Our Hygienist will provide dental hygiene services which are generally divided into 2 categories, scaling and root planing, in addition to polish (rubber cup prophylaxis) and fluoride treatment.
Scaling is done to remove stain and calculus (tartar) deposits from the tooth surface. Almost all adults require scaling although the amount needed depends on the individual tendency to build stain and calculus. Some patients require minimal scaling, while others accumulate a significant amount in the same period of time. Due to this variation, the amount of time needed per dental hygiene appointment can vary and some individuals may need to attend more frequently to maintain good oral health.
If you have not had your teeth scaled in many years, the accumulation will likely be higher than it usually would be for periodic hygiene maintenance. The deposits become more firmly attached to the teeth making it more difficult to remove, which also takes more time, although this is not always the case.
Root planing is sometimes referred to as deep scaling or deep cleaning. When bone loss occurs due to inflammation, pockets can form under the gums making it difficult and often impossible for patients to brush and floss effectively at home. Without regular professional maintenance, the inflammation will persist resulting in more bone loss. This is periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss due to lack of support.
Polish (Rubber Cup Prophylaxis):
Almost all patients are offered a polish. It will remove plaque and most stain in children. Some adults will benefit from a polish if they have light stain.
Fluoride treatments are provided for all children and adolescent patients. Adults are offered fluoride treatments particularly those who have a high cavity rate. The method of fluoride dispensed is dependent on several factors including age, type and level of risk.
Our office utilizes 4 forms of fluoride:
Fluoride varnish is applied with a brush. It is easier to apply to very young children that may be susceptible to cavities. It is in contact with the teeth for a longer period of time to help remineralize weak areas in the teeth. Fluoride varnish application can benefit some older adults who may be susceptible to having root cavities (root caries).
Fluoride foam applied with a toothbrush:
Fluoride foam is sometimes applied with a toothbrush in young children whose cavity rate is low.
Fluoride foam dispensed in trays:
Fluoride dispensed in trays in commonly used for children and young adolescents.
Most teenagers and adults can still benefit from a fluoride application. Fluoride rinses help provide protection in those patients whose risk of cavities is low. Fluoride varnish or dispensed in trays is preferred in individuals with a high cavity rate.
No fluoride treatment:
In our office, we always respect patient autonomy in treatment choices for any procedure, including the option of no fluoride.