Open Contact Dental

Dentistry Through a Hygienist's Eyes

When is a “Cleaning” not a “Cleaning”?

“I have always had bleeding and am being told today that I have gum disease. Why all of a sudden am I being told this?”

Question: Have your gums bled during a regular “cleaning”?

If the answer is “Yes” then you may have been inadequately treated for a disease you were not told you have.

Recent studies have shown that the bacteria found surrounding gum tissue contributes to diseases such as heart disease (high blood pressure), diabetes, respiratory infections, cancers, erectile dysfunction, low birthweight babies, preterm labor, fertility issues, Alzheimers and arthritis. Our patients deserve to be informed of their risk for these diseases and educated about the role their oral health plays in their overall health. They also need to know that a regular “cleaning” will not stop the progression of gum disease.

What are the different procedures and why do they matter?

Regular Cleaning

This is a procedure that occurs in a healthy mouth free from bleeding and infection, without periodontal (gum) disease. This deposit and stain removal occurs on teeth that have not been affected by bone loss and occurs on the crowns of the teeth (the surfaces of the teeth above the gum line). This cosmetic cleaning will not stop the progression of gum disease.

Root Planing and Scaling

This procedure removes toxins and deposits from the tooth roots. This is the first step to treating gum and bone disease (periodontal disease). Gum tissue may appear swollen, red, and bleed. In some cases you may not have any uncomfortable symptoms but only have symptoms that dental professionals see at your dental assessment appointments. It is common to not see bleeding at home because home care implements such as toothbrush bristles and floss cannot reach into the deeper pockets around your teeth where the bacteria resides. This disease cannot be ‘cured’ with a toothbrush or a piece of string. It is a bacterial infection that needs medical attention by dental professionals. This procedure requires several appointments for thorough debridement.

Periodontal Maintenance

This type of cleaning is one that occurs after active Root Planing and Scaling therapy. It occurs at more frequent intervals to help you maintain the increased health you acquired after the root planing and scaling procedures. Since periodontal disease is episodic there may be times where the disease becomes more active. At times, additional therapy may be required. It is important to maintain your health at home and return to the dental office for maintenance appointments every 3 months.

For more information on how gum disease can affect your health visit http://oralsystemiclink.net


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