Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is at the core of preventative dentistry. To ensure your smile stays healthy and disease free, we provide dental cleanings and preventative services for all patients. This is to prevent and detect gum disease, cavities, enamel wear, infections, and more.

Dental Hygiene

Comprehensive Oral Evaluation

What is a comprehensive oral evaluation?

A comprehensive oral evaluation is the initial exam you have with your dentist. During the exam your dentist will perform a thorough evaluation visually, tactically and in detail using an FMX and/or panoramic X-ray. Dentists may also use an intra-oral camera to detect cavities, gum inflammation, bone loss, teeth wear from grinding, clenching, TMJ, any weaknesses in crowns and fillings, and/or other abnormalities. Oral cancer screening is also conducted to make sure pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions are not present.

How many exams do I need a year?

An oral evaluation is recommended, at the minimum, twice a year. If you smoke or have had previous cancerous lesions you may be at a higher risk, and additional exams may be recommended. Please consult with your dentist to see what’s best for you.

What are the different types of exams?

  • Comprehensive oral evaluation (COE) – the first thorough oral exam you have with your dentist.
  • Periodic oral evaluation (POE) – all exams performed after your COE are periodic exams and are conducted at the minimum twice a year.
  • Limited oral evaluation (LOE) – a focused exam completed on a problem area or single tooth during an emergency or follow up visit.

Prophylaxis (Regular/Basic) Cleaning

What is a prophylactic cleaning?

A prophylactic cleaning is a regular or basic cleaning, which serves to remove dental plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) around your teeth and gums. Cleanings are usually completed by your dental hygienist to prevent cavities, gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontal disease. This type of cleaning is conducted in absence of gum disease such as periodontitis. If your hygienist or dentist diagnoses active gum disease, a more thorough type of cleaning, such as a “deep cleaning” may be recommended. Please consult with your dental advocates to see which is right for you.

How many times a year do I need a cleaning?

Most people only need a general or basic cleaning twice a year. In presence of gum disease, a higher number of dental cleanings may be recommended and will be determined by your dental team.

Top 3 types of dental cleanings

  • Prophylaxis (regular/basic cleaning) – in absence of gum disease
  • Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing (Deep Cleaning) – in presence of gum disease
  • Periodontal Maintenance (Maintenance Cleaning) – in presence of gum disease

Oral Cancer Screening

What is an Oral Cancer Screening?

An oral cancer screening is a visual and tactile exam of the head, neck, oral cavity and connective tissues. The purpose of the exam is to detect oral cancer or any precancerous lesions that may lead to cancer at an early stage. Adjunctive devices such as the VELscope can be used for enhanced visualization. This is completed by your dentist and/or hygienist.

What do we look for visually and tactically?

  • Asymmetries
  • Swelling/Bumps
  • Discoloration
  • Ulcerations
  • Feel for nodules or masses
  • Other abnormalities

How often should I be screened for Oral Cancer?

It is widely recommended to be screened at least once a year. Your dentist and hygienist should always be on the lookout during your bi-yearly cleanings and exams and note any changes or concerns. This is why it is crucial and recommended to see your dentist at least twice a year.

What factors increase the risk of cancer?

  • Tobacco use (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, etc.)
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Previous oral cancer
  • Significant sun exposure to lips

Caries Risk Assessment

What is a caries risk assessment test?

A caries (cavity) risk assessment is a preventative test to evaluate a person’s risk of developing cavities based on history and clinical examination. The tests are categorized into ages 0 to 6 years and older than 6 years. Depending on your risk, fluoride and pit-and-fissure sealants may be recommended. Please consult with your dental team to see what is best for you.

What can I do to lower my caries risk?

  • Good dental hygiene (brushing/flossing
  • Diet (limiting sugary and acidic foods)
  • Topical fluoride varnish
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants

Oral Health Education

Oral health education and instruction is the ultimate way for patients to achieve visible and healthy results. Please consult with your dental team to come up with an individualized plan.

Dental Hygiene Tips

  • Brushing: Brush at least twice a day for 2 min with an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush will yield the best results removing all the bacteria and plaque much more efficiently.
  • Flossing: Floss every day and make sure you get underneath those gums. A waterpik will also aid to help remove all the hard to get to debris by flushing it all out. It is recommended to floss before you brush your teeth.
  • Rinsing: Rinse with a mouthwash in the end to remove any remaining bacteria and for that fresh feel. A mouthwash with fluoride will help strengthen your teeth and fight against cavity causing bacteria.