Dental Cleanings, Gum Treatments, & Preventative Dentistry in Mar Vista
Professional Teeth Cleanings in Mar Vista
A "prophy" or dental prophylaxis is our standard teeth cleaning. Teeth cleanings help maintain current dental health and prevent the progression of gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis).
Bacteria in the mouth collect on the tooth surfaces and underneath the gum line in the form of “plaque.” Over time, this dental plaque hardens to form tartar or “calculus” as calcium in our saliva crystallized within it.
These colonies of bacteria and other debris not only make your smile appear stained and your gums red, but they also cause inflammation in the gums, which can lead to permanent gum and bone damage.
No matter how well you take care of your teeth, some microscopic deposits of harmful bacteria inevitably form and need to be removed by a dental professional at least every six months. If left untreated, a more severe form of gum disease can initiate, which can not only result in tooth loss, but increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some early research also suggests Alzheimer’s Disease. (Gum disease-related bacteria have been found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients).
A comprehensive evaluation is required to determine the best interval and type of cleaning for each individual. But the American Dental Association recommends cleanings twice per year to maintain oral health. At our Mar Vista dental office, your cleaning will be completed by a registered dental hygienist or sometimes, a dentist and assistant.
At this visit, you can expect that we will measure your gums every one year, and at the initial exam. We will compare these measurements to the x-rays and help you with the type of cleaning best-suited to your periodontal condition.
Your teeth cleaning visit will typically last about 40 to 70 minutes.
Scaling and Root Planing (SRP)
Also referred to as “deep cleaning,” scaling and root planing is required when a patient’s gum health has deteriorated, and signs of permanent damage to the gums and underlying bone are evident. Risk factors for acquiring gum disease include genetics (a family history of gum disease), inconsistent oral hygiene, and diet. If left untreated, gum disease will eventually lead to tooth loss, so treatment must be rendered to stop or slow the progression of the disease.
In most cases, gum disease responds very well to our treatment modalities, and patients see a significant improvement in their gum health in 3 to 6 weeks. Once a patient receives treatment, their dentist will help establish a follow-up protocol to health ensure their gum health remains stable.
A comprehensive oral exam is conducted at your first visit to diagnose your level of health or disease, and a plan for recommended treatment will be discussed with you. In cases where patients are diagnosed with gum disease, it is best to forgo a “regular cleaning,” as it will not address the underlying disease appropriately.
The “deep cleaning” or scaling and root planing treatment involves cleaning thoroughly below the gum line to remove resilient tartar/calculus with the use of local anesthetic, ultrasonic instruments, and antimicrobials. By removing the source of chronic inflammation, promoting good home care, and re-evaluating every 3 to 4 months, we ensure that the gum disease is stabilized and does not reoccur.
You can expect your scaling procedure to be completed in quadrants. A typical deep cleaning series would include two, two-hour visits (one for each side of the mouth). A one-month re-evaluation and cleaning would be completed afterward to verify home care and progress towards better dental health!
Preventative Oral Care
It may be a surprising fact, but almost all dental disease is preventable. Even with a family history of lots of cavities and gum disease, measures can be taken to prevent these afflictions from affecting the next generation. At Vision Dental, we are extremely interested in teaching our patients about prevention.
Our ultimate mission is to empower our patients to maintain their oral health for life.
For most people, there’s no reason to continue to get gum disease and cavities. At your comprehensive exam, we will evaluate your current state of tooth and gum health (as well as screening for soft tissue abnormalities and oral cancer). Based on your current health, we will recommend ways for you to improve and maintain your oral health.
Here are some general tips that everyone should know:
Carbs Cause Cavities
It’s a fact: without carbohydrates in the diet (sugars, starches, and complex carbohydrates), no one would get cavities. This is because certain strains of bacteria that live on our teeth take the carbohydrates we ingest, metabolize (eat) them, and then excrete acid onto our teeth. This acid decays the tooth surface until a “hole” or cavity forms.
It’s important to note that carbohydrates are okay to eat. One must, however, monitor the frequency or the number of times per day one is eating carbohydrates. The more frequently carbohydrates are eaten, the higher the risk of cavities. The total amount of carbohydrates is not as crucial.
For example, which is worse?:
- Drinking a 12-oz soda with lunch in 10 minutes
- Sipping a 12-oz soda over the course of an hour
In this example, sipping soda over the course of an hour is much worse, because your teeth are exposed to the sugars (and acid) in the soda longer. Therefore, minimize snacking and sipping carbohydrate, starch, and sugar-rich foods throughout the day to reduce your risk of cavities.
Bleeding Gums Are Not “Normal”
While you may be aware of this, most people are unaware that healthy gums do not bleed on brushing or flossing. The American Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that almost half of adults over 30 have at least mild to moderate bone loss underneath their gums, indicating permanent damage to the supporting structures of teeth. This means more than half of adults are at risk of losing their teeth due to gum disease.
From the CDC: “A recent CDC report provides the following data related to the prevalence of periodontitis in the U.S. 47.2 percent of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease increases with age, 70.1 percent of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.”
Dental Cleanings & Preventative Dentistry in the 90064 Area
Contact Vision Dental Mar Vista for a routine dental exam, preventative exam, or to address bleeding gums or periodontal disease.