Cleaning & Prevention/ Periodontics

Edwardsville's best teeth cleaning and periodontics

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is especially true in dentistry. Regular maintenance and checkups are absolutely vital in maintaining your best long-term dental health. We provide a full range of diagnostic, cleaning, and periodontal services to keep your smile intact and healthy. Additionally, one of your greatest tools in fighting tooth decay and gum disease is the knowledge of what to do when you're outside of the dentist's office. Take some time to become familiar with our preventative services below and some of our recommended best practices you can perform at home.

Periodontics

Periodontics is a branch of dentistry that specializes in the health of the gums and jawbone, requiring several extra years of dental training. The gums and jaw are specifically grouped together because of how the gum tissues surround and support the teeth while anchoring them to the jawbone below. Periodontal disease often begins with a mild gum inflammation known as gingivitis, but left unchecked it is the leading cause of tooth loss in the developed world. The typical symptoms of periodontal disease include red, swollen, painful or bleeding gums, but it is important to see a professional since sometimes no symptoms are displayed at all until it is too late.

There are several reasons why periodontal treatment may be necessary:

Moderate to advanced gum disease - This occurs when the gums are bleeding, swollen, or red around most teeth and the jawbone has begun to recede.

Localized gum recession -The infection which propagates moderate or advanced gum disease often begins in one area. Gum recession may also be caused due to over brushing with a hard bristle brush, or due to a tooth that is not positioned properly. Immediate treatment is required to prevent further spreading.

Before crown lengthening - The periodontist may lengthen the crown of the tooth by removing surrounding soft tissue to provide more tooth exposure.

Ridge augmentation - This procedure, often called "recontouring" may be required to correct an uneven gum line. Before embarking on treatment, a periodontist needs to treat any bacterial infections and periodontitis.

Because periodontal disease is progressive, it is essential to remove the bacteria and calculus build up to halt the spread of the infection. Your dentist will be happy to advise you on effective cleaning methods and treatment options.
Dr. Beau Moody performing a dental exam

Prophylaxis

Dental prophylaxis is a cleaning procedure that is crucial for halting the progression of periodontal disease and gingivitis. Bacteria will build up in the gingival (gum) tissue and eventually cause serious chronic inflammation and irritation if left untreated. The body will respond by attacking the bacteria along with infected gum and bone tissue, often resulting in tooth loss. The pockets between the gums and teeth become deeper and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body.

Benefits of prophylaxis include:

Tartar removal - Tartar (calculus) and plaque build up can be difficult to completely remove with brushing alone. The keen eye of a dentist along with specialized equipment makes thorough cleaning possible.

Aesthetics - Yellow, stained teeth can be quite embarrassing and lead to a lack of confidence when you smile. Prophylaxis will rid the teeth of these unsightly blemishes.

Fresher breath - Persistent halitosis is a sign of periodontal disease. Removing rotting foot particles, plaque, and calculus will go a long way towards alleviating bad breath.

Identification of health issues - Since prophylaxis involves a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity, the dentist is able to screen for oral cancer, evaluate the risk of periodontitis and often spot signs of medical problems like diabetes and kidney problems. Recommendations can also be provided for altering the home care regimen.

Prophylaxis is generally performed in several stages. First, the areas above (supragingival) and below (subgingival) the gum line are cleaned of plaque and calculus using scaling tools. Then, the root itself is planed smooth, eliminating hiding spots for stubborn bacteria. An antibiotic cream is often used in the gum pockets to promote fast healing and ease discomfort. Finally, an x-ray and thorough examination is performed, identifying precisely how much damage has been done and where, which helps plan for future treatments if necessary. This procedure is recommended twice a year, but can be double that for more advanced cases of periodontitis.

Tooth extractions

Sometimes, damage to a tooth is too extensive to be saved. In such cases, your dentist will cleanly remove the problematic tooth from the gum and jaw, making sure to leave no room for further infection. Prosthetic teeth are available, so you can still have a perfect smile afterwards.

Dental exams and cleanings

Regular deep cleanings are the key to long-term oral health, since your mouth has many areas that are difficult to access with brushing and flossing alone. Signs of more serious diseases can be identified early on, and thus measures can be taken to prevent them.

Conventional and digital x-rays

X-rays are an excellent diagnostic tool, allowing dentists to accurately pinpoint problem areas. While digital x-rays are the wave of the future, allowing for immediate inspections and using less radiation, there are still benefits to be found in traditional film x-rays, including better picture quality.

Fluoride treatment

Fluoride helps protect the enamel of your teeth, and prevents bacteria from penetrating the surface. Additionally, fluoride will help increase your body's ability to rebuild enamel faster and stronger than before.

Home care

Common sense goes a long way towards preventing damage to your teeth and gums. Avoiding sugary foods is the foremost recommendation that has a lot of other health benefits as well. Never use your teeth to open packaging or to bite down on hard foods like nuts, crackers or candy.

Brushing and flossing

The importance of brushing and flossing cannot be understated! It is recommended to brush twice daily or after every meal, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and covering every surface of every tooth. For cleaning between gums and preventing gingivitis, daily flossing is essential. Your smile and your breath will both improve with daily maintenance.

Oral cancer exams

Oral cancer is a serious condition that can be treated if caught early enough. Your dentist works on the frontline of the fight against cancer, and is perfectly equipped to spot the warning signs. It is up to you to make sure you schedule regular appointments, though!

Oral hygiene aids

There is a wide variety of over-the-counter oral hygiene aids that can assist you in thorough daily cleanings. From mouth rinses to tongue cleaners to interdental cleaners to oral irrigators, you can effectively clean a great deal of the hardest-to-reach spots of your mouth. Your dentist will smile at the effort you've made, and so will you!

Sealants

Sealants are an effective way to prevent cavities from forming in the indentions in your molars. Bacteria feed off of the plaque and food particles that will often evade your toothbrush in hard-to-reach crevasses, causing serious damage to the enamel in your tooth. Sealants deprive these bacteria of their favorite hiding spots, and help protect your oral health.
Call (618) 659-0456 to schedule your routine teeth cleaning and inspection today!
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