Navigating the Holiday Table

Can you believe it; the holiday season is already here! It’s time to start digging out family recipes, decorations, and all those holiday goodies buried in your closet. Schedules are everywhere from family gatherings to local festivities. Peppermint, gingerbread, and pumpkin are holiday classics! What is your favorite holiday dish? We all know that sugary foods and drinks may rot our teeth, but most don’t know what foods can be beneficial.  So here’s a list of those that might actually surprise you.

  • Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Broccoli
    • Kale
    • Okra
    • Apples
    • Pumpkin has magnesium which takes care of your enamel. Pumpkin seeds have iron and help keep your tongue healthy.
  • Cheese and Dairy
    • Plain yogurt
    • Cheese has a lot of protein and calcium which is good for enamel.
  • Seafood
    • Salmon
    • Mackerel
    • Eel
    • Tuna
    • Most seafood has fluoride.Food

Fun Facts

  • Nuts have calcium along with phosphorous that helps strengthens enamel.
  • High fiber triggers your flow of saliva.
  • Whole grains have B vitamins and iron, keeping your gums in tip-top shape!
  • Dark chocolate has polyphenols which are a natural chemical that limits bacteria.

Sources: Colgate, Oral-B, and Medical Daily

Healthy Holidays Recipe

Yes, there are health benefits to these foods and drinks but it’s important to remember: MODERATION IS KEY! So enjoy your favorite holiday foods and indulge in a bit of guilty pleasure.Moderation

We wish you happy holidays and good cheer!

Financial District Dental Care – Dr. Raymond Hahn
financialdistrictdental.com
133 Kearny St #204
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 433-1970

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Modern vs Historical Dental Practices

Did you know barbers were the go-to people for concerns about your teeth? In the past, they not only groomed your face but also extracted and whitened your teeth. It wasn’t until 1840 that the first college Baltimore College of Dental Surgery opened. Today, the United States has over 60 schools and dentistry is considered a specialized practice. Let’s take a look back and see how modern dentistry came to be.

Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, and Floss

  • In ancient times chew sticks were used to help keep the mouth clean, they believed that it would get rid of unwanted particles.
  • The first toothbrush was made in China in 1498, handles were made from animal bones or bamboo, and the bristles came from the back of a pigs neck.
  • In 1824 soap was put into toothpaste and in the 1850s chalk was added.

Nowadays toothbrushes are available in different sizes, shapes, and colors. The handles are plastic and the bristles are made of nylon. Which is a long way from bones and bristles!

Toothbrush

In 1873, Colgate produced the first toothpaste in a jar and by the 1890’s toothpaste was packaged in tubes. Imagine dipping your toothbrush into a jar. Now imagine everyone in your house dipping their toothbrush into that same jar. Doesn’t it just make you appreciate the growth in this field?

Source: Colgate

In 1815 silk thread was recommended for cleaning in between teeth and by the 1940’s nylon became the standard.

Source: Oral-B

Modern Dental Techniques

Modernized dentistry has greatly reduced the risk for infections and implants, crowns, and bridges, are now common cosmetic procedures.  Modern crowns are made of composite, porcelain, and metals. They strengthen damaged teeth and can improve your tooth’s overall shape. Bridges are used to fill the tooth gaps and are secured with a neighboring crown on each side.

Dental implants are now the standard of care for missing teeth. These titanium roots are placed into your jawbone and fuse over time. Implants can anchor crowns, bridges, and dentures. They’ve gained popularity as they look and feel natural like your own teeth.

Implants

  • Crowns/Bridges
  • Crowns were made of human teeth, gold, ivory, and bone.
  • Bridges were gold and a sign of wealth.

Gold Crown

  • Implants
  • Whole tooth implants were from deceased lower class citizens, slaves or animals, and infections were common.
  • Seashells, sculpted bamboo, and copper were also used.
  • Iron pins supported a gold tooth to showcase your riches.

