Illustration, Brodie WIlliamson, 7th Grade

Well, October was Dental Hygiene Month, which plays nicely into where we are with Debbie’s treatment. Dental Hygiene encompasses customized home care recommendations and clinical treatment of the bone and gums that support the teeth.

For all patients, it is important to create a home care plan they can execute. No two patients have to be the same. Each patient has factors that determine the type of home care therapies that will help them maintain healthy teeth and gums. A few of the factors that our hygienists take into consideration are: health history, gum disease history, cavity history, patient’s work schedule, patient’s diet, patients hand control (dexterity), previous home care experiences, flavor preferences and what the patient has been doing and how effective has that been for them.

Debbie’s home care plan included recommendations to brush twice a day, floss daily and rinse with antibacterial rinse like Listerine or Crest Pro Health. As we see her over the next few months, even years, we continue to re-evaluate and make new recommendations at each appointment for what is best for her.

Debbie has gum disease, as you can see in previous entries in this series, and the first line of treatment for gum disease is called scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing is a process of deriding the periodontal pockets around the teeth. Cleaning and flushing the gingival pockets reduces the tartar-hardened mineral deposits attached to the tooth roots like barnacles. Bacteria hide in and around the tartar, irritating the gums and causing the body to have an inflammatory reaction (swelling and bleeding of the gums).

This inflammatory reaction is what is a significant health concern. Chronic inflammation anywhere in our body is destructive. Chronic inflammation can cause pain and is a burden and drain to our immune system defenses. Gum Disease and chronic inflammation affect heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and premature birth, just to name a few.

Gum Disease progressively worsens over time. It can start for people when factors of bacteria, diet and homecare get out of balance. It is important to maintain good oral health with a check up and professional cleaning. Some patients need this three or four times per year to maintain good oral health. Regular visits are truly the most cost effective and easiest way to maintain good health for a lifetime. Call today and visit us soon to keep yourself on track!

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