Cleanings and Exams
As part of your preventive care, we want to see you for regular dental cleanings followed by an exam. Consistent dental checkups can keep you on track for obtaining and maintaining a healthy mouth. We use these checkups to remove any hardened plaque, provide education and tips to improve your brushing, and then look for any areas of damage or concern before the problem becomes larger, more expensive issues. At Singing River Dentistry, we value our patients and their health. We believe that your oral health plays a significant role in your overall health, and we can help you feel better.
Having your teeth professionally cleaned can make a huge difference in your oral health. We use the simple phrase of cleaning to encase what our professional hygienist does, but really the work is significant. Your dental cleaning involves multiple steps including:
|Measuring and Tracking your Gum Pockets: The gum pocket is the space between the gum and tooth. It should be very minimal. When the gum tissue becomes infected from decay causing bacteria, the gum tissue will respond by pulling away from the irritant. Thi includes pulling away from the tooth. We measure the depth of the pocket. Anything greater than 3mm is an indication of disease being present. Having your teeth cleaned at the same office helps us better track these measurements to note changes.
|Remove Tartar: Tartar, sometimes referred to as calculus, is plaque that has remained in place until it has dried and hardened. Plaque is a blend of food debris and saliva, which often contains sugar that bacteria loves to feed on. As bacteria feeds it then produces an acid which decays and erodes the tooth enamel. Tartar should only be removed by a professional. Trying to remove it yourself could result in damaging your enamel. Most adult cleanings are completed with an ultrasonic scaler.
|Polish: With the teeth now clean of debris, our hygienist can then remove extrinsic surface stains through polishing. We use a toothpaste that has a gritty texture along with a rotary brush to polish your teeth.
|Educate: An important step in your cleaning appointment is the education we can provide. We love sharing tips and guidance for correct brushing and flossing. We hope that by improving our patient’s understanding will improve their overall dental health.
A dental exam is performed by our dentist. We use this time to look for damage or decay both visually and through reviewing your dental x-rays. We also look for anything out of the ordinary and use this time to answer your questions. You can generally expect the following steps for your dental exam:
|Digital X-Rays: We may not always, but often we will take and review dental x-rays. Today, these radiology images are taken digitally. The digital format provides images at a higher resolution that can be viewed on any screen, can be saved and shared digitally without chemicals or having to develop slides, and with a tiny fraction of radiation versus the old non digital format. We use digital x-rays to look for problems that may otherwise be hidden. This can include decay, infection, or even growths.
|Visual Exam: Using a probe, or sometimes an intraoral camera, we can review all areas of the mouth for any visual decay, breakage, cracks, signs of infection or more.
|Oral Cancer Screening: An oral cancer screening is performed during your visual exam. We look for any unusual changes to the tissue. This may include the development of bumps, or changes to the texture or coloring of the tissue. We also look for any growths or lesions. If we spot an area of concern, we may request a biopsy. Most biopsies are negative for cancerous development, but it’s always best to know.
|Prevention and Education: Finally, we like to take steps in preventive care and education. We may suggest dental sealants, or a fluoride treatment. We may review gum health or tooth health. We love to spend this time to answer questions, which may include cosmetic dental care, or future treatments.
If you are due for a dental cleaning, contact Singing River Dentistry today to schedule your next appointment.