Do you consider using people’s teeth to replace yours as resourceful or gross?

In the 1970’s orthodontists said goodbye to headgear and wiring and hello to stainless steel brackets. To fix your bite hooks are placed in your mouth and you will get a pack of rubber bands, slowly adjusting your jaw position with tension over many months.

Giving thanks to new technology we have another option called Invisalign. Packaged as a set of clear plastic aligners, every two weeks you change the tray. There are slight changes to each aligner and your teeth will slowly adjust into the perfect smile of your dreams. Besides not having metal in your mouth, Invisalign is taken out before every meal and snack. Is remembering to take them on and off too much of a hassle?

Ortho

  • Orthodontics
  • One of the first forms of teeth straightening had animal intestines as cords and it wrapped around each individual tooth.
  • Gold bands were also used and preferred because they didn’t rust. Silver was also used and wasn’t as expensive.
  • Ivory and wood were also used.

Can you believe that current teeth whitening procedures were accidentally discovered? In the past, peroxide was used to help strengthen patient’s gums but they got whiter teeth. Today teeth whitening can be done in office or with a take-home whitening kit from your dentist.

  • Whitening
  • Ancient Romans used human urine because the ammonia is an amazing stain remover.
  • Ancient Egyptians used ground pumice stone and white vinegar to make a whitening paste.
  • Barbers could file your teeth down and spread acid on them to help you have a whiter smile.

Putting someone else’s teeth to replace yours is unheard of today because of our modern resources and technologies. Today dentistry is a specialized practice and after earning a dental degree, dentists are required to annually continue their education. Reflecting back to where dentistry once was, we can remember where this field started and appreciate its success.

Financial District Dental Care – Dr. Raymond Hahn
financialdistrictdental.com
133 Kearny St #204
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 433-1970

10 Ghoulish Disorders That Will Have You Flying to the Dentist

While most of us love a good horror story, in the world of dentistry, sometimes the truth is more frightening than any Hollywood flick! Curl up and dig in to 10 of the creepiest dental ailments you have ever heard of:

  1. Amelogenesis Imperfecta: Tooth Enamel Disease

10.pngAmelogenesis Imperfecta is a congenital disease. Causing small teeth with very thin tooth enamel, a discolored smile is the tip of the iceberg here. These tiny chompers often suffer from painful sensitivity and lots of breakage. Diagnosed by your dentist, treatments are available for every level of severity.

Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center

  1. Hyperdontia: Extra Teeth

This rare condition affects a very small percentage of children. Sometimes tied to a genetic disorder, but can also occur for unknown reasons, a child develops extra teeth hidden in their gums. With extraction often the best course of action, left unattended these extra teeth can prevent or delay the eruption of permanent teeth and wreak havoc on the child’s bite. Yes, even those suffering from hyperdontia should still brush and floss twice a day!

Source: Colgate

  1. Papillon-Lefevre Syndrome (PLS): Premature Tooth Loss

8.pngBy the age of five, kids with PLS usually have many loose primary teeth. This can become a severe issue without regular dental care. But what’s the cause? The root of the problem stems from a missing enzyme causing a connective tissue issue. As skin infections are also common with PLS, routine care requires a team of specialists; usually including pediatricians, surgeons, dermatologists, among of course, dentists, periodontist and prosthodontists.

What’s even more frightening is the possibility of losing all permanent teeth… as a teenager! Such is so, as teens often choose to have any remaining teeth removed and wear dentures.

Source: National Organization for Rare Disorders

  1. Talon Cusps: Claw-Like Teeth

7.pngJust as it sounds, these abnormal tooth sprouts look like the shape of an eagle’s talon at the back of a child’s tooth.  If left to fester, potential problems include crowding, gum irritation, bad bite, and of course the accumulation of plaque.

Dare not scrape these off! Talon cusps require common treatment from your dentist, such as grinding down or a root canal.

