Do you visit the dentist for a teeth cleaning every 6 months? Chances are good that you do not. Many adults take up to 12 months or more to visit the dentist for an exam or cleaning. Significant amounts of plaque tend to accumulate along the gum line, even though you may be brushing and flossing regularly. Extended absences from the dentist only increase the accumulation of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. Eventually, a process called debridement may be necessary to remove hard-to-reach plaque and restore general oral health.
Comments by Dr. Ted Herrmann:
As a Miami dentist, I see a diverse range of clients. Miami is truly melting pot of different individuals, and I have come to learn a great deal about various cultures through the patients whom I treat. Regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, or any other variable, the one thing each of my patients has in common is this: Longer periods of time between scheduled dental appointments almost always means more plaque accumulation.
This is hard for most individuals to grasp. However, consider:
1) The chewing surfaces of teeth contain minute cracks, fissures, and pits. These areas collect food particles and may be difficult to clean, depending on their depth.
2) Gaps between teeth often collect food particles, and most individuals neglect to floss daily. Instead, the only brush and assume they are completely cleaning all surfaces of their teeth.
3) Trapped food particles lead to plaque production. This is particularly true of carbohydrates like sugar and starches. (Plaque is the sticky and colorless film that forms over the surface of teeth.)
4) Bacteria feeds on plaque buildup. More plaque inevitably causes more bacteria to fester.
5) Bacteria produces acid that eats away at tooth enamel and causes tooth decay.
6) Bacteria may eventually seep into the gums, spreading tooth decay to the root of the tooth and causing gum disease.
As you can see, the path towards tooth decay is a slippery sloop. Leftover food particles cause plaque accumulation, plaque fuels bacteria growth, and bacteria create an acid that destroys tooth structure. In this way, untouched plaque accumulation in hard-to-reach places can eventually snow ball into a significant problem if left untouched for long periods of time.
Visit a Miami Dentist!
Professional dentists and hygienists are your best bet for giving your teeth the comprehensive, 360 degree cleaning they need after months of plaque accumulation. Additionally, dental professionals are able to see and diagnose problems before they start. This often leads to reactive procedures that stop tooth decay and preserve as much tooth structure as possible. What’s more, holistic dentists are able to identify underlying causes for oral hygiene deficits that are typically rooted in everyday life. Things like stress and poor nutrition contribute to tooth decay just as a lack of brushing and flossing does. Holistic dentistry professionals are skilled in identifying the signs of these problems and recommending lifestyle changes that allow patients to gradually reduce their impact over time.
However, many patients wait too long before seeing a dentist. Excessive plaque buildup around the gum line may cause gums to become swollen, bloody, or bleeding. At this juncture, a more serious treatment may be necessary.
A Dental Definition: What is Debridement?
In medicine, the term debridement refers to a process that preserves healthy tissue by removing the dead and decaying tissue surrounding it. Patients with heavy plaque accumulation around the gum line may benefit greatly from having a debridement cleaning. A debridement treatment usually encompasses the following:
-Local anesthetic to numb the gum tissue and keep the patient comfortable.
-Removal of thick plaque via laser dentistry techniques and tools.
-At-home care to help gums heal and regenerate healthy tissue.
For at-home care, the professionals at Assure a Smile recommend the Perio Protect system. This treatment consists of two custom made mouth trays that fit over the upper and lower jaw. Each tray has a channel that runs around the perimeter of the teeth, just along the gum line. When using Perio Protect, the patient fills the channel with a prescription solution proven to aid in the debridement process. Perio Protect trays are worn as directed by the dentist, and the solution is held against the gum line to deliver a steady stream of medication to nourish and rebuild the gums.
Remember: Schedule a dental appointment every 4-6 months to receive a professional teeth cleaning and combat excessive plaque buildup. If you suffer from swollen, bleeding, or agitated gums, contact a Miami dentist immediately. These are signs of serious plaque accumulation and, in serious cases, gum disease.