Dental hygiene treatment is delivered to remove any hard-to-reach plaque from your teeth that may have built up over time. Here is what you can expect from a hygiene appointment:
- Your teeth and gums will be assessed to determine the amount of plaque removal you will need and risk factors will be highlighted.
- Your teeth will be professionally cleaned with special equipment and pastes. This process is also known as scaling and polishing.
- You will be advised on the best tooth brushing technique and given tips on flossing and using interdental brushes.
Dental hygiene at Aura Dental Clinic & Implant Centre also functions preventatively to treat gum disease and bad breath. If you have a bridge, denture, orthodontic treatment or a dental implant you will have specific hygiene needs that the dentist will be able to assist you with.
It is recommended that you come in for regular hygiene appointments to ensure your mouth stays clean and healthy.
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that collects on all the surfaces of teeth, particularly in between them and on the surfaces close to the gums. This dental plaque is the cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
Plaque is also a contributing factor to gum disease. When it collects around the necks of teeth it causes an inflammatory reaction in the gum. The gum then swells and creates a gap (pocket) between the tooth and gum. This pocket is more difficult to clean effectively, so more plaque builds up in the area and the pocket becomes deeper. This is a continuing cycle that can lead to serious long-term problems.
If the gums are receding or there is gum disease present, tooth decay can develop on the exposed roots of the teeth. The roots of teeth are made from a softer material than the tooth enamel (dentine) and so holes will develop more quickly on the roots. Root surfaces also accumulate lots of plaque.
These problems caused by plaque can be controlled by keeping the teeth and gums clean. This is best done by regularly brushing (twice a day for two minutes) using a toothpaste containing fluoride and flossing (once a day). The use of mouthwashes containing fluoride will provide extra protection against tooth and root decay.
Scaling is the removal of calculus, plaque, tooth deposits and some stains. It can be done either above the gum (supra-gingival) or below the gum (sub-gingival).
Depending on the amount of pre-existing plaque and calculus, scaling above the gum can take 20-45 minutes. However, once the initial therapy has been done, and so long as good oral hygiene practices are carried out at home, subsequent maintenance visits can be as little as 20 minutes.
Above the gum scaling is usually pain-free. However, if the gums are very inflamed, they can be very sensitive. If so, a topical anaesthetic cream or some local anaesthetic will be used to alleviate the pain. Below the gum scaling and root planing are usually done under local anaesthetic, so discomfort is infrequent.
Bad breath (halitosis) is a common reason why many people visit a dentist.
The main causes of bad breath are:
It can be worsened by:
The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which is the only stage that is reversible. Gum disease is the most common cause of bad breath. It has two forms, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (infection of the gums). Periodontitis is the more severe condition. If not treated, gingivitis may lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis affects the structures that hold the tooth in its socket and so can result in tooth loss. It often occurs with little or no pain and we are only aware of it when it is at a late stage. Bad breath can help us to detect this disease early. It is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are so important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good oral hygiene at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. Brush twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Everyone has bacteria living in their mouth. When there is an inflammation or infection in the mouth, these bacteria digest human cells and produce by-products called volatile sulphur compounds, which smell like bad eggs. These compounds are produced in everyone’s mouth during the night. People with gum disease produce more.
To avoid bad breath, regular six-monthly visits to a dental practice are essential.
The better the oral hygiene, the less the tartar builds up.
Tongue cleaning removes the surface coating on the tongue. It helps to reduce the number of sulphur-producing bacteria and dead cells which tend to stick to the tongue. A tongue can be cleaned daily either by using a specially made tongue scraper or by brushing it with a normal toothbrush (without using toothpaste).
Mouth rinses have been shown to be very effective at reducing bad breath. They are best used at night in order to reduce morning bad breath. Eat regular meals. Rinse your mouth with water or sip water during the day, especially if you have a dry mouth.
Tooth brushing is carried out to remove the sticky bacteria that form a harmful film on the teeth (dental plaque).
Place the toothbrush head where the tooth meets the gum so that the bristles are just in the cuff of gum around the tooth. Start at one side of the mouth and carefully brush round to the next side using small gentle back and forth strokes. Do not scrub hard, as this will damage the teeth and gums. Use this technique on the outer surfaces near the cheeks and on the inner, surfaces near the tongue and around the palate. Finish by brushing the chewing surfaces. Brushing while looking in the mirror will help to check that none of the teeth are missed. Brushing correctly should take about two minutes.
There are specially-designed brushes for cleaning between the teeth that look like small bottle brushes. They come in different widths so that they fill the spaces between your teeth.
Dental floss is a special thread that is used for cleaning in between the teeth. Flossing is a difficult technique and with all mouth care it is a good idea to ask for guidance from a dentist. It is important to visit the dentist regularly to check that the mouth is healthy and so that any problems can be dealt with before they become serious.
Cleaning between the teeth is an important part of ensuring good oral hygiene.
Using dental floss requires time and an average level of manual dexterity, and needs to be undertaken daily.
Use a piece of floss about 50cm long – there should be enough floss to ensure a firm grip on it with the fingers. It is recommended that a clean piece be used for each tooth. Wind the floss around the middle fingers so that the first (index) finger is free to guide the floss. Hold the floss tightly between the thumbs and index fingers so that about an inch (no more) is free. Gradually ease the floss between the teeth moving the floss from the biting surface into the space between the teeth, using a slight backwards-and-forwards motion. When the floss is in the space between the teeth, move it carefully into the gum groove (margin) which is slightly detached from the tooth surface. This is the natural cuff of gum that surrounds the tooth (the gingival margin). Curve the floss around one tooth surface, in a C shape, and gently slide the floss back towards the biting surface and out of the contact between the teeth.
One surface of one tooth has now been cleaned. Take a clean piece of floss, go back into the same space and clean the other surface with the same action. This now needs to be repeated with every tooth surface. It will take time and practice to become good at flossing. Persevere, as this is an effective method of cleaning between the teeth and should prevent gum (periodontal) disease.
Water flosser is the latest technology in flossing and easy to use. Contact us for more details.
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