Source: Journal of the Canadian Dental Association

  1. Geminated Teeth: Mega Tooth

This is as if the tooth root has had twins. This anomaly manifests itself when two teeth develop from a single tooth bud. Turning into an oversized and disfigured tooth, your dentist will be on the lookout for the trouble it’s causing to nearby teeth.

Your dentist will be on the lookout for a bad bite, tooth decay in the area and overcrowding of neighboring teeth. Depending on size, it’s possible the tooth could cause little impact. However, most cases need extraction or other procedures to bring it down to normal size. Beware! These teeth aren’t easily flossed so using anti-bacterial mouthwash is advised.

Source: National Institute of Health

  1. Tonsilloliths: Tonsil Debris

Ever heard of tonsil stones? When this buildup of bacteria and debris gets trapped in and around your tonsils it’s no joke. Especially considering they range in size from a grain of rice to that of a large grape!

What causes this troublesome throat rubble? Chronic tonsillitis and poor dental hygiene are the usual culprits.  While not always visible, if they’re lurking you’ll likely smell it first! Bad breath, sore throat, and trouble swallowing as the most reported symptoms. Tonsils are delicate, and removing the stones requires the expert hand of a true professional.

Source:  Live Scicence

  1. Black Hairy Tongue: Like. It. Sounds…

Harmless as it may be, this fearsome condition will attract unwanted attention. If not from looks, the radiating smell will turn heads… and your stomach with a metallic taste. Caused by the building up of dead skin cells, this creepy accumulation does offer some relief in how it’s treated. Oral hygiene. Brush your tongue or using a tongue scraper daily should clear things up. If it persists, visit your dentist as reoccurrence risk runs high.

Source: WebMD

  1. Salivary Gland Stones: Clogged Salivary Glands

3.pngThink kidney stones in your mouth. They’re painful and can cause neck swelling. As saliva is full of calcium, these startling stones store up in salivary ducts. The remedy is as easy as sucking on sour candy to get the saliva juices flowing again. Caution! Stones can grow large enough for surgical removal.

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information

  1. The Disgusting Truth About Your Toothbrush: dun dun dun!

Your toothbrush is a bacteria magnet. The dirty little secret it hides is really more like 10 million bacteria— including E. coli and Staph. Truly a terrifying thought! Here are some empowering tips to keeping your brush as clean as possible:

  • Replace your toothbrush after 3 months. Sooner if the bristles become frayed and always after the flu or a cold.
  • Not all toothpaste is created equal. Look for ones with triclosan or copolymer to help kill mouth bacteria.
  • Rinse the bristles after every use. Soaking in antibacterial mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide also helps.
  • In this case, sharing is not caring. Each brush is factory built for one mouth. Remember, 10 million bacteria…
  • Air dry between uses and don’t let toothbrush heads touch. Remember, 10 million bacteria…
  • Flush with the toilet seat down. We smell molecules of whatever it is giving off the stench. Remember E. coli…

Source: Huffington Post

  1. Hand-Foot-and-Mouth disease: Virus

1.pngImagine having sores in your mouth, on your hands, feet, and even your legs. A very unpleasant condition, hand-foot-and-mouth disease is easily spread through coughing and sneezing. So, halt the spread with frequent hand washing, and while infected, keep the kisses under wraps.

This nasty virus is most common among children under 10 but adults can contract it as well. With symptoms lasting about a week, see a physician if the sore mouth and throat prevent drinking.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Spook ‘Em in Style!

When was your last dental exam? Call today to schedule your next appointment or request an appointment online! 

Financial District Dental Care – Dr. Raymond Hahn
financialdistrictdental.com
133 Kearny St #204
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 433-1970

Don’t Let Dental Anxiety Stop You.

We’ve all been nervous at some point in our life. Some fears are irrational while others are well earned from negative experiences. We understand what it’s like to feel uneasy and anxious. That’s why your comfort is always at the top of our mind! With sedation, you can have a more relaxing visit while taking care of your oral health needs.

