Advanced Oral Hygiene
Periodontal disease, also known as “gum disease,” is an infection of the supporting tissues and bone that hold your teeth in place. The condition affects many adults and is usually caused by:
- Misaligned Teeth and Malocclusion
- Poor oral hygiene
- Chronic illnesses and health issues
- Certain medications
- Genetic susceptibility
Typical treatment for periodontal disease is scaling and root planing, which is a non-surgical method of cleaning the surfaces of the teeth and roots that may be exposed due to gum recession. When the infected tissue is removed and the root is exposed, the root scaling begins. This involves scraping off the calculus and plaque built up below the gum line and around the root. Our hygienist then smooths the root with instruments and ultra-sonic equipment to remove any rough spots that might attract bacteria and cause future infections. The area between the gum and the root can then regenerate during the healing process. Laser therapy is the latest scientific approach and it is used to access and remove the inflamed gum tissue from around the root of the tooth precisely where an instrument cannot reach.
Benefits of using lasers for excising diseased gum tissue:
- No general anesthetic is needed, as is sometimes required for other forms of dental surgery.
- Lasers can target the diseased areas precisely and accurately.
- Bleeding, pain and swelling are limited because periodontal laser therapy is less invasive than regular surgery.
- Recovery and healing times are shorter.
- Post-Therapy Dental Care
- Maintaining a good oral hygiene program after you undergo any type of periodontal therapy is critical to avoiding a recurrence of the inflammation. More frequent cleanings may be recommended and oral hygiene home care-instruction and careful monitoring are all part of the therapy in our office to help our patients achieve a healthy mouth.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques performed daily.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gumline. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
How to Brush
If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call the office at Los Gatos Office Phone Number 408-356-6033.
Drs. Santos or Kazemi recommends using a soft to a medium toothbrush. Position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.
When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.
To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don’t forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.
Next, you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth by using short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. After you are done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.
How to Floss
Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper technique. The following instructions will help you but remember it takes time and practice.
Start with a piece of floss (waxed is easier) about 18 long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand.
To clean the upper teeth, hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert the floss tightly between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or try to snap it into place. Bring the floss to the gumline then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance. Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Continue to floss each side of all the upper teeth. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.
To clean between the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefingers of both hands. Do not forget the backside of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.
When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.
Caring for Sensitive Teeth
Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, but only if the mouth is kept clean. If the mouth is not kept clean the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive consult with your doctor. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
There are so many products on the market it can become confusing and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.
Automatic and high-tech electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of the patients. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes called Rotadent and Interplak.
Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle, this is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with your doctor.
Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gumline so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.
Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring the early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.
Are You Ready to Take Care of Your Smile?
We are currently accepting New Patients and would love to help you take your smile to the next level.
Call our office in Los Gatos, CA at 4083566033 or