3391 Bloor St. W. Unit #5 Etobicoke, ON, M8X 1G3 Tel: 416-799-8344 Email: info@dentalhygienegroup.ca

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Dental 101

The Basics of Dental Hygiene

Scaling: This is the removal of plaque, calculus (tartar), food debris and bacteria both above and below the gum line. This is done through the use of ultrasonic or hand instruments. The objective is to remove the agents that cause inflammation in order to establish a disease free mouth.

Root Planing: This involves scaling of the root surface. This is done to create a smooth surface in order for the gums to have a better opportunity to heal. This smooth surface also prevents bacteria adherence. Often this is referred to as “deep cleaning”

Ultrasonic scalers: These are electrical instruments that vibrate at a high frequency. These tools not only are effective at removing calculus and plaque but are also very good at breaking through bacterial cell membranes and ridding the pockets and tooth surfaces of biofilm. Quite often clients find the experience of an ultrasonic instrument to be more comfortable than manual scaling. Generally some hand scaling is still needed in order to remove any fine deposits missed by the ultrasonic.

Biofilm: Clear, sticky substance formed by colonies of bacteria. Found throughout the mouth, on the teeth, tongue and cheeks. If left undisturbed these bacteria can cause conditions such as gingivitis, periodontal disease, and bad breath. Biofilm can be removed through a good oral hygiene regime that should include proper brushing and flossing, in some cases an antimicrobial mouthrinse, and of course regular cleaning visits with your Dental Hygienist!

Polishing: This procedure is used for stain removal, it is also beneficial in the removal of biofilm to create a smooth tooth surface. In the past it has been done in conjunction with every cleaning visit, more recent studies suggest that polishing may compromise the enamel due to the heat created by the polisher and the abrasive nature of the cup and paste. For this reason we recommend cleanings using ultrasonic scalers for more thorough biofilm removal and polishing only for those who require stain removal.

Whitening: This has become one of the most popular treatment requests. Using the Wicked White system we are able to lighten smiles up to 8 shades with minimal to no sensitivity. Almost everyone is a candidate, although treatment may not be as effective for some as it is for others. Porcelain veneers, crowns or fillings will not whiten past their original colour. Some may experience slight sensitivity during the procedure, but because Wicked White does not dehydrate the teeth, any sensitivity will dissipate. In order to achieve the best results it is important that you follow the post care instructions. An in office refresher visit will also help keep your smile its brightest. Call us for a free consult to determine if you are a candidate.

Oraqix: This is a topical anesthetic that works to numb soft tissue. Because of its unique applicator we are able to apply the gel in a way that will create a deeper numbing sensation than traditional topical gels. It is indicated for use on those that are sensitive to the cleaning procedures. Along with the benefit of increased comfort Oraqix is also short lasting, within about 20 minutes the effects will dissipate allowing you to continue on with normal activities without the normal “freezing” sensation you would experience with traditional needles.
Call us or visit the Oraqix website for further information.

Laser: Diode Lasers are a great way to speed up the healing of a cold sore. Cold sores are viral, caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1). This is a contagious virus that presents as blisters most commonly on the outer lip. Often people complain of itching or tingling sensation followed by the appearance of a painful lesion. Outbreaks are not always predictable but can be related to weather changes, stress, or immune deficiencies. People who suffer from recurring outbreaks are rare, but due the effects both physical and emotional that HSV causes it is important to find ways to effectively treat an outbreak.

Traditionally treatment options have included topical gels both prescription (Zovirax,Denavir) and over the counter (Lipactin, Abreva). Others may chose to take prescription medication orally (Zovirax, Famvir, Valtrex). Depending on the product they will work to reduce pain or to reduce the length of the outbreak. For many these are sufficient treatment options.

For those who are looking for an alternative that will be fast and non-invasive, lasers may be the answer. Low level diode lasers have shown tremendous healing potential for those suffering with HSV-1. If you seek treatment in the earliest stages (the “tingling” stage) the laser’s energy will destroy the virus responsible for the sore. If the cold sore is already present the laser’s energy will dry out the nerve endings which helps with pain. In either case lasers help to speed healing time and reduce pain when used to treat cold sores.

The bottom line about lasers and cold sores:

  • It is high tech and yet surprisingly affordable. In some cases insurance will reimburse you for laser treatments.
  • Photonic Laser energy kills the virus responsible for cold sores.
  • Most clients who are treated when the lip starts tingling/burning never develop a sore.
  • Pain relief is immediate, and healing remains more comfortable.
  • If the sore has already broken out, it will progress no further after treatment.
  • The lip will return to normal in a matter of days instead of weeks.
  • Laser treatment takes just a few minutes.
  • The laser’s light energy promotes healing through gentle photo-biostimulation deep within the lip.
  • Many clients report that after treatment sores occur with less frequency and less intensity at that location.
  • No needles or freezing required as this laser treatment is non-invasive and creates minimal discomfort.

Remember: All of the above can positively attribute to better dental hygiene (oral care) through the consultation of a professional dental hygienist.