Dental Hygiene & Cleanings
One of the best ways to keep your smile healthy and prevent future dental problems is with a routine visit to your dentist. At such a visit, you will see your dentist and hygienist and receive an important examination, an oral cancer screening, and a professional cleaning. We take a preventative approach to the care we offer and our goal is to keep your mouth healthy so that future (and often costly) dental problems can be avoided.
Our hygienists are some of the best in their field and have all undergone extensive training that goes above and beyond that required by the State of Colorado for their Dental Hygiene License. In addition, our hygienists truly care about you and your wellbeing. They are passionate about preventative care and helping you maintain a healthy smile.
70% of adults suffer from some form of gum disease and over 70% of all adult tooth loss is caused by gum disease. The effects of gum disease are minimized by identifying it in its very early stages, treating it appropriately, and managing it consistently over time.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease (Periodontal Disease) is characterized by swollen, inflamed gums surrounding the teeth. Plaque, a sticky substance that forms in the mouth from food, saliva, and bacteria, gets inside the space between the gum line and the tooth. If not removed, plaque hardens into a substance called calculus or tartar that is very difficult to remove. Eventually, the bacteria in the plaque and tartar eat away at the fibers that hold the gums to the teeth, creating deep pockets. As bacteria spread, the pockets become deeper until the bacteria finally eat away the bone that holds the tooth in place.
Think of it as if bugs are eating away at the soil around a tree trunk. Eventually, they eat away all of the soil that supports the roots, causing the tree to fall.
A preventative approach
Dr. Owens and our team take steps during each patient’s appointment to prevent gum disease. During a comprehensive exam, Dr. Owens and his team examine the health of your gums by doing a thorough periodontal charting. This, along with images and x-rays taken in the mouth, can reveal the early stages of periodontal disease, which is often referred to as gingivitis. In this stage, early detection, treatment and improved home care are imperative to avoid more serious gum disease.
Symptoms of gum disease can include:
- Gums that bleed when you floss
- Swollen or tender gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
Treatments for gum disease
Gum disease is treated by carefully removing the bacteria and tartar that form in the pockets around the teeth. The removal of this material occurs on a microscopic level and requires great skill. Our team has advanced training regarding how to effectively remove bacteria and tartar from the hard-to-reach areas.
This process of removing the debris usually requires several visits to our office. Once it has been removed, the pockets must be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis by your dentist. Otherwise, the debris will return and the bacteria will continue to cause damage to the support structures of your teeth.
Keep in mind that once you have periodontal disease, you will always have the disease due to the damage that it does to your body. Careful daily hygiene and regular dental visits to clean your pockets are required. After the initial dental appointments to remove bacteria, you will be placed on a regular appointment schedule called “periodontal maintenance” to maintain healthy gums.
Remember, it is always better to prevent disease than to treat disease.
While there is no single cause, common factors contributing to gum disease include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Genetic predisposition
- Crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
- Specific medications
- Teeth grinding
For further reading, see the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) – Periodontal Disease.