Dental Cleanings and Prevention at Exceptional Dental
A preventive program requires a cooperative effort by the patient, dentist, and dental staff to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures. This helps prevent the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions.
Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. It is continued in the dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health.
Prevention also includes getting a regular dental exam, teeth cleaning, and X-rays. Sealants and fluoride are also great preventive treatments that help protect the teeth.
Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy, confident, and beautiful smile!
Dental Exams and Cleanings at Exceptional Dental: What You Can Expect
A comprehensive dental exam is performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will perform the following:
- Examination of diagnostic X-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
- Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects systemic diseases and conditions such as the ones mentioned above.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment includes a dental exam and the following:
Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
Teeth polishing: Ask for teeth polishing to remove stains and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. Your personal home care starts by eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Tooth brushing: Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
- Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
- Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
- Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
- Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
Flossing: Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, but it also disrupts plaque colonies from building up. This helps prevent damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
- Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
- Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
- Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
Rinsing: It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.
Use other dental aids as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist such as interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, and medicated rinses. These can all play a role in good dental home care.
Dental radiographs (X-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without X-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental X-rays can be used to reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts.
- Bone loss.
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
- Decay between the teeth.
- Developmental abnormalities.
- Poor tooth and root positions.
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
Yes, they are safe! Believe it or not, we are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment on any given day. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of X-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.
Dental X-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit patients’ exposure to radiation when taking dental X-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast film which cuts down the exposure time of each X-ray.
How often should dental X-rays be taken?
The need for dental X-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary X-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.
A full mouth series of dental X-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years while bite-wing X-rays (X-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-ups) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.
Regular dental cleanings are essential to the long-term health of your smile. To schedule an appointment, call our team at one of our locations in Mid City New Orleans, Uptown New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, Marrero, Slidell, Watson, Baton Rouge, and Long Beach, MS.