Your preventative care visit - what does it involve?
a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and whole mouth to look for any signs of disease or other problems. The goal of the examination is to help maintain your good oral health and to identify and address any emerging problems before they require more complex treatment and to prevent them from deteriorating any further.
professional cleaning to remove all the plaque and calculus (hardened plaque) from your teeth, which can otherwise cause gum disease, decay and bad breath. No matter how well you brush and floss, there are some areas which can only be reached through a professional clean and scale using special instruments, which is then followed by a polish to remove any superficial stains.
home care advice - looking after your dental wellbeing also includes knowing how to look after your oral health at home. At your preventive care visit, we give you advice about the ongoing care of your teeth and your personal oral hygiene program. Have a chat to us at your next appointment so we can help you find the right oral hygiene tools and give you the knowledge to best look after your dental health.
Gum disease is an extremely common condition, affecting three in four people over the age of 35. New research has also shown a link between gum disease and serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and contributing to lower birthweight or premature babies.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is the inflammation of the gums that can progress to the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colourless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If plaque is not removed through daily brushing and flossing, it build ups and the bacteria infects not only your gums and teeth, but eventually the gum tissue and bone supporting the teeth. As a result, this can lead to teeth becoming loose, falling out or requiring extraction.
What are the signs of gum disease?
There are two stages of gum disease:
Gingivitis: is the earliest stage of gum disease and is an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup at the gum line. There may be some bleeding or gum tenderness during brushing and flossing, but gingivitis can be hard to detect. At this early stage, damage can be reversed with dental treatment and proper preventive care, since the bone and connective tissue holding teeth in place are not yet affected.
Periodontitis: at this stage, the supporting bone that hold your teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. Your gums may begin to form a pocket below the gumline, which traps food and plaque. Symptoms of periodontitis can include bleeding when brushing or flossing, redness or swelling of the gums. There may be increased tooth sensitivity caused by the recession of the gums.
Specialised dental treatment and improved home care can usually help prevent further damage. Without this, the bone supporting your teeth are destroyed which can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. This can affect your bite and if more complex treatment cannot save them, teeth may inevitably be permanently lost. At this stage, the supporting bone that hold your teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. Your gums may begin to form a pocket below the gumline, which traps food and plaque.
How to care for your gums
Professional cleaning is the only way to remove plaque that has built up and hardened into calculus. This involves scaling your teeth to remove the calculus above and below the gumline and when done regularly will prevent gum disease from developing.
Caring for jaw muscles and joints
What is grinding?
Also known as bruxism, grinding is when you clench together the bottom and upper jaw, accompanied by the grinding of the lower teeth with the upper teeth. Grinding is extremely commons as it affects between 50-95% of the population, but as it happens most often subconsciously during sleep, many are not aware they do it.
Grinding is largely caused by emotional factors such as stress, so the more stress you are under, the more severe grinding can become; it can even cause grinding to occur subconsciously while you are awake.
How do I know if I grind my teeth?
Grinding and clenching can be diagnosed as part of a regular dental examination, where we look for the signs and symptoms of this condition such as the wearing away of tooth or loss of enamel.
How is grinding treated or prevented?
The good news is that grinding can often be treated with a specialised night guard or bite splint made from high quality acrylic. Worn at night over the upper teeth, a splint is an extremely effective treatment as it takes the pressure off the jaw joints and teeth, absorbs the force and prevents the upper and lower teeth from grinding and clenching against each other. The symptoms and discomfort associated with grinding are relieved by a splint.