HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO HAVE A PREVENTATIVE DENTAL APPOINTMENT?
The team at Pearly Whites, Devonport, believe preventative dentistry is key for the whole family. We place a strong emphasis on this within our clinic, and advise our patients to return for 6 monthly recalls. This is critical to ensure that we are able to detect any issues early and as such can treat them as conservatively as possible.
Not only is this a great outcome for your smile but it is also great on the wallet too! Neglecting your routine dental maintenance can result in pain in more ways than one, and leave you with a long list of expensive treatment that may have been otherwise avoided.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN A PREVENTATIVE DENTAL APPOINTMENT?
Our preventative maintenance appointments involve a thorough clinical examination and scale and clean, and your clinician may recommend a fluoride treatment to help minimise sensitivity and protect your teeth from decay. This clinical examination includes a screening for periodontal (gum health) issues. We will also discuss appropriate oral hygiene and at home care, this is very important as we need to work together to achieve a healthy oral environment to protect your teeth for life.
DO I NEED X-RAYS?
We recommend bitewing radiographs are completed at two yearly intervals, to detect any decay under fillings and between the teeth. These are a very important diagnostic tool as we aren’t able to adequately assess these areas with vision alone, as decay won’t be detectable by eyesight until quite advanced in these sneaky spots.
WHAT IS GUM DISEASE?
Gum disease has two stages, the initial stage is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is a reversible condition of inflammation in the gums. Gingivitis is caused by food and bacteria sitting around the gum line which are not adequately cleaned, this continued irritation of the gums leads to inflammation and a typical symptom of gingivitis is bleeding gums. Gingivitis is easily reversed with good at home care including brushing and flossing and regular professional debrides.
If not addressed in its early stages gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, which is the irreversible form of gum disease. Periodontitis leads to pockets forming between the teeth and the gums, these pockets become inflamed and infected. As the periodontal pockets increase the supporting tissues become damaged including the bone supporting the teeth, and the teeth can become loose and require removal as a result.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE PERIODONTITIS?
Should our screening detect that you have periodontitis we will discuss this with you and your treatment options. Our dentists are trained to treat periodontitis, and we will detail to you what is involved in periodontal treatment at the time of consultation. However, in advanced or aggressive cases we may refer you to a periodontist (a gum specialist) for management.
WILL I HAVE PERIODONTITIS FOREVER?
It is possible to stop the progression of periodontitis however we are unable to grow back any attachment loss that has happened during the active phase of the disease. In order to stop the progression of periodontitis you will need regular professional cleans at intervals dictated by your dentist in addition to improving at home care which will be discussed at length with you to help stabilise the gums. Once stabilised you will then return to a normal 6 monthly recall period.