Dental-ExamIn a “normal” cleaning, the hygienist uses a hand instrument to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth then polishes them to remove light surface stains. Cleanings are recommended every 6 months to maintain good oral hygiene and health. If you build up plaque and tartar more heavily than normal, you may need to have a cleaning more frequently than every 6 months. Routine cleanings are usually covered by insurance and are affordable if you do not have insurance.
Dr. Roberts likes you to have an exam and bitewing (molar teeth) x-rays yearly to check for cavities, then you can just see the hygienist on alternative visits.
Full Mouth Debridement
A full mouth debridement or “FMD” is also known as a gross debridement, meaning a lot of buildup is removed from your teeth and can usually be done with no anesthesia or only with topical numbing medicine. Once you have this procedure done and you maintain good oral care at home, you should be able to develop a regular cleaning schedule every 6 months.
Scaling & Root Planing (SRP) is a very deep cleaning to arrest or stop the progression of periodontal disease or gum disease. It involves cleaning both above and below the gum line and requires local anesthetic for comfort. When calculus hardens on the tooth’s surface at the gum line, the gums are irritated and pull away from the tooth and may bleed and become painful. This space created by the gums pulling away from the teeth is called a pocket. Abnormal pocket depth is 4-6 mm or more and untreated periodontal disease can eventually cause the teeth to become loose and fall out over time. The hygienist can use hand scalers or an ultrasonic scaler that uses pressurized water to remove hard calculus from the tooth’s surface. This procedure is usually about an hour & twenty minutes and broken into 2 visits, right side then left side. After this deep cleaning, a person usually requires a periodontal maintenance cleaning every 3-6 months depending on the individual.
Periodontal maintenance follows a deep cleaning or SRP. This cleaning is more or less intense than a normal cleaning depending on how well the person has been brushing and flossing at home. Dr. Roberts recommends that the hygienist measure how healthy your gums are on a yearly basis with the goal of not exceeding 3 mm pocket depths (see SRP). Once you are a periodontal patient, you will always need to have maintenance every 3-6 months faithfully to prevent worsening of gum disease.