Frequently Asked Questions

On your first “cleaning” visit, the hygienist will measure your gum tissue with a fine instrument with ruler markings to calibrate your “pocket depth” and attachment levels of your gums. They do this by measuring the space between your gums and teeth. Pocket depths more than 4 millimeters could indicate disease and infection as it is easier for bacteria to collect and infect the gum tissue causing gum disease.

We also check for areas where the gums may have receded. X-rays are taken to compare bone levels with gum measurements as well as look for infection between the teeth and around the roots. You will also receive a comprehensive examination including a screening for gum and bone disease, systemic disorders, and oral cancer.

The type of cleaning needed will then be determined. A Prophylaxis (routine cleaning) are completed for those with healthy gums, removing the soft plaque and tartar below and above the gums. When disease is present, tooth scaling and root planing is needed and will be explained if present.

For patients who have healthy mouths, routine cleanings are recommended every 6 months. For those with periodontal (gum) disease it is usually recommended more frequently (about every 3-4 months). The hygienist will discuss with you.
A complete set of radiographs are taken every 3-5 years. Then we take the routine bitewing X-rays every year. Usually every other cleaning. The X-rays of the roots and others are taken as needed in between.
Soft bristled toothbrushes are always the best. Stiffer bristles or pushing harder will most likely just contribute to tooth abrasion. Electric toothbrushes are beneficial as research shows they remove more plaque and bacteria than manual. Either way, just make sure to use soft bristles and soft pressure.
A cavity is a type of hole in the tooth that develops from bacteria and tooth decay. They form when bacteria in the mouth erode through the enamel of the tooth. This is why oral homecare is so important.
Keep the floss between your fingers and pull it tight. Use index fingers to gently push the floss using a zig zag motion between where the teeth touch. Gently make a “c” shape around the sides of each tooth and slide gently up and down under the gumline.