Teeth cleaning (also known as prophylaxis, literally a preventive treatment of a disease) is a procedure for the removal of tartar that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult to reach in routine toothbrushing. It is often done by a dental hygienist. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling and tooth polishing and debridement if too much tartar has accumulated. This involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth.
Most dental hygienists recommend having the teeth professionally cleaned every six months. More frequent cleaning and examination may be necessary during treatment of dental and other oral disorders. Routine examination of the teeth is recommended at least every year. This may include yearly, select dental X-rays.
Dental sealants are defined as a preventative dental treatment, where a plastic material is placed in the pits and fissures or chewing surfaces of usually the permanent molar teeth at the back of the mouth. These molar teeth are considered the most susceptible teeth to dental caries due to the anatomy of the chewing surfaces of these teeth, which unfortunately inhibits protection from saliva and fluoride and instead favours plaque accumulation.
The aim of sealants is to prevent or arrest the development of dental caries. Preventing tooth decay from the pits and fissures of the teeth is achieved by the fissure sealants blocking these surfaces and therefore stopping food and bacteria from getting stuck in these grooves and fissures. Fissure sealants also provide a smooth surface that is easily accessible for both our natural protective factor, saliva and the toothbrush bristles when cleaning our teeth. Multiple oral health care professionals including a dentists, dental therapist, dental hygienist, an oral health therapist and dental assistants (in some states in the USA ) are able to apply dental sealants to teeth.
Fluoride is a mineral that helps fight tooth decay. It is found in public water supplies, toothpaste and many other dental products.
Often called, “nature’s cavity fighter,” fluoride helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay can be seen. Research shows that fluoride helps prevent cavities in children and adults by making teeth more resistant to the acid attacks that cause cavities. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, or use other fluoride dental products, you are preventing cavities and strengthening your teeth’s enamel.
If you have a higher chance of getting cavities, your dentist will apply fluoride varnish or fluoride gel during your dental visit. Your dentist might also recommend you use a special fluoride rinse, paste or gel at home.
Digital radiography is a form of X-ray imaging, where digital X-ray sensors are used instead of traditional photographic film. Dentists use radiographs for many reasons: to find hidden dental structures, malignant or benign masses, bone loss, and cavities.
Instead of X-ray film, digital radiography uses a digital image capture device. This gives advantages of immediate image preview and availability; as well as ability to apply special image processing techniques that enhance overall display of the image. Digital x-ray actually expose the patient to less radiation than older traditional film x-rays.