You’re a good person – you pay your taxes, pick up litter, and make it to the dentist every 6 months. Now you’re being told you may need a deep cleaning…but don’t you clean your teeth every day? And isn’t a deep cleaning what the dentist always does? Not quite, although we know it can sometimes feel that way.
A regular dental cleaning is what you are accustomed to receiving every 6 months. The intention of this visit to the dentist is to maintain your healthy gums and give your teeth a little extra attention. Plaque and tartar can be difficult to completely remove with a toothbrush and floss alone. If you are brushing and flossing every day and taking any other steps recommended by your dentist, a regular dental cleaning is the perfect addition to your regular oral care that will keep your smile happy and healthy.
Deep cleaning, a necessity?
A deep cleaning, on the other hand, is what becomes necessary when the health of your teeth and gums become jeopardized by gum disease (or ‘periodontitis’). Perhaps you try to floss daily but somehow it averages to once a week ( and that is on a good week). Then there was the time that you had to cancel your dental cleaning and never got around to making another appointment. Now it’s been three years since your last check up and you noticed your gums are sore and bleeding a little in the back. This is the start of periodontal disease.
To put it in perspective, your gums are supposed to be tight and provide a healthy seals around your teeth. A standard part of your regular cleaning includes your doctor or dental hygienist checking this tissue. A measuring tool is used to measure the depth of the space between your gums and teeth. Typically 1-3mm of depth is considered normal and there should be very little or no bleeding at all. Depths of 4 mm or more is a sign that you are losing the bone around your teeth. Bleeding gums is evidence that there is “gunk” (plaque and tartar) below the gumline causing inflammation and infection around your teeth. The ‘pockets’ becomes a prime breeding ground for bacteria and tartar buildup. Plaque that is not brushed and flossed away and left on the teeth for more than 24 hours will harden and become tartar. Once the plaque hardens only your dental professional can remove it. Left unattended, the bacteria grows and the bone around the teeth disappears. When the pockets deepen they compromise the tooth. A deep cleaning to remove these bacterial deposits is needed to help you get your smile back on track. Suggestions for additional homecare protocol will also be discussed to keep periodontal disease under control.
Deep cleaning is not a scary process.
Oftentimes we will break the cleaning into two separate visits to most effectively treat your mouth. This is especially important if your entire mouth needs attention. We can use anesthetic and treat smaller sections of your mouth making for a completely comfortable process and quick recovery. The most common forms of treatment are ‘scaling’ and ‘root planing’. The process of scaling involves using a professional tool to remove plaque and tartar from both the surface of the teeth, and the pocket area that has been created between your teeth and gums. A ultrasonic instrument removes plaque and tartar from the deeper root surface of your teeth. This is below the gum line and not visible but very important in treating the cause of the gum infection. Without getting to the bottom of the pocket, periodontal disease progresses and tooth loss is inevitable. The good news is they do a wonderful job of cleaning up any tartar that has built up beneath the visible surface.
Periodontitis is a progressive disease and left unattended can turn into a much more serious problem. Fortunately the treatment is typically straightforward and the bacteria should be reduced to manageable levels. Your gums will heal and lose any signs of redness of bleeding. If you are feeling pain or sensitivity in your teeth, have red and/or puffy gums, or are experiencing bleeding during normal brushing and flossing – call Stumpf Dental at 262-970-0111. The sooner periodontitis is identified the easier it is to treat and the less expensive it is for you. We would be happy to evaluate your oral health and get you back on. Remember that preventive dentistry is far less expensive than dental neglect. Take care of your teeth or they will be FALSE to you.
Easter means many things to different families everywhere, but one thing that remains consistent is the appearance of candy! Whether it’s hidden in eggs or just passed around, it is definitely part of the celebration. Sweets make for some excellent treats, and there is no reason not to indulge (in moderation of course)! However, all candies are not created equal, and it may be worth knowing which ones you can have relatively guilt free, and which could spell trouble for your wonderful smile.
When it comes to Easter indulgences, chocolate may make it onto the nice list – we know, this is great news to many of you. The less forgiving candies are the ones that make that all-too-familiar CRUNCH! Hard candies, like lollipops or jolly ranchers, can be a tempting treat to bite. At best, they pack pieces of sugar into hard to reach grooves of your teeth. Saliva can have a difficult time breaking down those sugars and they remain there for long periods of time. Worst case scenario is that crunch sound includes a sharp pain followed by a broken tooth, and sends you straight from your Sunday activities into our office. We do love seeing our patients, but not at the expense of their healthy smile! This happens more often than you think. Some who are prone to absentmindedly crunching on ice have discovered the dangers of biting down on those crunchy munchies. Teeth that have fillings in them are at even greater risk of fracture. They are weakened by the restoration. The larger the filling, the greater the fracture risk. Your teeth are durable for normal eating and chewing, but anything that causes too much stress runs the risk of chipping, cracking or breaking one of your pearly whites. Before you try to impress your friends with breaking that jaw breaker in half, remember that it earned that name for a good reason.
