The benefits of a healthy mouth cleaning include tartar and plaque buildup removal, fresher breath, and improved esthetics such as a whiter smile. A healthy mouth cleaning is known as dental prophylaxis. This treatment is preventive and not indicated for those with active gum disease (moderate to severe gingivitis or periodontitis). Prevention is the key to keeping gum disease or tooth decay from developing. Prophylaxis is recommended a minimum of twice yearly or every six months. Latest research shows that proper prophylaxis is recommended every three months.
During your healthy mouth dental cleaning at Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry in Dunedin, Florida, Dr. Lepore or Dr. Dougherty will thoroughly examine your mouth, where they will be able to screen for systemic conditions and detect tooth decay early on. Click here to learn more.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is inflammation of your gum tissue. Common signs of gingivitis are redness, swelling, or bleeding on your gum tissue. Gingivitis is preventable and curable, whereas advanced periodontal disease is not curable. You can prevent gingivitis by:
- Brushing at least twice a day
- Daily flossing
- Regular dental checkups (healthy mouth cleaning)
Gingivitis is an inflammatory condition of the gum tissue caused by the buildup of bacteria on the teeth. It is an early form of gum disease that has not progressed to the point of tissue or bone loss.
When plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth, the bacteria within it begins to cause redness, irritation, and swelling of the gum tissue. Since gingivitis rarely causes pain, most patients do not even know when they have it. Additional symptoms can also include sensitivity and tenderness of the gum tissue and slight bleeding when brushing, flossing, or probing during an examination. You may notice your toothbrush or floss having a slight pinkish tone to them after use.
If left untreated, gingivitis will progress and further complications can arise. It is important to consult with your dentist on the best course of action to halt the disease progression.
What you can expect during a healthy mouth cleaning
You can expect a thorough dental examination, periodontal probing (measuring gum tissue health), thorough cleaning to remove tartar and plaque, and dental x-rays to check for tooth decay and infections.
Prophy vs Scaling and Root Planing:
The difference between a prophy and scaling and root planing is healthy gum tissue versus diseased gum tissue and bone loss. Prophylaxis cleans tartar and plaque from above the gum line, whereas scaling and root planing remove the harmful bacteria below the gum line.
If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, your doctor may recommend a more advanced cleaning called scaling and root planing as the first step in treating it. There are some significant differences between this and a routine dental cleaning that are important to understand.
A routine dental cleaning is designed for prevention - meaning its purpose is keeping gum disease and tooth decay from developing. It involves your hygienist cleaning your teeth above the gum line - removing plaque, tartar, and stains, as well as polishing them. This usually takes place every six months. On the other hand, scaling and root planing is a specialized procedure meant as an initial treatment for patients diagnosed with periodontitis to remove the excessive plaque and bacteria deposits that caused it and halt the spread of the disease. It involves your doctor or hygienist removing excessive calculus and bacterial deposits deep beneath the gum line, and is usually performed with a hand instrument and an ultrasonic cleaner that uses high frequency vibration to separate the calculus from the tooth. Additionally, any uneven surface areas of the teeth will be smoothed out to discourage additional bacteria from attaching. The procedure may require multiple appointments done in stages to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.
Scaling and root planing is a vital treatment to control the spread of periodontal disease and prevent additional complications to your oral and systemic health. Once completed, your doctor will work with you to create a maintenance schedule that best promotes the continued rehabilitation of your gum tissue.
What else can you do to improve your oral health?
Schedule your cleaning today!
Give our team at Lepore Comprehensive Dentistry a call today at (727) 608-4690 to schedule your healthy mouth cleaning and dental examination.