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Everything you Need to Know About Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and Root Planing is a process of deep cleaning below the gumline that helps to treat gum disease.

Why Do You Need It?

Gum disease is caused by a sticky film of bacteria known as plaque. Plaque is always forming on your teeth. However, if they aren’t cleaned well the bacteria in plaque will cause your gums to become inflamed. When this happens, your gums will pull away from your teeth and form gaps known as pockets. Plaque then gets trapped in these pockets and can’t be removed with regular brushing. If untreated, gum disease may lead to bone and tooth loss.

If gum disease is caught early and hasn’t caused any damage to the structures below the gum line, professional cleaning is needed. If the pockets between your gums and teeth are too deep, scaling and root planing might be required.

What Happens During Scaling and Root Planing?

This deep cleaning process has 2 components. Scaling is when your dentist removes all the plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) on top of and below the gumline. Your dentist can then begin root planing, smoothing out your teeth roots to assist your gums to reattach to your teeth. Scaling and Root Planing could take more than one visit to complete and may require a local anesthetic.

After Care Tips

After a deep cleaning, you may have sensitivity in your teeth and gums for a couple of days up to a week. Additionally, your gums could also be swollen, feel tender and bleed. To prevent infection and control pain or assist you to heal, your dentist can prescribe a pill or mouth rinse. Your dentist may also insert medication directly into the pocket that was cleaned. Your dentist can schedule a follow-up visit to see how your gums have healed and measure the depth of your pockets. Good dental care is essential to help keep gum disease from becoming serious or reoccur. Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft brush, clean between your teeth daily, follow your diet, avoid using tobacco and visit your dentist often.

Top 5 Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

It’s estimated that over 51,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer and cancers of the throat, tonsils, and back of the tongue each year. A dentist can check for symptoms of oral cancer during a scheduled check-up. Early detection of such cancers is beneficial for treatment, but you should also know the risk factors and habits that might put you at risk.  Changing a few potentially harmful habits may help reduce your chances of developing oral cancer. Read on to find out the top risk factors.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

The sexually transmitted disease is now associated with around 9,000 cases of head and neck cancer (explicitly those happening at the back of the tongue, in or around the tonsils) diagnosed every year in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People who are diagnosed with HPV related cancer tend to be young and non-smokers. People with HPV positive cancer have a lower risk of death or recurrence even though these cancers are often diagnosed at a later stage because it develops in difficult-to-detect areas.

Gender

Men are twice as likely to get oral cancer. The American Cancer Society attributes this to higher rates of liquor and tobacco use by men and more men of younger age are being diagnosed with HPV related form of oral cancer.

Age

Most people who are diagnosed with oral cancer are 55 or older. However, according to the American Cancer Society HPV related oral cancers are now being diagnosed in younger people as well. 

Tobacco

Whether you smoke it or chew tobacco, it drastically increases your risk for oral cancer. Smoking can cause oral cancer, as well as cancer in other parts of the body. Pipe smokers are also at a higher risk of developing cancer in their lips. Smokeless tobacco, like chew, can lead to numerous issues in your mouth, the most serious being cancer of the cheeks, gums, and lips.

Alcohol

According to the American Cancer Society, 7 of 10 oral cancer patients are heavy drinkers. Heavy drinking, as characterized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an average of two drinks per day or more for men and an average of more than one drink daily for women. If you are a heavy drinker and a heavy smoker, your chances of developing oral cancer significantly.

5 Questions to ask at your child’s Back-to-School dental visit

Some schools require a back-to-school dental exam and this is a good time to plan one of your child’s dental visits. A back-to-school dental visit will help to spot and deal with dental issues so your child doesn’t need to miss classes once school begins. This is also a good time to refocus on your child’s dental habits which may have fallen away during the summer.

Here are a few questions to ask at your child’s dental appointment:

How Is My Child’s Overall Dental Health?

The dentist will be looking at the big picture of your child’s mouth, including teeth and gums. The dentist will check to ensure that the teeth are lining up correctly, the child’s bite is in good shape and watch out for any orthodontic issues that may appear later. 

Will My Child Get a Cleaning Today?

Back-to-school is a great time to get a cleaning to make up for those times that your kids might have forgotten to use their toothbrush while busy with summer camps and activities.  However, a professional cleaning is an absolute necessity, no matter how well your kid brushes.  Even if you brush twice a day it’s not possible to get rid of all the bacteria that can lead to cavities. That’s why professional cleaning goes a long way. It expels a greater amount of cavity-causing bacteria, helps to keep gum tissues healthy, and keeps your smile bright.