Even if you resist that satisfying crunch, there are still a few other points of concern for hard candies that you don’t run into with other options (like chocolate!). Hard candies that you suck on tend to spend a long period of time in your mouth. During this time, plaque on your teeth will turn that sugar into acid. This acid can be very concentrated and build up quickly while that candy slowly dissolves. This can be a quick way to damage the enamel. Consider this next time you find yourself unwrapping that tootsie pop, an after-meal mint or even one of those little Altoid mints. Perhaps you (or your child) might enjoy a stick of sugar free gum instead. It’s not often that the solution for a sweet treat is yet another sweet treat, but you’re in luck. This time it is! The increased saliva produced while chewing gum can actually help dislodge and break down the remaining sugar in your mouth. Saliva is nature’s way of buffering and neutralizing those nasty acids that plaque produces. It does NOT replace your toothbrush and floss, but it is still helpful.
There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t see a patient with old silver fillings in their teeth. Some of these old restorations have weathered the test of time well, while others have not. It is the old silver filling that doesn’t hurt that concerns me the most. As you can see in the photo to the left, this tooth has some caries and structural issues. The patient reported that it never bothered her, yet the cracks are obvious.
As We Age Our Teeth Become Less Sensitive
The nerves become smaller and less responsive to any stimulation. It is Mother Nature’s way of protecting us from toothaches. Unfortunately this is often misinterpreted by many that if it doesn’t hurt, it is not a problem. After all, “how bad can it be if I don’t feel it?” The truth is that things ARE happening to their teeth, but they are not getting any warning of a developing problem. When the tooth both fractures and requires a root canal to restore, the patient is surprised. “I was eating a piece of toast and my tooth broke!” or “I must have soft teeth. They keep breaking”, is commonly heard.
When I removed the old filling from the tooth above, I took this second photo. Now the decay and cracks are more evident (see image below). Fortunately, I was able to restore this tooth. The decay was removed, the tooth was disinfected to prevent further decay under the restoration and the nerve was protected with a medication in the deepest parts. A crown was placed to keep the tooth from cracking further. The patient was able to save her tooth and save $1,500.00 by avoiding a root canal as well. This is preventative dentistry at its best.
Technology Allows Us to Examine Your Teeth Better Than Ever
Dental radiographs do not tell the whole story. I would be happy to use today’s technology of cameras and spectra analysis to identify problems you may have in your own mouth. My staff will help you set up an appointment time that is convenient for you. You can call 262-970-0111 or visit my website, BestCareInTheChair.com for more information. Don’t assume things are fine until you have had a complete dental exam. Together, we will help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.
Pewaukee dentists can help you with dry mouth! Dryness causes food and plaque to stick to your teeth and tongue. It stinks! Brush with an electric tooth brush. I like Sonicare. It does a good job. FLOSS too. Brushing and flossing combined will help.
Don’t Forget Your Tongue!
Now, get a tongue scraper and scrape the goo off. Keep on top of it daily. If u use a mouthwash, be sure it is alcohol free. Alcohol dehydrates and makes things worse. Listerine Zero is one brand. Why are you so dry? Ask your MD for answers.
The DEA license every doctor has to have from the Federal gov. has classes of drugs. Each Dr. applies for the type of drugs they need to be able to prescribe. Each state has its own laws regarding these classes of drugs as well. Check with the state you are in to know for sure.
We are all aware that brushing your teeth on a regular basis prevents cavities and keeps your smiling. However, there are many other surprising benefits, including these eight that don’t have to do with your teeth!
According to a study published in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, participants who did not brush on a regular basis had a 65 percent greater chance of developing dementia compared to those who did brush. So don’t forget to brush!
A study in The American Journal of Medicine found that regular brushing decreases the chance of stroke! Wow – two very serious diseases can be curtailed with good oral hygiene, and the list goes on…
As any dentist, hygienist or physician can tell you, regular brushing (and flossing) helps to prevent gum disease. You may not know that along with causing stinky breath and unattractive smiles, gum disease is a major indicator of heart disease and the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology has shown that increased brushing decreases the risk of respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and COPD. Why? Bacteria which form on the teeth make their way into the lungs and respiratory tract, wreaking havoc along the way.
Dental researcher Dr. Caitia Gazola has shown that having healthy teeth and gums increases the chances of having healthy babies, while dental disease can cause underweight, pre-term babies. And men – you aren’t off the hook! We strongly suspect that not brushing your teeth regularly can exclude you from the whole pregnancy process!
Prevention magazine has reported that regular brushing can help you maintain a healthy weight! Why? Brushing your teeth indicates to your brain that mealtime is over. Plus – food just doesn’t taste as good with squeaky clean teeth!
Okay guys – here’s your turn. Several studies have shown that men with poor oral hygiene are at greater risk for erectile dysfunction. Scared yet???
Have a heart – a healthy one that is! The American Journal of Medicine has linked dental health with heart attack risk.
So if clean teeth, fresh breath, a beautiful smile and fewer cavities aren’t enough, here are eight reasons why brushing your teeth on a regular basis can save your life! Plus let’s face it – going around with a big piece of tomato stuck between your chompers is not the most attractive look in the world!
Just as important as brushing your teeth is doing it correctly. If you are not getting regular dental cleanings, your efforts aren’t nearly as effective.
At Dr. Janelle Ferber-Stumpf’s office, we care about your dental health and your medical health too!! If you have any questions or need to make an appointment, please call us right away at (262) 970-0111. We are here to help you!!