Types of Sedation

Nitrous Oxide Sedation – Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is most often used for patients who are mildly or moderately anxious. It’s administered by placing a small mask over the patient’s nose. As the gas begins to work, the patient becomes calm, but is still awake and can communicate. When the gas is turned off, the effects of sedation wear off almost immediately.

Oral Sedation –Patients who are more anxious may require something stronger than nitrous oxide. With oral sedation, the patient may be sleepy but can also be aroused if necessary and can respond to simple commands.  Minor side effects such as nausea or vomiting can occur with some medications. You may need assistance to get home after sedation, and patients may need to stay for a short observation after dental treatment has been completed.

IV Conscious Sedation – IV conscious sedation is usually used to help patients relax during surgery or more advanced dental procedures that take a longer to complete. During this form of conscious sedation an IV is placed in the patient’s vein in order to give the sedative medication. A patient is still able to respond to verbal commands and is aware of what is going on but the patient will not remember much of what happened during their procedure. This helps when dealing with a long procedure or patients that have a great deal of anxiety about surgery or their specific procedure.         Body Image

General Anesthesia (IV Sedation) – General anesthesia puts a patient into a deep sleep. He or she is unable to feel pain or to move around. General anesthesia may be recommended if the patient:

  • Can’t relax or calm down enough for treatment to be performed safely, even with conscious sedation and other behavior management techniques
  • Needs oral surgery or other dental treatment that would be difficult for the patient to tolerate while awake
  • Needs a lot of dental work that can best be done in one long appointment rather than many shorter visits
  • Has a medical, physical or emotional disability that limits his or her ability to understand directions and be treated safely as an outpatient

We have many years of experience, and will use the safest and most effective medications appropriate for you. So, if you’re ready to relax in the chair with sleep dentistry, give us a call and schedule today.

Financial District Dental Care – Dr. Raymond Hahn
financialdistrictdental.com
133 Kearny St #204
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 433-1970

4 Risk Factors of Gum Disease to Discuss with Your Dentist

Gum Disease SighHave you ever had something caught in your teeth for days? It’s likely because it was lodged deep between a tooth and your gums. That gum tissue is what keeps our chompers in place. There are three stages of gum disease and all are treatable.

The mild form of gum disease is Gingivitis. This is where plaque and other byproducts irritate the gums. It makes them swollen, tender, and more likely to bleed. Periodontitis is stage two. The gum tissue starts deteriorating as it detaches from the teeth forming pockets around the roots. This leaves teeth exposed and more susceptible to decay. Finally, Advanced Periodontitis can set in. Tooth pockets get deeper as the severe gum recession leads to bone loss causing loose teeth.

Common Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease

  • Genetics – it’s hereditary and some of us are just unlucky! While you may be more susceptible to periodontitis, having a good oral hygiene routine with regular dental visits can help your smile stay healthy. Talk to us about finding the right balance for your needs.
  • Health – underlying medical conditions like diabetes and Crohn’s disease, as well as lowered immunity from illnesses and treatments often affect gum tissue. Medications, hormonal changes and obesity are also culprits and should be discussed.
  • Bad Habits – chewing on ice, not brushing or flossing daily and using tobacco are the most common behavior changes we encourage you to ditch. However, substance abuse and a diet lacking in vitamin C will also impact your smile.
  • Stress – it’s inevitable. But keep an eye on exactly how much it’s weighing you down. High levels or chronic stress can lead to poor hygiene habits. Anxiety can also lower your immune system from effectively fighting off bacteria that causes gingivitis (stage 1).

When to Seek Help

Common red flags of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Gums look bright red
  • Teeth wiggle

There’s no home remedy to cure gum disease. Only professional treatment can help, so call and schedule an exam today [PHONE].

