Teeth Cleaning & Prevention

Healthy teeth and gums starts at home

The initial treatment for periodontal disease is usually a thorough cleaning that may include scaling or root planing. The objective of these non-surgical procedures is to remove causative agents such as dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, which cause gingivitis. Scaling and root planing can be used as a stand-alone treatment, or as a preventative measure and are commonly performed on cases of gingivitis and moderate to severe periodontal disease.

What are the procedures?

The Periodontist will only perform scaling and root planing after a thorough examination of the mouth, which may include taking x-rays and visually examining the mouth. Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis , he may recommend scaling and root planing. In some cases this treatment may have to be with a local anaesthetic.

This procedure is performed where tartar/calculus and plaque attached to the tooth surface needs to be removed. The process specifically targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Scaling is performed by hand scalers and at times by dental tool called an ultrasonic scaler. The primary aim is to remove the debris of surface of the root that often embeds with unwanted bacteria and their toxins and after a short period of time forms calculus or tartar. The cleaned root of the tooth then enables our gums to heal and also helps prevent the bacteria from easily reforming in the future.

At times antibiotics or anti-microbial mouth rinses may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria and prevent them from releasing poisonous toxins that cause gum diseases. When deep pockets develop between the teeth and the gums, it is often very difficult to thoroughly remove the plaque and tartar. Patients simply cannot keep these deep pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health or laser periodontal may be offered as an alternative treatment to gum surgery.

There are many periodontal benefits, which can be achieved with our treatments. Science has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the blood stream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that cause these conditions.

Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 4mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. Pockets deepen, more bacteria colonise, and eventually causes an inflammatory response by the body that destroys the gingival and bone tissue and subsequently leads to tooth loss.

Additionally, an added bonus with scaling and root planning is that it can reduce bad breath caused from food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. However, good gum health also requires your input as well. You need to be able to properly brush, floss and sustain regular professional cleans (at least twice per year).

Proper brushing is essential for cleaning teeth and gums effectively. We recommend using a toothbrush with soft, nylon, round ended bristles that won’t scratch and irritate teeth or damage gums.

Place bristles along the gum line at a 45 degree angle. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gum line. Gently brush the outer tooth surfaces of 23 teeth using a vibrating back & forth rolling motion. A rolling motion is when the brush makes contact with the gum line and is moved downward toward the chewing surface. Move brush to the next group of two to three teeth and repeat.

Maintain a 45 degree angle with bristles contacting the tooth surface and gum line. Gently brush using back, forth, and rolling motion along all of the inner tooth surfaces. Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Make several up & down strokes using the front half of the brush.

Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth & use a gentle back & forth scrubbing motion. Brush the tongue from back to front to remove odour producing bacteria.

Remember to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. Researchers have established that thousands of microbes grow on toothbrush bristles and handles. Most are harmless, but others can cause cold and flu viruses, the herpes virus that causes cold sores, and bacteria that can cause periodontal infections.

Flossing is an essential part of the tooth cleaning process because it removes plaque from between teeth and at the gum line, where periodontal disease often begins.

If you find using floss awkward or difficult, ask your dental hygienist about the variety of dental floss holders or interdental cleaning devices that are available.

Wind about 18 inches (45cm) of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth. Keep a length of floss taut between fingers. Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth. Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zigzag motion. Gently wrap floss around the side of the tooth. Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.