Cleanings & Prevention
Cleanings & Prevention
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and when it comes to your dental hygiene, this is a good rule of thumb to remember. The best way to take care of your teeth and gums is to prevent problems before they happen by regularly following good oral hygiene practices.
At Jeannie Irvine, DDS , we work with you to protect your teeth and gums through routine dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. We also incorporate the use of sealants and fluoride in preventive treatments to protect your teeth from decay and cavities.
By working with us to maintain your oral health through regular preventive visits, we can help you to have a healthy, bright and beautiful smile for many years to come.
Contact us today!
Schedule a Dental Exam or Cleaning
Our dental exams are regular checkups where we perform a variety of services for you to help improve and preserve your oral health. Some of these services include the following:
Gum Disease Evaluation: We inspect the areas around your gums for any indications of periodontal disease.
Oral Cancer Screening: We examine your face, neck, tongue, lips, throat, tissues, and gums for any indications of oral cancer.
Tooth Decay Examination: We check all tooth surfaces for decay using specialized dental examination instruments.
Existing Restorations Examination: We closely inspect all existing dental restorations to see if any of them require repair or replacement.
X-ray Examination: We inspect all diagnostic x-rays for any signs of decay, tumors, cysts, or bone loss. We also check tooth and root positions during this process.
If we find any issues during the dental examination process, we will work with you to determine your best treatment options. Next, we will schedule appointments with you to perform any necessary dental services to restore your oral health.
Our team of skilled dental hygienists works with you during routine dental cleaning appointments to help ensure your teeth stay healthy and bright. During these cleaning visits, we will perform the following services:
Plaque Removal: Your dental hygienist will work to remove any accumulations of plaque which have built up on the surfaces of your teeth. Plaque is a sticky film that develops on your teeth, which is composed of colonies of living bacteria as well as food debris and saliva. These nasty bacteria produce toxins that cause gum inflammation. Left unchecked, plaque buildup can lead to gum disease.
Tartar Removal: In addition to removing any plaque buildup, your dental hygienist will also eliminate any tartar (calculus) that has accumulated on your teeth. Tartar is hardened plaque which has become solidly attached to the surfaces of your teeth. It forms both above and below the gum line and must be removed using specialized dental instruments.
Teeth Polishing: Once your dental hygienist has successfully removed any accumulated plaque and tartar from your teeth, they will polish the surface of your teeth. This process not only helps shine your teeth, but it also helps to remove any additional stains or plaque which survived the first two processes.
With this 3-stage professional dental cleaning process, our team of friendly dental hygienists will have your teeth looking and feeling shiny and fresh in no time!
Dental radiographs, also known as X-rays, are an important tool in our preventive and diagnostic toolbox. They allow us to safely and accurately detect things the eye cannot see, such as hidden dental abnormalities. Without these X-rays, a serious problem could go undetected and grow much worse over time without treatment.
Some Of The Things Dental X-Rays Enable Us To Detect And Treat Include The Following:
Problems inside a tooth at or below the gum line
- Bone loss
- Developmental abnormalities
- Poor tooth or root positioning
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Abscesses or cysts
Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
Digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. The amount of radiation exposure received from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount of ambient radiation you receive in a typical day from natural sources.
To ensure you are as safe as possible during your dental x-ray procedure, we also take precautions including lead apron shields to protect your body, along with using innovative digital technology which reduces the amount of exposure time needed to produce a clear image.
How Often Are X-rays Needed?
The frequency with which you require x-rays will depend entirely upon your personal dental health needs, so it varies from person to person. We will recommend dental x-rays if we deem them necessary based on our review of your dental and medical history, signs and symptoms, age, and disease risk.
If you are a new patient, we may recommend a full-mouth series of x-rays to create a clear and complete picture of your dental health.
Periodontal (gum) disease attacks the gums and the bones that support the teeth. It is caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar, which eventually begins to destroy the gums and bones. The word periodontal means “around the tooth.” Gum disease is characterized by redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums around the teeth.
80 percent of people have gum disease and don’t even know it! The disease goes undetected because it is often painless in its early stages. However, left untreated, it can become quite severe and cause receding gums or even loss of teeth, among other problems.
You can help to reduce your risk of gum disease with a healthy and balanced diet paired with sound oral hygiene habits and regular dental cleanings.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
There are many signs and symptoms of gum disease. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, consider contacting us to schedule an appointment:
- Receding Gum Lines: Have you lost gum area around the teeth?
