Dental Hygiene

general-dentistry-img-2You may not realise it, but the health of your gums are directly related to your general health. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, then you could be experiencing gum disease.

This is painless until the late stages of the disease and is the number one cause for people losing teeth in Ireland, along with discolouring your teeth. The truth about gum disease is that it is 100% preventable with good oral hygiene and regular check ups. If there has been a build up of plaque ( bacterial film on the teeth) or hard tartar ( hardened plaque) on the teeth, then we will offer a cleaning to help the gums back to health, prevent disease and improve their appearance. Based on the need, this may be a simple ‘Scale and Polish’ or a special Hygiene therapy session.

Did you know, recent studies have linked gum ideas to numerous general health issues such as inflammatory heart disease, stroke, diabetes and auto-immune diseases? As a result of this work, it is more important than ever for you to look after your health.

1. How are teeth cleaned?

Ultrasonic Instrumentation
This high tech piece of equipment works to gently remove the hardened plaque that has built up on the teeth. It vibrates ultrasonically to remove plaque so gives a tickle sensation, similar to an electric tooth brush. It has many settings and can be adjusted to make sure the patient is completely comfortable. In some cases, for very sensitive teeth we may offer anaesthetic to prevent any discomfort.

Hand Instrumentation
For patients with very sensitive teeth or in cases where it is not practical to use an automated ultrasonic scaler, we use hand instruments for plaque removal. This is painless, the patient will feel a gentle pressure on the tooth as it is being cleaned and once finished the teeth are polished.

The final stage in any cleaning, this is designed to removed and residual or tough external staining that is left on the teeth to improve their colour, while bringing the surface texture of the teeth back to their original smooth feeling.

2. Does it hurt to have your teeth cleaned?

Tooth cleaning in most cases is a completely painless procedure. Most patients have commented, that they enjoy attending for a regular cleaning as their mouth feels so much fresher. For patients with receding gums ( exposing the more sensitive root), advanced gum disease and large amounts of plaque, we will have to take extra care to make the procedure as comfortable as possible while delivering the benefits of a clean mouth and good oral health.

3. Should I worry about Gum Disease?

general-dentistry-img-3Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues around and supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease: Gingivitis and Periodontal disease.

Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become red and swollen, it is a painless infection but when they are in this swollen state, they will often bleed during brushing and flossing.

Periodontal Disease
Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types and stages of periodontal disease that need to be diagnosed accurately. If the disease gets worse, it leads to the bone surrounding the teeth breaking down, eventually making the teeth loose. This is the number one cause of losing a tooth.

What causes Gum Disease
All gum diseases are caused and aggravated by the presence of plaque. It is a preventable disease, that responds well to regular cleanings and prevention therapy. If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, then it becomes To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and flossing.

If it’s not treated, what happens?
Unfortunately, gum disease progresses painlessly on the whole so that you do not notice the damage it is doing. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost and may result in an unstable tooth. The key to any treatment is prevention and we will help you plan this long term strategy to keep the gums healthy.

How do I know if I have gum disease?
The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. There are also signs such as bad breath, tongue deposits and metallic tastes that can be related to gum disease.

Am I more at risk if I am a Smoker of Pregnant?
Yes, the rate of progression of the infection from simple gingivitis to periodontal disease in both smokers and pregnancy are far higher and as a result, we advise regular check ups during pregnancy and we make a large effort to prevent any damage to your gums during this period. For smokers, we will do everything we can to help you quit, while doing our best to prevent any long term damage to your gums.

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