One of the initial steps before starting any dental treatment is dental cleaning. Cleaning your teeth will remove dental plaque and calculus and stains from coffee or cigarette smoking. During this visit, we will go over the importance of brushing and flossing and give you recommendations on brushing techniques that suit your teeth. Cleaning your teeth will help you feel refreshed, motivate you for regular brushing and prepare your teeth for any future dental work.
Brushing and flossing help clean the plaque from your teeth, but you can’t remove tartar at home. During the cleaning, your dental professional will use special tools to remove tartar. This is called scaling.
Scaling removes plaque and tartar.
After your teeth are scaled, they may be polished. In most cases, a gritty paste is used for this. It helps remove any surface stains on your teeth.
The final step is flossing. Your dental professional will use floss to make sure the areas between your teeth are clean.
What you should do between visits:
Be sure to take care of your teeth and gums between regular dental visits. Plaque is always forming on your teeth but you can get rid of it by brushing and flossing regularly. Here are some tips for good oral care at home:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Be sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Floss at least once a day.
Use a mouthwash to help you get rid of plaque bacteria. This will also help to freshen up your breath.
Fluoride treatment and Cleaning:
Fluoride, the 13th most abundant element on the earth’s crust, is a chemical ion of the element fluorine – fluoride has one extra electron that gives it a negative charge. Fluoride is found naturally in soil, water, foods, and several minerals, such as fluorapatite and fluorite.
Fluoride therapy is the delivery of fluoride to the teeth topically or systemically in order to prevent tooth decay (dental caries), which results in cavities. Most commonly, fluoride is applied topically to the teeth using gels, varnishes, toothpaste/dentifrices or mouth rinse.
What does fluoride do?
Fluoride is said to protect the teeth in two ways:
Protection from demineralization – when bacteria in the mouth combine with sugars they produce acid. This acid can erode tooth enamel and damage our teeth. Fluoride can protect teeth from demineralization that is caused by the acid.
Remineralization – if there is already some damage to teeth caused by acid, fluoride accumulates in the demineralized areas and begins strengthening the enamel, a process called remineralization.
Fluoride is extremely useful in preventing cavities and making teeth stronger. However, it is much less effective if a cavity has already formed. According to the National Health Service, fluoride disrupts the process of tooth decay by:
- Altering the structure of the developing enamel so that it is more resistant to acid attack. These structural changes occur as a child’s enamel develops (before he/she is seven years old).
- Providing an environment where better quality enamel is formed, which is much more resistant to acid attack.
- Reducing the bacteria’s ability to produce acid, a major cause of tooth decay.
Polishing, Sealants and Space maintainer
Normal pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth can trap food that can’t be removed by brushing or washed out by water or saliva. A sealant is a tough, plastic material designed to bond (stick) to tooth enamel.
- Protect normal pits and grooves on the chewing surface of back teeth.
- Stop small amounts of decay from growing larger.
A clear or tooth colored sealant is painted onto the tooth surface to “seal” the pits and grooves and protect against decay. It is generally applied to children’s first permanent back teeth. It can also be useful for adults in certain situations.
Sealants are an excellent way to protect chewing surfaces of teeth from decay. They are a much better financial investment than treating decay after it has started.
Sealants are not permanent. They generally last about five years with normal wear, but can wear off or chip off earlier in certain instances. Also, sealants do not prevent decay between teeth or the onset of gum disease, so regular home care and dental visits are important.
There are no appropriate alternatives to sealants. If a tooth has decay, it will need filling or other restoration methods.