Financial District Dental Care – Dr. Raymond Hahn
financialdistrictdental.com
133 Kearny St #204
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 433-1970

Untreated Cavities in the US

Mother Daughter Brushing

With the vast advancements in the dental field this last decade, it may be surprising to learn that untreated cavities are still a prevalent and persistent issue for many people in the United States. More than one in five Americans has untreated cavities and periodontitis, according to Dr. Bruce Dye, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “It appears that we haven’t been able to make any significant strides during the last decade to reduce untreated cavities” (Dye).  This is in part attributed to economic conditions.  With more Americans relying on Medicaid, most states have eliminated dental benefits in order to ease strain on stressed budgets.

The good news is that Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide dental coverage for disadvantaged children, reducing the rates of children needing urgent dental care. Some studies have even suggested that American children are getting the same general level of dental care, regardless of income. The report found that rates of cavities were similar across all age groups, with teens having the lowest rates. Among children aged 5-11, 20% had untreated cavities, compared to 13% of those aged 12-19. Among children and teens, 27% had at least one dental sealant.  (Everyday Health)

shutterstock_14313997While comprehensive dental coverage is an undeniably large factor in the prevention and treatment of gum disease and cavities, you can lower your odds of developing dental issues through healthy lifestyle choices. Practicing good dental hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing is essential. Cutting back on sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks that feed the bacteria that lead to tooth decay is another controllable element in cavity prevention.  Regular dental visits are also paramount. When problems are identified and treated early, it prevents the necessity for more costly and invasive procedures.  If you are experiencing sensitivity or pain, schedule an appointment today.

Financial District Dental Care – Dr. Raymond Hahn
financialdistrictdental.com
133 Kearny St #204
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 433-1970

What Causes Bad Breath?

demons-bad-breathWe’ve probably all known someone with bad breath. It can be uncomfortable to engage in discussion with someone whose breath smells downright foul. It’s also a sensitive topic to broach, as well as being a very common concern – after all, each year Americans spend an estimated $3 billion dollars on breath freshening products. Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, is clearly a concern well felt amongst adults – but what is the cause?

Symptoms and Sources of Bad Breath

There are several sources of bad breath, including diet and dry mouth – both boil down to the presence of bacteria. The most common odor-causing bacteria are located on the tongue, particularly toward the back where they tend to be undisturbed. If neglected during cleaning, it’s a prime breeding ground for bacteria to feed on leftover food particles, dead skin cells, and mucus. In addition to the tongue, less common offenders include build-up between the teeth and below the gum line, increasing the bad odor. In addition to inconsistent oral care, there are other common reasons for mild cases of bad breath.

Most of us are familiar with the term ‘morning breath’ – a common reference to oral odor experienced in the early hours after waking up. Morning breath can be attributed to a dry mouth, as the result of inactivity during the night fueling bacteria production. Saliva is a natural defense against these offenders, and saliva production slows down the longer the mouth is inactive. If you suffer from chronic dry mouth, the same principles apply whether it’s morning or not. Additionally, food particles (especially sugars) remaining in the mouth encourage bacteria growth. All of this adds up to an increasingly unpleasant and embarrassing odor when you are speaking and breathing.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

dentist-1468457_1920When it comes to solutions, anything not addressing the presence of bacteria is a purely cosmetic fix. This includes gum, mints, and similar – sorry! The solutions very much depend on the specific source, and may be as easy as improving your general oral hygiene routine, or it could require a deep cleaning by a dental professional. A more serious cause, and subsequent solution, may be decay present in the mouth that requires removal. No matter the case, vigilant oral care will always be helpful in terms of avoiding unpleasant breath!

Bad breath, while harmless, can be an indicator your oral care habits are insufficient. If you are concerned about your breath, try brushing and flossing more thoroughly to remove any lingering bacteria. If the problem persists, contact us for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan!

