What is a Scale, Polish and Fluoride Treatment?
Dental professionals recommend brushing two times per day with fluoridated toothpaste. After brushing at nights, you should refrain from eating or drinking anything with the exception of water. Flossing is also recommended at least once daily. Regular brushing and flossing can remove plaque and food from your teeth. However, calculus or tartar build up is impossible to remove with your toothbrush alone. Therefore a professional scale and polish is recommended to remove hard tartar build up and staining.
What can I expect at a clean appointment?
Professional dental cleans are recommended every 6 months. At this appointment, you can expect to have your teeth examined by a dentist and/or the dental hygienist, a full mouth scale, polish and fluoride treatment. The scale will remove the built up calculus or tartar on your teeth. The polish removes any external stains on your teeth, such as coffee, tea, wine and smoking teeth stains. The fluoride treatment helps to strengthen the teeth. Personalised oral health instructions or demonstrations are also provided at a clean appointment in order to help you improve your oral health at home.
Dental professionals also recommend taking small radiographs or x-rays called “bite-wings” every 18-24 months. By taking these bite-wing x-rays, we can ensure any small decay is dealt with in order to avoid extensive dental work before they progress further.
At some dental clean appointments, we may also need to take a larger full mouth radiographs called an OPG. The most common reasons to take this type of x-ray is because it helps the dentist see the bone and supporting structures of the mouth in order to assess impacted or un-erupted teeth. In addition, there are numerous other reasons to take an OPG such as for observational purposes of wisdom teeth, pain, trauma, overall oral health, etc.
When food and plaque is left on the teeth, the minerals in the saliva harden the debris causing calculus or tartar. The build-up of calculus encourages more plaque to harbour in the mouth. Calculus is a hard yellow-brown substance that can be either on the surface of the teeth or underneath the gums. It needs to be professionally removed with an ultrasonic scaler which vibrates to loosen the calculus and ultimately remove it. Excessive calculus build up can result in other severe dental concerns such as Periodontitis, otherwise known as gum disease, and/or decay.
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is an irreversible disease that destroys the supporting tissues and results in the progressive loss of bone around the teeth. When there are concerns of periodontal disease in a patient, we recommend deep cleans every 3 months. These cleans can slow the progression of the disease. Periodontitis disease can be pain free or can we painful when there is an infection present. Patients often notice large amounts of food becoming trapped in between the teeth, elongation of the teeth (teeth looking longer), bad breathe or mobility (loose teeth).
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What is Dental Decay or Caries?
Dental decay or caries is a bacterial infection that causes demineralisation of the tooth structure. When food is left on the teeth, the acid in the saliva can assist in causing destruction to the hard enamel tooth surface. Depending on the extent of the decay, restorations or fillings would need to be completed to stop the progression of tooth destruction. Dental decay is one of the most common diseases in the world affecting both adults and children.
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