We sometimes have a patient come in who hasn’t seen a dentist in half a decade. If you’re a regular every six months kind of patient that may seem somewhat incredible, but it’s not that unusual. In fact, recent statistics from the American Dental Association show that over 20% of people haven’t been to the dentist in at least five years.
Many of those patients just don’t see the need, they assume they’re doing fine brushing their teeth and flossing (once every new phase of the moon, at least!) and that’s sufficient to keep their teeth healthy. How different can a professional cleaning and exam with the team at Implant Dentistry of Florida be, they wonder?
Why our cleanings matter
Attentive home hygiene is a critical component of a healthy mouth, but no matter how diligent the care at home, you will still build tartar. Dental plaque is a sticky film that builds on your teeth all day long. Plaque consists of the carbohydrates from foods you ate and bacteria that thrive on those carbohydrates. When bacteria ingest this food they produce acids that attack the enamel on your teeth. When you brush diligently twice daily and floss you remove the plaque from your teeth, but it immediately starts to rebuild. No one can get rid of all the plaque, and plaque left alone hardens into what is known as tartar or calculus. Tartar is the rough, off-white-colored stuff that builds up in certain areas of your mouth, such as the inside of your lower front teeth. Tartar cannot be removed at home; it has to be removed by a hygienist or dentist using a dental pick. That’s the stuff our excellent hygienists at Implant Dentistry work on when cleaning your teeth. They have to break off the tartar.
Tartar builds up on patients’ teeth to a degree that it needs attention after about six months. If left alone, that tartar will continue to build and it will begin to push under the gumline. This is the beginning of gum disease, and that’s not a road you want to go down.
But by keeping your professional cleanings and exam appointments at Implant Dentistry of Florida, and using good home hygiene, none of this has to happen. Your appointments can be minimal and you can enjoy excellent oral health for the duration.
What is involved in my appointments?
There are two parts to these appointments. First is your professional cleaning with one of our hygienists. The goal is to completely clean your teeth, take x-rays, look for decay, and monitor a couple of items such as your gums. This is what our hygienists will do:
- Remove the plaque from your teeth.
- Use a dental pick and to remove any built-up tartar.
- Polish your teeth with a special abrasive paste to remove stains.
- Look at the height of your gums to check for gum recession.
- Take x-rays, if you are due.
The second part of your appointment is the dental exam with Dr. Brown or Dr. Vaughn. The purpose of these exams is to diagnose and head off problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease before they really take hold. For instance, catching tooth decay when it first invades the enamel of your tooth is dramatically different than finding it once it has entered the interior, the dentin, of the tooth. That’s the difference between placing a small filling and the tooth needing to have a root canal to save it from extraction. Your dental exam will include these steps:
- Visual examination for tooth decay
- Gum disease evaluation
- Evaluation of the health of existing restorations: fillings, crowns, bridges, etc.
- Oral cancer screening
- Examination of x-rays to look for problems, such as hidden decay, cysts, tumors, and the like, that cannot be seen with the naked eye
If decay or gum disease is spotted, those issues may then be addressed immediately or you may return to have a filling placed or for procedures such as gum scaling and root planing.
Now, do you see the value of your six-month appointments with the team at Implant Dentistry of Florida? Is it time for your cleaning? Call us at (321) 372-7700 to make your appointment.