cowichan valley dental centre Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene

Professional Dental Cleaning

 
A professional dental cleaning will be performed by one of our Registered Dental Hygienists. The following services may be provided during your dental cleaning:

  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. These bacteria may cause an inflammatory response to the gums if not removed routinely and can lead to Gingivitis, or if left untreated, Periodontal disease.
  • Removal of calculus (tartar): When plaque is missed being removed enough times from a surface of a tooth, the plaque hardens to a new substance called Calculus. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
  • Periodontal Examination: Pocket depths and recordings of recession will be continually monitored and recorded by the hygienist and dentists. This will allow for diagnosis of your current periodontal health. This constant monitoring will allow your dentist or hygienist to determine how frequent your cleanings should be to maintain optimal oral health.
  • Oral Hygiene Instructions: At each visit your hygienist will be able to tailor your oral hygiene habits to best serve your needs. This can mean a different technique in brushing or the use of additional aides to clean difficult to reach areas.

 

Home Care

 

Tooth brushing

Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with a soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste. Steps for correct brushing for adults:

  • Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums with some bristles on the gums.
  • Gently mimic a vibrating motion back and forth but be sure not to do a scrubbing motion. This will allow the bristles to go gently underneath the gums.
  • After mimicking the vibrating motion, make a sweeping motion away from the gums. 3-4 sweeps per area/tooth is enough to remove the plaque from that area.
  • Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth. Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

We also recommend electric toothbrushes. They are easy to use and can remove plaque effectively. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time. (Please consult your dental provider on a recommended brand for your situation before investing the money into one that may not be ideal for your needs)

 

Flossing

Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Without flossing you are missing over one third of the tooth surface area! Flossing daily disrupts plaque colonies from building up, which in turn prevents periodontal disease and the formation of cavities. Correct flossing technique is as follows:

  • Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
  • Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
  • Do not snap the floss in place as this can cause damage to the gums. You may have to experiment with waxed or non-waxed floss to find out which works best for you.
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.

Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.

 

Rinsing

After proper brushing and flossing, rinsing with water is recommended. If you use an over-the-counter mouthwash, consult with you dental provider the type that is suited to your needs. If you have an acidic diet it is recommended to rinse your mouth with water immediately after eating and drinking and avoid brushing or flossing for 20 min.
 

Fluoride treatment

Fluoride has been found to be the most effective agent in preventing tooth decay from developing. Fluoride is a mineral which is naturally found in many different food and water sources. Benefits of fluoride have been known for over 50 years and been supported by many health professionals and organizations.

There are two different ways in which fluoride can be delivered:

Topical fluoride is effective when applied directly to the tooth surfaces once the teeth have erupted. The fluoride strengthens the enamel of the tooth structure in order to make the tooth more resistant to decay. Sources of topical fluoride can come in products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses and gels. It is generally recommended that a topical application is done twice a year during your dental hygiene appointment.

Systemic fluoride is delivered by a means of ingesting foods or community water supplies. It can also be found as a supplement in a drop or gel form that can be prescribed by your dentist or family doctor. This fluoride benefits the teeth during the development stage prior to erupting. Therefore, supplements are generally recommended to infants or children. It is very important this intake is monitored as too much fluoride can result in a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth).
As you may know, tap water supplied by the Metro Vancouver Water District is not fluoridated, and although most people receive fluoride from food , sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay.

Our dentists or dental hygienists may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:

  • Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
  • Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
  • Inadequate oral hygiene habits.
  • Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
  • Inadequate exposure to fluorides.
  • Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.
  • Recent history of dental decay.

Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! Regular brushing, flossing, modification to diet as necessary and regular professional dental cleanings are all fundamental to reducing the risk of developing tooth decay.

For more information on this procedure and other important dental health topics, please see the following link: Canadian Academy of Periodontology

Make an Appointment