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It doesn’t matter if your last visit was six months ago or six years ago. Plantation Dental Services in Plantation is ready to welcome you for routine dental exams and cleanings as well as more involved treatments needed to maintain your dental comfort and health.
We realize it may have been awhile since your last dental visit but there’s no need to feel embarrassed. You aren’t alone when it comes to putting off dental visits. But it’s never too late to get your smile back on track. We offer comprehensive dental services in a friendly, comfortable, nonjudgmental environment.
During your first dental exam at Plantation Dental Services, the dentist will look for signs of:
- Tooth decay
- Teeth grinding
- Bone loss
- Oral cancer
- Periodontal (gum) disease
Many of our patients have been visiting us for years because they trust us to keep their teeth and gums healthy. We are eager to build a trusting relationship with you as well.
Teeth Cleaning in Plantation
Most of the calls to our office are from patients requesting professional teeth cleanings. There’s nothing compared to the refreshing feeling you get when your teeth have thoroughly cleaned by a trained hygienist.
The purpose of professional teeth cleanings is to remove the plaque and calculus that causes cavities. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that builds on your teeth every time you eat or drink. The bacteria is able to transform the sugar found in desserts, candy and sugar-filled soft drinks into acids that erode the enamel covering your teeth. The resulting tooth decay can leave holes, or cavities, in your teeth.
This is why dentists incessantly stress the need to brush and floss your teeth after every meal. Routine brushing and flossing prevents the buildup of plaque. However, it can’t eliminate all of the plaque on your teeth, thus the need for professional cleaning.
It can take less than 24 hours for plaque to harden into a substance commonly known as calculus, or tartar. Only professional cleanings can remove plaque and tartar from the surface of teeth as well as hard-to-reach places in between teeth.
While routine teeth cleanings can remove plaque and tartar on the surface of teeth, bacteria may also attach the portions of the teeth that lay beneath the gum line. It’s the bacteria beneath the gum line that causes periodontal, or gum, disease and results in tooth and bone loss.
The first stage and only stage at which gum disease is reversible is called gingivitis. Often, patients have no symptoms. Others have red and puffy gums or experience bleeding after brushing and flossing.
Fortunately, the symptoms of gingivitis can be treated by a hygienist. When left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious stages of gum disease that require treatment by a periodontist, or gum specialist.
The type of teeth cleaning you need depends on the health of your teeth and gums. Hygiene treatments include:
- Prophylaxis: This is for patients who only require removal of plaque, calculus and stains above the gums. The prophylaxis cleaning, also known as a “prophy,” is the type of preventative cleaning commonly covered by dental insurance. Patients exhibiting signs of gingivitis or more advanced gum disease require a more involved treatment.
- Gingivitis Therapy: Gingivitis is the first and only reversible form of gum disease. The hygienist or dentist will perform additional services to remove the plaque and calculus below the gum line and help you halt the advancement of gum disease.
- Scaling & Root Planing: Patients with advanced gum disease require treatment above and below the gum line . Scaling & root planing is a non-surgical treatment that removes the harmful bacteria and smooths out exposed root surfaces. SRP may take more than one office visit and may involve the application of an antibiotic. After the initial treatments, the dentist may prescribe a periodontal maintenance routine with more frequent cleanings to help manage the disease.
Cleaning Teeth Below the Gum Line
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all Americans over the age of 30 have some form on periodontal disease. This figure rises to 70 percent for people over the age of 65.
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. The same bacteria that breaks down sugar to create acids that harm the surface of the teeth also attacks the ligaments, tissue and bones that secure the teeth beneath the gums. As a result, the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, creating “pockets” around the teeth where bacteria can flourish.
You may have periodontal disease and not even know it. Usually, the first symptom people notice is bleeding gums after brushing and flossing. As the disease becomes more advanced, the gum line begins receding, the teeth shift and the patient may have bad breath.
Periodontal disease is a chronic condition. While scaling & root planing and other treatments can kill the harmful bacteria, they can’t repair the damage that has already occurred in the more advanced forms of periodontal disease. That’s why it’s important to detect the disease at its earliest stage, gingivitis. This is the only stage in which the damage is reversible. Once it progresses beyond gingivitis, gum disease can be managed but the damage cannot be reversed.
Bad Breath Management
It may not be your love of garlic that’s causing your chronic bad breath. Halitosis, the medical term for bad breath, affects 25 percent of Americans and is most commonly related to the presence of bacteria in your mouth.
When bacteria begins decaying the teeth, the damaged cells can release an odor. Regular professional teeth cleanings and gum treatment, along with brushing and flossing after meals and rinsing with a mouthwash, can keep bad breath under control.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer doesn’t get the publicity that’s given to other forms of cancer. Nevertheless, the death rate for oral cancer is higher than cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, testicular cancer and thyroid cancer.
Therefore, an oral cancer screening is offered during your first visit to our office. This is a quick and painless test that allows the dentist to detect signs of oral cancer, which often has no symptoms in the early stages. By the time symptoms, such as a visible lump, develop, the disease has probably metastasized to other locations. That’s why screenings are recommended for everyone over the age of 18.
Teeth Grinding & Night Guards
The dentist also will assess your teeth for signs of teeth grinding, known as buxism. Bruxism affects 40 million Americans. It can wear down the enamel on your teeth and leave them vulnerable to decay.
Signs of teeth grinding include:
- Morning headaches
- A sore jaw upon waking up
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Sensitive teeth
While teeth grinding may be attributed to stress, it also can be caused by crooked teeth or a “bad bite.” Our dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth while you sleep and help you prevent further damage from grinding.
Call Today to Schedule a Dental Exam
We welcome new patients. Call Plantation Dental Services at (954) 651-9315 to receive your comprehensive dental exam.