 

Financial District Dental Care – Dr. Raymond Hahn
financialdistrictdental.com
133 Kearny St #204
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 433-1970

When is it a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies are not like other emergencies. It can be hard to know the difference between harassing your dentist or getting in contact because there is a serious time-sensitive issue at hand – particularly if you’re not even sure what the problem is.

The rule of thumb is this: “If it hurts – it’s an emergency.”

If you chipped a tooth, but there’s no pain, it can likely wait until the office’s normal operating hours. Just be sure to take care when chewing as to not worsen the injury. But if it’s fractured or you’re in pain, you may have damaged the soft tissue inside your tooth or “pulp” and that needs to be looked at immediately lest the tooth be compromised.

A knocked out tooth or loose one should be immediately brought to a dental professional to attempt to save. The more time that passes between the initial trauma and attempted dental restoration, the less viable the tooth will be. In cases like this, if the tooth is loose please try to keep it in place by either keeping a finger there or gently biting to minimize movement. If it’s completely knocked out, avoid touching the root and either place it back in the socket (if you can comfortably do so), or store it in a small container or submerged in milk if it’s available. Get to our office immediately to minimize the likelihood of permanent tooth loss.

(Did You Know! Milk can help maintain the correct fluid balance of the root, preserving it longer; water, on the other hand, can cause the cells to swell and die.)

Mouth Trauma

If you have any kind of mouth injury including: punctures, lacerations, tears, or similar to the cheeks/tongue/mouth – this is an emergency. Be careful not to take any pain killers which may be blood thinners, like aspirin or ibuprofen, as this can increase the severity of the injury. Abscesses or infections of the mouth are serious and can be life threatening in some cases. If you are experiencing any of these, it is certainly an emergency. If you are bleeding, dealing with a loose/missing tooth, in severe pain, have been dealt trauma to the mouth, or have swelling – this is a dental emergency. Call a medical professional immediately.

Dental emergencies are not a black and white issue, as is the case with injuries like broken bones. But when it comes to your oral health, pain is never normal, and severe pain means a severe issue. Fortunately, dental emergencies rarely pop up for no reason at all, and as long as you take care of yourself and avoid dangerous situations, they are mostly preventable. If you find yourself at a sport outing and take a rogue ball to the mouth, definitely give us a call. Until then, just keep to your usual oral hygiene routine and don’t worry – if the worst happens, you always have us to set things straight (:

 

Dr.Hahn
http://www.financialdistrictdental.com
133 Kearny St #204, San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 433-1970

Amalgam Fillings: Should They Be Replaced? 

BlogTitle_Amalgam

What is a filling?

Receiving a dental filling is a common procedure that many people have personally experienced. As a bit of a background, a filling becomes necessary when a tooth is damaged by decay and needs to be restored and protected. The function of a filling is to both seal off any spaces where bacteria could enter, and to reshape the tooth to its original form and function. Fillings are an invaluable part of dental work because they offer both a solution for present damage, and act as preventative guards against potential future damage.

A variety of materials are used to create fillings: gold, porcelain, a composite resin, or an amalgam (commonly referred to as silver fillings) are all common choices. There is no ‘best’ type of filling, and the right option for you is truly dependent on your individual case and personal preference.

Why remove a filling?

There are a few different reasons one may want to replace a filling, including a more natural look. Porcelain and composite resins look the most natural and are placed to match your tooth color, and it is not uncommon for those with gold and silver fillings to request these more subtle options. Each type of filling has its own lifespan, which can range from just a few years to several decades, so sometimes a routine replacement may also be in order.

BeforeAndAfter Img.png

However, in addition to appearance and time, there is also a debate surrounding the use of amalgam fillings.

The danger of amalgam fillings

By definition, the word ‘amalgam’ is synonymous with the words ‘mixture’ or ‘blend’. As an example, a smoothie would be considered an amalgam of fruits!

