We all know the recommended saying. Brush, floss and visit your dental office twice a year. But what is so important about that twice yearly appointment, and what are they trying to do while you are there?
There are key factors to a dental exam
For starters, your appointment should include an exam, and in that exam they should be checking for any lumps, bumps or abnormalities. Although I haven’t had my teeth cleaned in over 4 years (yes I said it, and you can get there too if you want), I still visit the dentist for an exam. Oral cancer is on the rise again and I want to make sure that I am healthy.
Then you get to the nitty gritty of the appointment, the “cleaning”. This consists of various tools to clean above and below the gum line in order to remove the plaque and tartar. Although this seems easy enough, tartar below the gum line is often hard to remove because the hygienist (or dentist) is using their fingers to “feel” the tartar. To make things more difficult, if the instruments aren’t really sharp only the top portion of the tartar is removed, leaving what is called burnished calculus (calculus is the clinical term for tartar). Burnished tartar may seem smooth, but in fact it is rough and allows bacteria to hold on to it which is how plaque grows and increases the negative bacteria in the gums. This is the all time recipe for gum disease and infection.
Why Periogen, and water flossing?
Using Periogen is amazing for the simple fact that it dissolves tartar build up, and if you missed the post on what it is all about, click here and then come back when you are done…..go ahead, I’ll wait…..
Now that you have gotten the jest of Periogen, it’s important to understand that rinsing with it does not allow the solution to get under the gum line and in between the teeth, which is where that nasty tartar is hanging out. An irrigator however, flushes out the pocket, and delivers Periogen to the root surface which is where burnished calculus lives. If you want to know more about irrigation, click here to learn the benefits.
I’ve been told I need deep cleanings and would like another option
Deep cleanings seem to be the in style thing right now! Why? Well that answer is twofold. The first is that most people have some form of gum disease, and the other is because deep cleanings are far more beneficial to the dental office in terms of money generated.
In the past, dental offices would take the first appointment and examine a patient and if there were areas of disease present they would teach the patient how to work on their home care, send them home for a few weeks and see what the patient could achieve on their own and then re-evaluate the situation.
Nowadays many offices jump straight into deep cleanings, many of them doing all 4 sections of your mouth in 1-2 visits with little to no numbing.
LET ME BE CLEAR ABOUT SOMETHING…WHEN DEEP CLEANINGS ARE DONE THOROUGHLY, IT WILL USUALLY REQUIRES SOME FORM OF NUMBING AGENT, AND USUALLY MORE THAN JUST TOPICAL GEL.
If you are able to sit through a deep cleaning without anesthesia, chances are that you may not need the extensive $600-$1,000 procedure, and it may be something that you can tackle at home with better knowledge and the right tools!
Deep cleanings can be great, but daily home care is still important
Instead of jumping into that deep cleaning, try something like 21 Days to a Healthy Mouth an online e-course; this will give you daily how to instructions that will help you get to the areas that may be having an issue. Invest in products like Periogen and either a Hydrofloss or a Water Pik (personally I like the one for kids because it is pressure regulated not to damage the gums which many can do).
Learn how to really clean and massage the gums, learn how to use alternatives to flossing, and be certain that you see the areas that need deep cleaning (preferably with a camera that shows in the mouth).
What can I do in order to take care of my mouth?
Know what a healthy area of your mouth looks like, and know what the areas that are infected look like. Look at the difference in gum color and texture, and ask to see it again when you go back to the office. Don’t be afraid to ask and learn, because chances are that if someone is rushing into these procedures they are going to be too rushed to do a thorough job!
Know what areas need treatment because you need to know how to care for those areas regardless of whether or not you get the deep cleanings because it will come back again…..remember the creator of Periogen and his story. He was facing round 2 of gum surgery which sparked his quest for creating a product that does what dentistry called impossible…it dissolves tartar!
What issues have you experienced with deep cleanings? Leave a comment and let’s talk about real life situations!