Teeth Cleanings & Exams
When we talk about prevention and preventive dentistry, we’re referring to routine dental exams and cleanings that are essential for maintaining excellent oral health. Even if you are proactive with brushing and flossing at home, you still need to visit your Littleton dentist at least twice a year for regular dental checkups and professional teeth cleanings with a hygienist.
By staying current with regular exams and cleanings, your dental team can find signs of tooth decay, periodontal disease, and even potentially life-threatening illnesses like diabetes or oral cancer. In many cases, potential oral health conditions like periodontitis and tooth infections aren’t visible or painful until they reach the advanced stages.
Call Us to Schedule an Exam and Teeth Cleaning
Platte Canyon Dental is pleased to serve the communities of Littleton, Columbine Valley, Englewood, Bow Mar, Wolhurst, and beyond. Please call us at (303) 797-2286 to schedule your next dental exam and teeth cleaning.
- What happens during a dental exam
- Why do I need a teeth cleaning if I brush and floss?
- Why do you need to take dental x-rays?
- How do you treat gum disease?
- What happens during a deep teeth cleaning?
- How can I avoid cavities and gum disease?
What happens during a dental exam?
First, our Littleton dentist asks if you have any concerns or have been experiencing any problems, including tooth decay, bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, or any other issues with your teeth or gums.
We will also thoroughly review your medical history to learn about past dental problems or other medical issues that could affect your oral health. These include recent illnesses, chronic diseases, medication use or drug reactions.
We will also perform a periodontal exam to check your gums for signs of gingivitis, as well as a cavity and gum risk assessment. Dr. Linn also looks for tooth decay and gum disease by measuring your periodontal pockets.
She will also examine your jaw and dental bite to test how your upper and lower teeth come together and look for signs of teeth grinding or TMJ problems. A vitally important part of every dental exam at our Littleton dental office is an oral cancer screening to look for irregularities. Oral cancer is very aggressive, and early detection offers the best chance for a positive outcome.
It’s crucial to have current x-rays, so we may need to update yours. After your examination, our Littleton dentist will discuss our findings with you. If we find evidence of cavities, gum disease, teeth grinding, or any other issues, Dr. Linn will discuss them with you. If you need dental treatment, we’ll explain your options and make appropriate treatment recommendations.
Why do I need a teeth cleaning if I brush and floss?
It’s great that you are already proactive with your oral health by brushing and flossing regularly at home. As crucial as your efforts are, you need to back them up with professional teeth cleanings with a hygienist at our Littleton dental office.
Why? Because your toothbrush and floss can’t reach or thoroughly clean the surfaces between teeth. This gives the bacteria-filled plaque a chance to build up, and as it does, it turns into a hard mineral-like substance called tartar.
Tartar buildup is a serious problem because it is teeming with bacteria, and not removing it means you are at increased risk for developing cavities and gum disease. So, it’s crucial to remove tartar, but you can’t do it with your brush and floss; only a skilled dental hygienist can remove tartar using specialized dental instruments.
Why do you need to take dental x-rays?
Our Littleton dentist can learn a lot with a visual examination of your mouth, but there’s also a lot that’s hidden from view. To provide you with the safest, most appropriate treatment, we need to get a full picture of your dental health, and that’s what digital dental x-rays provide.
Digital x-rays show us what’s happening between and inside teeth where cavities commonly develop. The goal of an x-ray is to detect a problem like a cavity when it’s very small and treat it before it threatens your oral health. The same holds true for gum disease and bone loss that occurs under the gums—another area that’s hidden from view until we take an x-ray.
If you are a new patient, we need to take a set of bitewing x-rays to establish a baseline for your oral health. If you are not at high risk for decay or gum disease, we update them every 18-36 months. If you are at high risk, we may recommend updating them every 12-18 months.
How do you treat gum disease?
How we treat gum disease depends on how far it has advanced. That’s why at Platte Canyon Dental, we personalize not just the type of dental cleanings we provide but also the frequency.
The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which is reversible if we catch it soon enough. Treatment for gingivitis involves a thorough teeth cleaning with our hygienist to remove plaque and tartar that cling to your teeth. They will also highlight areas where you can improve your oral hygiene and give you tips for improving your oral hygiene skills.
Going forward, we recommend teeth cleanings at our Littleton dental office every six months to prevent a reoccurrence.
If gingivitis goes too long without treatment, gum disease advances to periodontitis. Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease and attacks the bone and structures that hold your teeth in place. You may notice gum recession and loose teeth due to bone loss. Once periodontitis reaches this stage, you are at serious risk for tooth loss.
Periodontitis is irreversible, but we can treat it with a specialized deep-cleaning described below.
What happens during a deep teeth cleaning?
With periodontitis, we use a more concentrated deep-cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing. This is a two-part treatment that eliminates all traces of plaque and tartar from all your tooth surfaces (scaling) and smooths root surfaces of your teeth (planing) to help prevent reinfection and help the gums reattach to your teeth.
This cleaning is completed in quadrants of your mouth, which are numbed with dental anesthetic for your comfort. They may also apply antibiotics during this process to help combat your infection.
Deep teeth cleaning may occur in multiple appointments, so your mouth has time to heal and adjust.
How can I avoid cavities and gum disease?
Preventing cavities and gum disease isn’t hard, but it requires a team effort that includes you and your dental team.
For your part, you need to be conscientious with oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening before bedtime. It’s also a good idea to brush after meals if you can.
Your dental team then backs up your efforts with exams and teeth cleanings every six months at our Littleton dental office. Staying current with these appointments allows our Littleton dentist to monitor your oral health continually and catch problems as soon as they arise.
If you follow these steps, you can save yourself discomfort, dental emergencies, and dramatically reduce your dental costs. It’s much less costly to treat a small cavity than to let the problem go until you need a dental crown or root canal to resolve it.