- Oral Cancer Screenings, to detect disease at a curable stage
- Periodontal (Gum) Disease Therapy, to prevent tooth loss
- Professional Teeth Cleanings, to maintain good oral health
Preventative maintenance is recommended twice annually, but may be recommended every 3-4 months for patient’s at higher risk for the development or progression of periodontal disease.
What is Preventative Care?
A dental prophylaxis is a procedure performed routinely to thoroughly clean the teeth by removing plaque, tarter and stain which builds up on the surfaces of the teeth over time. Prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for preventing the progression of periodontal disease and gingivitis.
Periodontal disease and gingivitis occur when bacteria from plaque colonize on the teeth and gingival (gum) tissue, either above or below the gum line. These bacterial colonies produce toxins causing inflammation and irritation in the gum tissues which can lead to tissue and bone loss around the teeth. The loss of the supporting structures (bone and gum tissues) around the teeth can cause the teeth to shift, become unstable, or completely fall out. The pockets or spaces between the gums and teeth become deeper and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body.
Reasons for preventative maintenance
Routine maintenance is necessary to help keep the oral cavity in good health, diagnose disease at an early stage, and also to minimize the progression of gum disease.
Here are some of the benefits of preventative maintenance appointments:
Tartar removal – Tartar (calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can cause serious periodontal problems if left untreated. Even when using the best brushing and flossing home-care techniques, it can be impossible to remove debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dentist or dental hygienist using specialized dental equipment is needed in order to spot and treat tartar and plaque buildup.
Aesthetics – It’s hard to feel confident about a smile marred by yellowing, stained teeth. Prophylaxis can rid the teeth of unsightly stains and return the smile to its former glory.
Fresher breath – Periodontal disease is often signified by persistent bad breath (halitosis). Bad breath is generally caused by a combination of rotting food particles below the gum line, possible gangrene stemming from gum infection, and periodontal problems. The removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria noticeably improves breath and alleviates irritation.
Identification of health issues – Many health problems first present themselves in the oral cavity. Since prophylaxis involves a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity, the dentist or dental hygienist is able to screen for oral cancer, evaluate the risk of periodontal disease, and often spot signs of medical problems like diabetes and kidney problems. Recommendations can also be provided for altering your home care regimen to encourage disease prevention.