Prevention & Periodontal Care
Dental Cleaning and Examination
Having a regular dental cleaning is essential to good oral health. At Desoto Dental Services we offer professional dental hygiene therapy to remove hard calculus deposits (tartar) from your teeth both above and below the gumline, clean and polish your teeth, apply topical fluoride, and make diagnostic x-rays to ensure that any decay or other pathology to the teeth and bone of the jaws. Our hygienist and dentists will do a thorough examination of your lips, cheeks and gums to check for signs of gingivitis, periodontal disease, oral cancer, and any other signs of pathological conditions in your mouth.
We also provide oral health instruction in proper techniques of flossing and brushing, and dental pit and fissure sealants to help prevent decay in the chewing surfaces of your teeth. For information on the relationship between dental plaque and tooth decay, and how you can help prevent tooth decay, follow this link:
Pit & Fissure Sealants
Applied during a simple procedure, dental sealants dramatically reduce the potential for tooth decay. Dental sealants are thin plastic resin coatings that are bonded into the grooves of the chewing surface of the back teeth. Most tooth decay, especially in children and teenagers, occurs on the chewing surfaces where pits and grooves tend to collect bacteria resulting in decay.
Sealants cover the tooth surface and fill in these pits and grooves preventing bacteria and food particles from settling in.
Applying sealants is a simple and painless procedure and it takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. During the application of sealants the dentist will thoroughly clean the surface of the teeth and then bond the dental sealant onto the teeth.
Non-toxic and extremely effective, dental sealants have been shown to significantly reduce cavities. Children are obvious sealants candidates but many adults with high risk of decay choose sealant to keep teeth healthy and save time and money.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Often, during the course of a cleaning and examination, we discover inflammation or even infection in the gums and bone surrounding and supporting the teeth. This is known as Periodontal Disease. The word periodontal is derived from the Greek words meaning around (peri) and the tooth (odontos).
Periodontal diseases can affect one tooth or many teeth. The main cause of periodontal diseases is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If the plaque is not removed, it can turn into a hard substance called calculus or tarter. Tarter is so hard it can only be safely removed by an oral health professional, such as a dentist or dental hygienist. The bacteria in plaque infect the gums, and release poisons that cause redness and inflammation. The inflammation and the poisons themselves cause destruction of the tissues that support the teeth, including the bone. When this happens, the gums separate microscopically from the teeth, forming pockets that fill with even more plaque causing even more infection.
There is not just one cause of periodontal diseases, but multiple factors that can affect the health of your gums:
- TOBACCO use significantly increases the risk of developing periodontal disease and can also interfere with treatment.
- HORMONAL CHANGES during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause can cause the gums to become red, tender, and bleed easily.
- GENETICS and family history of periodontal diseases indicate a greater lil;ihood of developing these diseases.
- STRESS can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases.
- Some MEDICATIONS such as oral contraceptives and antidepressants can affect oral health.
- DESTRUCTIVE HABITS such as improper oral hygiene technique, oral piercing, drug or alcohol use can affect periodontal health.
- POOR NUTRITION can make it harder for the body to fight off infection.
- SYSTEMIC DISEASES that interfere with the body's immune system may worsen the condition of the gums and supporting bone.
What are the signs of Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal diseases are often silent, that is the symptoms may not be apparent until significant damage has already occurred. Common signs and symptoms of periodontal diseases include:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Gums pulling away from the teeth making teeth appear longer
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between the gum and tooth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should see your dentist for a complete periodontal examination.
How are Periodontal Diseases treated?
Treatment can vary depending on the severity of the disease. It can range from localized deep cleaning (scaling and root planing), to full mouth deep cleaning, to surgical therapy.
How can Periodontal Diseases be prevented?
The best way to prevent periodontal diseases and tooth decay is to thoroughly brush and floss every day. Routine care by a dentist or dental hygienist will help you keep your mouth healthy and to address any changes in your oral health before extensive damage occurs.
Cosmetic Periodontal Procedures
We offer laser surgery with a diode laser for some periodontal surgeries, such as frenectomies (lip tie), or for cosmetic recontouring of the gums to reduce or eliminate "gummy smile". Follow the technology link to learn more about the diode laser.