FAQ

What is a prophylaxis?
A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning procedure performed to thoroughly clean the teeth. Prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for halting the progression of periodontal disease and gingivitis.
Periodontal disease and gingivitis occur when bacteria from plaque colonize on the gingival (gum) tissue, either above or below the gum line. These bacteria colonies cause serious inflammation and irritation which in turn produce a chronic inflammatory response in the body. As a result, the body begins to systematically destroy gum and bone tissue, making the teeth shift, become unstable, or completely fall out. The pockets 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 prophylaxis/teeth cleaning?
Prophylaxis is an excellent procedure to help keep the oral cavity in good health and also halt the progression of gum disease.

Here are some of the benefits of prophylaxis:

Tartar removal – Tartar (calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can cause serious periodontal problems if left untreated. Even using the best brushing and flossing homecare techniques, it can be impossible to remove debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dental hygienist using specialized dental equipment is needed in order to spot and treat problems such as 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 at a dental visit. Since prophylaxis involves a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity, the hygienist is able to screen for oral cancer, evaluate the risk of periodontitis and often spot signs of medical problems like diabetes and kidney problems. Recommendations can also be provided for altering the home care regimen.

Types of teeth cleaning?
Prophylaxis: Dental prophylaxis includes scaling and polishing procedures to remove coronal plaque, calculus and stains. Some patients may require more than one prophylaxis every six months depending on the efficiency of their dental home care.

Full mouth Debridement: It’s a type of cleaning performed to enable comprehensive periodontal evaluation and diagnosis. The removal of subgingival and/or supragingival plaque and calculus that obstructs the ability to perform an oral evaluation. A re-evaluation is necessary after a month to determine if the patient may need deep cleanings or just regular cleanings.

“Deep Cleaning” or periodontal scaling and root planning, per quadrant. This procedure involves instrumentation of the crown and root surfaces of the teeth to remove plaque and calculus from these surfaces. It is indicated for patients with periodontal disease (active bone loss) and is therapeutic, not prophylactic in nature. The placement of localized antibiotic is recommended after a deep cleaning to ensure best results.

Periodontal maintenance procedures (following deep cleanings). This procedure is for patients who have completed periodontal treatment and includes removal of the bacterial flora from crevicular and pocket areas, scaling and polishing of the teeth, and a review of the patient’s plaque control efficiency. It is recommended every 3-4 months.

As you can see, there is more than ONE type of cleaning. Only a complete dental evaluation can determine the type of cleaning you need. Your daily oral hygiene, habits and techniques are key to improve and maintain your periodontal condition

What are the causes of tooth discoloration?
Deciduous (baby) teeth are typically whiter than the adult teeth that appear later. As we age, our adult teeth often become darker, yellower, or stained. This is partly why white teeth make people appear more youthful.

Just as there are several ways to lighten or brighten teeth, there are also several different ways for teeth to become discolored. The main causes of darkened teeth are genetics, antibiotics, and certain foods, plus teeth tend to darken as we age. Internal tooth discoloration is caused by changes in the enamel of the tooth and the dentin. The main causes of internal tooth discoloration are exposure to high levels of fluoride, tetracycline, use of antibiotics as a child, developmental disorders, tooth decay, restorations, root canal issues, and trauma.

External tooth discoloration is caused by factors outside the body, mainly foods and tobacco. The main causes of external tooth yellowing are smoking, foods with tannins, coffee, tea, carrots, oranges, and other foods.

What are the types of teeth whitening?
There are various ways to whiten your teeth, but the two most common are in-office treatment and the do-it-yourself approach, with over the counter products.

In-Office Teeth Withering Professional tooth whitening in a dental office is the preferred whitening method because even though stronger agents are applied, the rest of the mouth, including the gums, is protected from these materials. The best whitening systems feature a buffer in the gel that protects the tooth enamel from damage, are extremely effective, and can transform teeth in a single office visit. Your teeth can literally brighten up to 10 shades in about an hour.

In-office whitening affects only the front eight teeth and is a great jump start for take-home whitening, which is always part of an effective whitening program.

Your dentist is best qualified to handle any issues that may arise from whitening treatments, such as tooth sensitivity. Today most tooth sensitivity cases are easily managed.

Tooth whitening can last for one or more years, depending on how well you take care of your teeth, and if you’re following up regularly with a home whitening product for regular maintenance.

Over the counter or Home Teeth Whitening?
Commercially available tooth whitening systems have become popular, mainly because they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to use.

There are a few over-the-counter tooth whitening methods that can be purchased without your dentist’s supervision. They include whitening strips, paint-on tooth gel, mouth trays with gel, whitening toothpaste, and even whitening gum. These are typically safe products, but if you have oral concerns, it’s a good idea to ask your Prosthodontist/dentist if these products are safe to use.

While over-the-counter tooth whitening products are available, dentist-supervised tooth whitening remains the safest, most effective method for brightening your smile. Here are some key reasons why you should always consult with your Prosthodontist/dentist. Properly Fitting Mouth Trays. Often, over-the-counter tooth whitening trays do not fit the patient’s mouth properly. Improperly fitting trays may cause the tooth whitening gel to leak, which can result in gum irritation and a less effective treatment.

More Comfortable Solutions. With today’s dentist-supervised systems, even patients with sensitive teeth can undergo teeth whitening treatment.

Broken/Chipped Tooth
A broken tooth may occur as a result of chewing hard foods, trauma, or by grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism. Sometimes the broken teeth are already full strength and at risk of breaking. This risk is higher when the tooth already has extensive restorations (large filling or crown). Teeth with notable cracks in them are also at a higher risk of breaking.

When the break in the tooth is minor, the treatment is as simple as a direct restoration or filling. This is indicated when the broken portion does not involve the cusp of the tooth. When the cusp is broken on a tooth, the ideal solution more often involves an onlay or crown.

Sometimes the break in the tooth is so extensive, that the tooth is not able to be repaired. In these cases, the tooth is likely extracted and efforts are focused on replacing the missing tooth.

When a tooth breaks, discuss options with your prosthodontist. They will help assess the extent of the break and recommend the ideal treatment for your specific tooth.