Periodontal (Gum) Care – Deep Cleaning
Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many. Plaque is the sticky, colorless film that forms on your teeth, and it contains bacteria. That bacteria causes the gums to become inflamed. In the mildest form of the disease, gingivitis causes the gums to redden, swell and bleed easily with little or no discomfort. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. Gums will separate from the teeth, forming pockets between the teeth and gums and leading to more severe infection. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue or bone become destroyed. Periodontal cleaning with scalers and electronic instruments designed to aid in the removal of plaque or hardened calculus are our most commonly recommended solutions. In addition to scaling, we’ll polish the surface of the teeth to delay the accumulation of plaque. We will then give you specific at-home oral hygiene instructions and see you every three-to-six months for a periodontal cleaning.
Dental X-rays are a used to detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. Your oral health, age, risk for disease and current signs or symptoms for oral disease will determine how frequently you need x-rays. For example, children may require X-rays more often than adults because their teeth and jaws are still developing.
While the dose of radiation exposure during standard dental X-rays is extremely small, Southeastern Dental Group has eliminated this concern by only using digital X-rays.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screenings are performed during your regular exam to look for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. We will only recommend additional tests to identify abnormal cells if we feel there is a valid concern.
Factors that can increase your risk of oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use of any kind: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff
- Heavy alcohol use
- Previous oral cancer diagnosis
- History of significant sun exposure (increases the risk of lip cancer)
Abscess and Swelling
A dental abscess is an infection at the root of a tooth, in the space between the teeth and gums or in the bone. It is a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth because the infection can spread to other parts of the face or blood if left untreated. Please call us right away if you have an abscess! You might need antibiotics, root canal treatment or a tooth extraction.
In the meantime, try the following for relief.
- Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth or use dental floss to dislodge any food.
- Take over the counter pain-killers as directed. Do not put aspirin or any other pain-killer directly against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue.
- Eat only soft foods to avoid further irritation.
- If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek.
- If you have an emergency, please contact us immediately. We are on-call 24 hours a day for any dental emergency.
After a complete dental exam with X-rays, your dentist can predict which teeth are at risk for cavities. Dental sealants act as a preventative barrier from plaque and bacteria when thorough brushing and flossing are not effective enough at removing bacteria from at-risk back teeth. Dental sealants are not easily noticed because they have the same color and appearance of your natural teeth. Sealants stay in place for several years. However, they will eventually need to be replaced due to normal wear.