Does My Child Need an X-Ray?

X-rays help your dentist understand how your child’s teeth are growing and ensure the tooth roots are healthy. They are also used to check whether there is any tooth decay between the child’s teeth. The decay process can advance quickly, so the earlier it is caught the better.

Can You Check My Child’s Mouthguard?

If your child plays sports, make sure to bring their mouthguard along so the dentist can check for wear, tear, and fit. If the child is having a growth spurt, losing teeth and getting new ones, the mouthguard might need to be replaced.

What Are Sealants and Does My Child Need Them?

Sealants can be another way to keep your child from getting cavities (but they are no replacement for regular brushing and flossing!). A sealant is a thin defensive coating (made from safe dental materials) that your dentist can place on the chewing surfaces of your child’s permanent back teeth (called molars). Once they’re on, sealants work to keep cavity-causing bacteria and bits of food from settling into the nooks and crannies your child’s toothbrush can’t reach. This helps stop cavities from forming and prevents tiny existing spots of decay from getting worse. 
Having sealants on your permanent molars reduces the risk of cavities by 80%. It’s best to get sealants as soon as your child’s permanent molars come through their gums (usually around age 6, then again around age 12). When permanent molars start coming in, parents should ask if sealants are recommended. Most sealants last for years, and the child’s dentist will make sure they’re holding strong at every regular visit.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Toothbrush

We love our toothbrushes because they are the tools that kick plaque to the curb, help keep cavities at bay (with the help of fluoride toothpaste, of course) and freshen our breath. But what else can we learn about them? Read on for some toothbrush facts.

When selecting your toothbrush, look for the ADA Seal. 

The ADA Seal of Acceptance is the gold standard for toothbrush quality. It’s how you’ll know that an independent body of scientific experts, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs has evaluated your toothbrush to make sure bristles won’t fall out with normal use, the handle will stay strong and the toothbrush will help reduce your risk for cavities and gum disease.

The toothbrush is 5,000 years old. 

In different forms, that is. Ancient civilizations used a “chew stick,” a skinny twig with a frayed finish, to get rid of food from their teeth. Over time, toothbrushes evolved and were made up of bone, wood or ivory handles and stiff bristles of hogs, boars or other animals. The modern nylon-bristled toothbrush we tend to use nowadays was invented in 1938.

The first mass-produced toothbrush was invented in prison. 

In 1770, an Englishman named William Addis was imprisoned for inciting a riot. He saw fellow prisoners using a rag covered in soot or salt to clean their teeth. Addis saved an animal bone from dinner and received bristles from a guard. He bored little holes into the bone, inserted the bristles and sealed them with glue. After his release, he modified his prototype, started a company and manufactured his toothbrush. The company, Wisdom Toothbrushes, still exists in the United Kingdom today.

Manual or powered? Your teeth don’t care.

You only got to brush twice every day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. (If your toothpaste has the ADA Seal, you’ll know it has fluoride.) Both manual and powered toothbrushes will effectively and completely clean your teeth. It all depends on which one you like and are more comfortable with. People who find it tough to use a manual toothbrush may find a powered toothbrush more comfortable. Check with your Dentist regarding which type is best for you.

There is no “correct” order for brushing and flossing.

Brushing before flossing, flossing before brushing—it doesn’t matter to your teeth, as long as you do both. 

Toothbrushes like to be left out in the open.

Cleaning your toothbrush is easy: Rinse it with water to get rid of any remaining toothpaste and debris. Store it upright and allow it to air dry. If you store your family’s toothbrushes all together, make sure they’re separated to prevent cross-contamination. Do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers, especially when the brush is wet from being used. A moist environment such as a closed container is more conducive to the growth of unwanted bacteria than the open air. 

Lifespan = 3-4 Months

Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do as good of a job cleaning your teeth. 

When it comes to choosing a brush, go soft.

Whether you use a manual or powered toothbrush, opt for a soft-bristled brush. Firm or even medium-strength bristles may cause damage to your gums and enamel. Once brushing your teeth, don’t scrub vigorously—only brush hard enough to clean the film off your teeth. Your fluoride toothpaste can do the rest of the work.

Remember 2 minutes, 2 times a day.

4 minutes a day goes a long way for your dental health. Put the time in each day to keep your smile healthy and keep up this twice-a-day habit.

Sharing is caring, but not for toothbrushes.
Sharing a toothbrush can mean you’re also sharing germs and bacteria. This could be a particular concern if you have a cold or flu to spread, or you have a condition that leaves your immune system compromised.

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