The goal of a preventative program is to protect the natural dentition and its supporting structures by delaying the development, progression, and recurrence of dental diseases and disorders.
Starting at home with proper oral hygiene and a balanced diet is the best way to prevent dental disease. Our dentists and dental hygienists continue to work to promote, repair, and maintain your oral health in our North Vancouver dental office.
Prevention also includes getting regular x-rays, cleanings, and checkups at the dentist. Fluoride and sealants are two more excellent preventive measures for teeth protection.
At Blue Sky Dental, we believe that The key to having a healthy, self-assured, and beautiful smile are exams and prevention, which help prevent critical and pricey dental issues. Get in touch with us today.
What To Expect From Our Dentists for a Routine Cleaning
General Dental Exam
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by our dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, our North Vancouver dentist and hygienist will perform the following:
- Examination of diagnostic X-rays (radiographs): Essential for the detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
- Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Full Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by registered dental hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is a hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
- Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
North Vancouver, British Columbia, Dental X-rays
Dental radiographs (x-rays) are crucial diagnostic and preventative tools because they reveal essential data that is not visible during a routine dental examination. This information is used by dentists and dental hygienists to safely and accurately find concealed dental defects and finish a precise treatment plan. Problem areas could go undiscovered without x-rays.
To make sure we can appropriately treat each area of your mouth as needed during your cleaning or exam, we might need to take an x-ray of your teeth.
Dental X-rays Can Show a Lot of Information
Early dental problem detection and treatment can help you avoid unnecessary pain and save your teeth! Cysts and abscesses are two conditions that x-rays frequently reveal.
- loss of bone.
- Tumors that are both malignant and not.
- decay in between the teeth.
- defects in development.
- poorly positioned teeth and roots.
- problems below the gum line or inside a tooth.
Frequently Asked Question
Cleaning and prevention FAQs
Dental X-rays: Are They Safe?
All of us are exposed to natural radiation from our surroundings. A complete mouth sequence of x-rays exposes the patient to the same amount of radiation as they would naturally encounter in a single day.
Dental x-rays emit little radiation and are generally regarded as safe. When taking dental x-rays, dentists take the appropriate safety measures to reduce the radiation exposure to the patient. To protect the body, lead apron shields are used, and new, quick film is used to reduce the exposure duration of each x-ray.
Dental X-rays: How Often Should They Be Taken?
Dental x-rays may be required depending on the specific dental needs of each patient.Based on a review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and disease risk, your dentist and dental hygienist will advise any necessary x-rays.
For new patients, a full mouth series of dental x-rays is advised. A whole series typically lasts three to five years.Bite-wing x-rays, which are obtained at recall (check-up) visits and advised once or twice a year to spot new dental issues, are taken when top and bottom teeth are biting together.
A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. Your personal home care starts by eating balanced meals, reducing the number of sugary snacks you eat, and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Many think at-home dental care is tedious, time-consuming, and mundane but it only takes a few minutes each day!
Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA-approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
- Place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
- Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
- Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
- Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
- Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.
Use other dental aids as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist. Some of these aids may include interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, etc., which can all play a role in solid dental home care.
How to Properly Floss and Brush at Home
As we just reviewed, brushing and flossing are of paramount importance to oral hygiene. Though bi-annual professional dental cleanings remove plaque, tartar, and debris, excellent homecare methods are equally valuable. Proper brushing and flossing can enhance the health of the mouth, make the smile sparkle, and prevent serious diseases.
Reasons why proper brushing and flossing are essential:
- Prevention of tooth decay – Tooth decay is one of the leading causes of tooth loss, and its treatment often requires complex dental procedures. Tooth decay occurs when the acids found in plaque erode the natural enamel found on the teeth. This phenomenon can easily be prevented by using proper home hygiene methods.
- Prevention of periodontal disease – Periodontal disease is a serious, progressive condition that can cause tooth loss, gum recession, and jawbone recession. Periodontal disease is caused by the toxins found in plaque and can lead to serious health problems in other parts of the body. Removing plaque and calculus (tartar) from the surface of the tooth using a toothbrush and from the interdental areas using dental floss is an excellent way to stave off periodontal problems.
- Prevention of halitosis – Bad breath or halitosis is usually caused by old food particles on or between the teeth. These food particles can be removed with regular brushing and flossing, leaving the mouth healthier, and breath smelling fresher.
- Prevention of staining – Staining, or yellowing, of teeth, can be caused by a wide variety of factors such as smoking, coffee, and tea. The more regularly these staining agents are removed from the teeth using brushing and flossing techniques, the less likely it is that the stains will become permanent.
The Proper Way to Brush
The teeth should be brushed at least twice a day, ideally in the morning and before bed. The perfect toothbrush is small in size with soft, rounded-end bristles, and is no more than three months old. The head of the brush needs to be small enough to access all areas of the mouth, and the bristles should be soft enough so as not to cause undue damage to the gum tissue. The American Dental Association (ADA) has given electric toothbrushes their seal of approval, stating that those with rotating or oscillating heads are more effective than other toothbrushes.
Here is a basic guide to proper brushing:
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where the gums and teeth meet.
- Use small circular motions to gently brush the gumline and teeth.
- Do not scrub or apply too much pressure to the teeth, as this can damage the gums and tooth enamel.
- Brush every surface of every tooth, cheek-side, tongue-side, and chewing surfaces. Place special emphasis on the surfaces of the back teeth.
- Use back-and-forth strokes to brush the chewing surfaces.
- Brush the tongue to remove fungi, food, and debris.
The Proper Way to Floss
Flossing is a great way to remove plaque from the interdental regions (between the teeth). Flossing is an especially important tool for preventing periodontal disease and limiting the depth of the gum pockets. The interdental regions are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and should be cleansed with dental floss on a daily basis. The flavor and type of floss are unimportant; choose floss that will be easy and pleasant to use.
Here is a basic guide to proper flossing:
- Cut a piece of floss to around 18 inches long.
- Wrap one end of the floss around the middle finger of the left hand and the other end around the middle finger of the right hand until the hands are 2-3 inches apart.
- Work the floss gently between the teeth toward the gum line.
- Curve the floss in a U-shape around each individual tooth and carefully slide it beneath the gum line.
- Carefully move the floss up and down several times to remove interdental plaque and debris.
- Do not pop the floss in and out between the teeth as this will inflame and cut the gums.