January 25, 2017
There’s a dentist who’s on record as stating that all dental decay is preventable. That may not be strictly true. There are a small number of people who are genetically predisposed to problems with their teeth. For almost all of us, though, good oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings and examinations can help avoid problems.
The Power of a Really Good Cleaning
When you see one of our Belleville, IL dental hygienists for a cleaning, the focus is on removing any and all traces of dental plaque and tartar. That’s because both of those are the product of the bacteria that live in everyone’s mouth.
Normally, bacteria in the mouth are washed off the teeth by saliva and by the beverages we drink. But if the bacteria are kept in close contact with the teeth and the gums, which is what plaque and tartar do, problems like dental decay and gum disease can arise.
You do a thorough job of brushing and flossing regularly. If you brush twice daily and floss once in every nook and cranny, you’ll remove dental plaque before it can harden to become tartar. Tartar is even stronger than your tooth enamel. Once it forms, you can’t possibly remove it by brushing and flossing. So stopping bacteria in its tracks every day is the goal
Unfortunately, plaque begins to re-form within 24 hours after being removed. That’s why you have to be diligent with your oral hygiene.
However, there are places in the mouth that are awkward to reach with a toothbrush or floss. And even a small spot of dental plaque or tartar can cause problems in your mouth.
You dental hygienist will begin by examining your mouth for any sign of gum disease. She can see every small space between and behind your teeth using a small mirror. If If no sign of gum disease is found, she’ll use a dental scaler – a metal instrument – to ensure that every trace of plaque is removed. The scaler makes a scraping sound while it’s in use, but it’s nothing to worry about.
Once your hygienist has finished the scaling process, she’ll brush your teeth with an abrasive toothpaste just to be certain. Those twice-yearly abrasive brushings are safe, but you shouldn’t try that at home. You can wear down the enamel that covers your teeth.
Removing all traces of plaque and tartar also removes the sticky bacteria on the teeth and gums that cause gum disease and tooth decay. Having twice-yearly dental cleanings is recommended for most people. If you’ve had any issues with gum disease in the past, your doctor may recommend cleanings three times a year.
The Dental Examination
Using digital X-rays and other instruments, our doctors can find potential issues before they become serious problems. For instance, cavities sometimes begin between teeth. If you have close-fitting contacts, it may not be possible for your hygienist to see that tiny cavity. However, cavities show up clearly on digital X-rays.
If a problem is found, Dr. Feder or Dr. Smith will take care of it before it can become a bigger problem.
Call Today for a Cleaning and Examination
Don’t let bacteria get the better of your teeth and gums. Schedule an appointment by calling our Belleville, IL office at 618-219-1412 today. You can also use our convenient online form to send us a message. We’ll be happy to find a day and time that work with your schedule.