Dental Exams and Cleanings

Mill Creek General Dentist

As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We hold to that adage at The Forum Dental Group. Preventing dental problems with dental exams and a preventative cleanings before they have a chance to get started is the best way to stay healthy, keep your smile beautiful and keep money in the bank. We also understand that it is not always that easy to do. With our comprehensive dental exams, regular checkups and cleanings you will have more than a fighting chance to keep your mouth in tip top shape.

Coming in for a comprehensive dental exam provides a base line for your oral care. Your mouth is meticulously examined for any problems that may exist or may be on the verge of cropping up. Current dental issues are noted on your treatment plan so that they can be addressed before they have a chance to turn into something more serious. Neglecting regular checkups opens the door to issues that can creep up on you slowly. Time goes by and before you know it you have a full-blown problem on your hands – and in your mouth. Regular checkups and annual cleanings prevent such things from happening.

Getting a comprehensive dental exam can literally be a lifesaver. Most people think of the dental exam as a time for checking whether or not cavities or gum disease is present. Certainly, that is a critical part of the dental exam; however, another little known but critical part is the oral cancer screening. Only around 20% of adults are examined for oral cancers annually. Finding oral cancers early can literally save your life. Oral cancer is one of the easiest cancers to cure and a comprehensive dental exam can discover the problem before it has an opportunity to grow into something dangerous. Comprehensive exams also are a means of detecting other developing problems. Wisdom teeth, for example, will often grow in and become impacted. Keeping an eye on their development and addressing the issue early can mitigate the discomfort they can cause. Keep your mouth in great shape with regular checkups and cleanings provided by the excellent staff at The Forum Dental Group. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

Dental cleanings – Preventative Teeth Cleaning
A professional teeth cleaning at our dental office is the only way to remove tartar, which traps bacteria along the gum line and leads to infection of your gums (periodontal disease). With regular preventative teeth cleanings, you have a strong chance of keeping your natural teeth your whole life.

The single most important factor of a healthy mouth is clean teeth. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly removes food particles and bacteria that can lead to decay and gum disease.

While cleaning your teeth regularly at home remains very important, you will need to visit your dentist on a regular basis for a professional cleaning.

A professional preventative cleaning involves the removal of plaque and tartar from your teeth, even below the gum line, where you cannot reach with your toothbrush at home. Dr. LaMarche recommends most patients receive a professional preventative cleaning at least once every six months to keep their mouths healthy and clean.

Keeping Your Teeth Clean at Home
One of the most important things you can do for your oral and overall health is keeping your teeth clean between dental visits. Dr. LaMarche feels that his patients should know the correct way to clean their teeth at home, to avoid damaging enamel or missing an area of the mouth.

When brushing your teeth at home, be sure to use a brush with soft bristles, and avoid using too much pressure. Excess pressure or hard bristles will damage the enamel of the teeth, leaving them vulnerable to bacteria.

While you should try to brush after every meal, do not do it right away. Whenever possible, wait about 30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth. The acids in the food and beverages you consume weaken the enamel, making it vulnerable to abrasion if you brush too soon.

You have probably heard that you should brush your teeth for at least two minutes. Unfortunately, most people concentrate on one or two areas during that two minutes. Dr. LaMarche recommends dividing the mouth into quadrants, like upper left, lower right, etc. Spend 30 seconds on each quadrant, and you’ll hit your two-minute goal, while cleaning your entire mouth. For patients who prefer electronic toothbrushes, many newer models will buzz every 30 seconds, alerting you to switch to another quadrant.

What Happens During a Professional Preventative Dental Cleaning?
Your cleaning will take place during your regular dental checkup. A preventive dental cleaning, or prophylaxis, involves the removal of plaque, tartar, and stains from the teeth.

Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria and sugars, causes cavities and gum disease. If not removed daily through brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into tartar, or calculus. Even those who brush and floss regularly will experience some buildup of plaque and tartar around the gums and in between teeth.

The hygienist will begin the cleaning by using a hooked instrument, called a scaler in conjunction with an ultrasonic scaler, to gently remove plaque and tartar deposits from the surface of your teeth and around your gum line. She will then polish your teeth with an abrasive paste and finish with a flossing to make sure all build up and tartar are removed and remove and polishing paste left behind.

This will remove minor stains from your teeth, and provide a smooth surface on your teeth, making it difficult for bacteria to gather there. Dr. LaMarche typically recommends a fluoride treatment after your cleaning, to help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and guard them against attacks from decay.

Scaling and Root Planing (Gum Infection Cleaning)
Sometimes, we discover deep pockets between the gums and teeth during the cleaning. If we find these pockets, a sign of periodontal disease, we may need to do a deeper cleaning to remove plaque and infection from under the gum line and on the roots of the teeth.

Scaling and root planing work together as a non-surgical treatment for gum disease. The treatment allows for the healthy regeneration of gum tissue through careful cleaning and smoothing of the tooth roots. During the scaling procedure, the hygienist will use the scaler to scrape tartar from the tooth roots above and below the gum line. Root planing involves smoothing out the rough spots on your tooth roots where germs tend to gather, helping to eliminate harmful bacteria. These procedures take a little longer, and may require a separate appointment.

Debridement or Gingival Inflammation Therapy
If you have not visited the dentist in a while, you may have a greater buildup of plaque and tartar as well as inflamed gums. In this case, you may require a full mouth debridement.

This procedure will feel very similar to a regular cleaning, with the hygienist using a scaler to remove the plaque and tartar. The number of plaque and tartar deposits present, however, will make this a longer procedure, and in some cases, we may have to move your examination to a separate visit after the debridement