According to the American Dental Association, one third of adults do not even see their dentist once a year. The reason it recommends semi-annual physical exams by your dentist and professional cleanings by a hygienist is because seemingly small problems like a cavity or gum bleeding can become very serious and expensive to treat unless caught early.
Periodontal Gum Disease
Many of us grew up knowing little about the long-term effects of not brushing twice a day for a full two minutes and flossing at night. As kids, we thought the main problem dentists treat is cavities. By the time we were adults, we should have learned that periodontal (gum) disease results in the gums pulling away their support from teeth, which could end with our teeth falling out or needing to be extracted. By ages 35-49, Americans have lost an average of three teeth, whether due to inadequate brushing and flossing or accidents. Those 50-64 have lost an average of five, while 26% of those 75 or older have no teeth left.
Proper Cleaning Techniques
If you have started to lose teeth and are not clear about the proper techniques required to keep them clean, ask your hygienist to show you how. This requires using a soft bristle brush with a dentist-approved toothpaste and stroking from the bottom to the tip of each tooth on both sides and chewing surfaces for a total of two minutes twice a day (ideally, after breakfast and your last snack or drink at night). Flossing needs to be done thoroughly, holding the string against the sides of every tooth and moving the string each time so the plaque (the bacterial film that forms on food particles if not cleaned off) is not transferred.
But a hygienist has the tools and techniques that enable her to clean hard-to-reach areas above the gum line. She may recommend an antibiotic rinse that is injected when gum disease has reached a serious stage.
But if the infection has reached under the gum line, deep cleaning of these “pockets” will be necessary to prevent periodontal disease from getting out of control. This first requires scaling, pulling back the gums and removing plaque or its hardened form, tartar, from the teeth. Then root planing is done to make the roots smooth so that bacteria will have a harder time sticking to them.
You will be advised to eat soft foods, like yogurt and mashed potatoes, for a short period while the gums are sensitive from the treatment.
If you have not had a professional cleaning in the past six months, call Mission Hills Dental today to set up an appointment.
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Our office utilizes state-of-the-art dental technology! Some of our equipment includes Invisalign braces, ZOOM teeth whitening, all-porcelain veneers, and dental implants. We believe that we are obligated to provide the best care that we possibly can.
Mission Hills Dental
10515 Balboa Blvd. Suite #250
Granada Hills, CA 91344
Mon, Tue, Thur: 8am - 5pm
Wed: 9am - 6pm
Fri - Sun: Closed