Teeth Cleaning – A Scientific Way To Keep Your Teeth
Seems simple, twice a day, brush your teeth and “floss the ones you want to keep.” How do you know how well you are doing?
As gingivitis and periodontitis are painless, you don’t. You can’t feel plaque with your tongue, since it hides between your teeth and under your gums. A dentist can gauge how well you are cleaning by looking and probing the gums. If they are red, they are inflamed. Plaque is barely visible when the gums are wet. Drying the gums may show deposits on the teeth, which are either soft (plaque) or hard (calculus). The aim is to get it all off.
Calculus forms a scaffold like coral that harbors plaque. Hygienists or dentists need to take the calculus off. We teach you how to get the soft plaque off yourself. Under the gums is a different story. The space between the teeth and gums is measured with a probe. The larger the numbers the more space there is for bacteria. These bacteria cause no symptoms but destroy the bone holding the roots.
The frequency you need a professional cleaning depends on how fast you form calculus, and whether your gums bleed with gentle probing, which indicates disease activity.
Teeth cleaning is complex. There are hundreds of surfaces (each tooth has five), hidden places between the teeth and under the gums. We all have limited time and dexterity. There are ways to increase both your time and accuracy to remove plaque.
The way I have found to best help my patients is to show them what they need to clean off.
Paint disclosing solution on and between the teeth.
Wash the excess off. The missed areas will turn red/blue.
Determine by scraping if the stained areas are soft or hard.
Take pictures of where you are missing and show you the disclosed plaque and calculus. (cell phone or camera)
Work with you to determine which tools will help you to get plaque off at home.
Mechanical removal of plaque is most natural. When that does not work, we prescribe chemical plaque control. Dentists and hygienists clean the plaque and calculus off your teeth and under the gums, and can advise you as to where you are missing. Keep the plaque levels low.
This is a way to keep you and your teeth together for a lifetime.
Dr. Ian van Zyl
445 March Ave. Suite C
Healdsburg, CA 95448