which helps greatly
in reducing tooth decay. If your water does not have fluoride, we can prescribe a fluoride pill
or drops that deliver safe doses of fluoride to help strengthen teeth.
 
Fluoridated oral care products
Everyone in the family should use fluoride toothpaste. Children should use only a thin smear until they are old enough not to swallow it. Older children and adults should use a peasized
amount of toothpaste on a soft toothbrush. Older children can benefit from fluoride mouthwash.
 
We may recommend a more concentrated dose of fluoride that we apply here in the office. We will use a tray to apply either fluoride foam or gel, or we may use a small brush to apply a fluoride varnish.
 
Fluoride is a strong weapon in the fight against decay and can help your child be cavityfree
for a lifetime.