- Red or Puffy Gums: Are your gums puffy or swollen?
- Tenderness or Discomfort: Do your gums feel irritated?
- Persistent Bad Breath: Do you have bad breath that won’t go away?
- Loose Teeth: Loose teeth in adults are never a good sign.
- Bleeding Gums: Your gums should never bleed, even when brushing or flossing vigorously.
- Pus Around The Teeth or Gums: This is a sign of infection.
If you have any of these symptoms, you may need treatment for gum disease. We can provide that treatment.
The type of gum disease treatment you require will depend on how far the disease has progressed, and what type of gum disease you have developed.
Gum disease advances as the sulcus, the space between the tooth and the gums, becomes filled with plaque, bacteria, and tartar. This causes irritation to the gum tissues in the area. If these irritants remain in the sulcus and are allowed to accumulate, they cause damage to your gums and eventually the bones that support your teeth.
If we catch the disease in the early stages of gingivitis before any damage has been done, we may be able to treat it with just one or two professional dental cleanings.
If, however, the disease has progressed to a more advanced stage, we may need to perform a scaling and root planing, which is a special cleaning designed to treat gum disease. This procedure is also known as a deep cleaning.
This type of cleaning is quite thorough, so it is done in one quadrant of the mouth at a time while the area has been numbed with a local anesthetic.
In this procedure, accumulated plaque, tartar, and toxins are removed from the areas surrounding the teeth above and below the gum line by scaling. Rough spots on the tooth surfaces are made smooth by planing. This procedure enables the pockets to shrink and the gums to heal.
We may also recommend specialized mouth rinses or medications, as well as the use of an electronic toothbrush to help control any infection and assist in healing.
If your gums do not fully heal even after a deep cleaning, periodontal surgery may need to be performed to reduce the pocket depths, which makes the teeth easier to clean. If necessary, we can refer you to a dedicated periodontist for specialized treatment.
Remember, the best way to prevent the need for any of these gum disease treatments is to maintain a healthy diet and good oral hygiene habits. Regular dental exams and cleanings are also crucial to maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
After you’ve received dental care from our team, you will want to follow up that care with good dental hygiene habits at home. Taking care of your teeth and gums at home is one of the best things you can do to ensure you have good oral health.
Good oral health begins with a good diet that is low in sugary sweetened drinks and acidic or staining foods and light on the snacks. You will also want to follow good dental care habits like the following:
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day with an ADA-approved soft-bristle toothbrush and toothpaste. To ensure a good cleaning when brushing your teeth, follow these steps:
- Brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums in a circular motion, being careful to ensure you always feel the bristles on your gums.
- Brush the inner, outer, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
- Use the front tip of your brush to clean inside your front teeth.
- Always brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
We also recommend using an electronic toothbrush, as they are very easy to use and quite effective at removing plaque. Just place the bristles of the electronic brush on your teeth and let the brush do its job, gradually moving along the teeth in sections.
Even when brushing correctly, you will find that you are unable to reach certain areas of the mouth. This is where daily flossing comes in.
Flossing is important. Without it, plaque and tartar can accumulate between the teeth and below the gum line, which can eventually lead to tooth decay or gum disease.
To ensure you floss successfully, follow these three simple steps:
- Using 12-16 inches of dental floss, wrap the floss around your middle fingers, with about 2 inches of floss between your hands.
- Guide the floss using your thumbs and forefingers, inserting it between the teeth using a sawing motion.
- Wrap the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth, sliding it up and down the tooth, including just beneath the gum line.
If you are having some trouble using traditional dental floss, ask the dentist about helpful tips or tools.
After brushing and after meals, it is important to rinse, especially if you are unable to brush. Check with our staff to see if you should be using a specialized mouthwash product to rinse.
We may also recommend various dental aids to use at home, including things like the following: rubber tip simulators, interdental brushes, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, etc. Each of these tools can provide certain benefits as a part of good home dental care.
Protect Your Future Smiles Today!
Even if you take the very best care of your teeth at home, you will still want to keep regular dental exams and cleaning appointments to ensure your teeth remain healthy for many years to come.
Our staff is friendly, accommodating, and experienced. We will work to ensure you and your family feel cared for and attended to every step of the way.
Contact us today!
Schedule Your Appointment