In the dental world, ‘amalgam’ as it is used to describe a filling indicates it is a mixture of materials – this means that silver fillings are not pure silver, they have other similar materials in them as well. The proposed problem with these fillings is that the material could contain toxic or harmful matter that could negatively affect your health. In many cases, the silver is mixed with mercury, so many worry about patients contracting mercury poisoning! Dental fillings are supposed to offer a health solution, not cause more health complications.

While it has yet to be proved for certain that amalgam material causes these problems, if there is any question about the safety of our patients – that’s not a risk we are willing to take. For that reason, we can remove amalgam fillings and offer certifiably safe alternatives to ensure you walk out of our office with a healthy smile.

Dr.Hahn
http://www.financialdistrictdental.com
133 Kearny St #204, San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 433-1970

Deep Cleaning: What it means to you

General-Title

You’re a good person – you pay your taxes, pick up litter, and make it to the dentist every 6 months. Now you’re being told you may need a deep cleaning…but don’t you clean your teeth every day? And isn’t a deep cleaning what the dentist always does? Not quite, although we know it can sometimes feel that way.

A regular dental cleaning is what you are accustomed to receiving every 6 months. The intention of this visit to the dentist is to maintain your healthy gums and give your teeth a little extra attention when it comes to matters of plaque and tartar, which can be difficult to remove fully with a toothbrush and floss alone. The odds are that if you are brushing and flossing every day, and taking any other steps recommended by your doctor, a regular dental cleaning is the perfect addition to your regular care that will keep your smile happy and healthy.

Deep cleaning, a necessity?

A deep cleaning, on the other hand, is what becomes necessary when the health of your teeth and gums become jeopardized by gum disease (or ‘periodontitis’). To put it in perspective, your gums are supposed to have tight and healthy seals around your teeth to protect them and keep them firmly in place. A standard part of your regular cleaning is your doctor using a diagnostic tool called a ‘periodontal probe’ to ensure this is the case; the probe is used to measure the depth of the space between your gums and teeth. Typically 1-3mm is considered normal, and there should be very little or no bleeding at all. Upwards of 4mm is a sign that you are developing ‘pockets’, which are a space between the teeth and gums that becomes prime breeding ground for bacteria and tartar buildup. Plaque that is not brushed and flossed away left on the teeth for more than 24 hours can become tartar, which only your dentist can remove. Left unattended, these pockets can deepen and compromise the tooth and the surrounding bone structure. If the dentist uses the probe and measures 4mm or more, and/or there is significant bleeding and signs of inflammation, then a deep cleaning will be scheduled to help you get your smile back on track.

Deep cleaning is not a scary process.

Oftentimes, your dentist will break the cleaning into two separate visits to most effectively treat your mouth, this is especially important if your entire mouth needs attention so that you’ll be numbed in only smaller sections of your mouth each time, making for a completely comfortable process and quick recovery. The most common forms of treatment are ‘scaling’ and ‘root planing’. The process of scaling involves using a professional tool to remove plaque and tartar from both the surface of the teeth, and the pocket area that has been created between your teeth and gums. A scaling instrument, on the other hand, removes plaque and tartar from the surface of the root of your teeth, which is below the gum line and not visible. These tools are the only thing that can removed built up plaque, as even floss cannot reach far into deepened pockets. The good news is they do a wonderful job of cleaning up any tartar that has built up beneath the visible surface.

Periodontitis is a progressive disease, and left unattended can turn into a much more serious problem. Fortunately, the treatment is typically straight forward and as long as you follow the doctor’s aftercare instructions, the bacteria should be reduced to manageable levels and your gums should return to normal and lose any signs of redness. If you are feeling pain or sensitivity in your teeth, have red and/or puffy gums, or are experiencing bleeding during normal brushing and flossing – call us. The sooner periodontitis is identified the easier it is to treat and the less expensive it is for you, if you have any concerns about your oral health just remember that a professional evaluation is never harmful and may offer you some great information.

 

Dr.Hahn
http://www.financialdistrictdental.com
133 Kearny St #204, San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 433-1970