Routine Dental Care
To remove plaque, which is usually heaviest on the portion of the tooth closest to the gum line, brushing and flossing are the first guard against tooth decay and gum disease. Place the toothbrush bristles at about a 45-degree angle toward the gum tissues. With a vibrating or circular motion, the bristles are flexed so they surround the gum tissues and the portion of the tooth closest to the gum line. This should be done in a systematic manner so all teeth are brushed. Pressure should be light so the gum tissue is not damaged. The same technique is used on the inside and on the chewing surface of the teeth. Just the tip of the brush should be used on the back of the upper and lower front teeth. When cleaning with floss wrap the floss (about the length of your forearm) around each of your middle fingers until there is about 5 inches of floss left. The floss is gently guided into the sulcus between the tooth and gums. Place your index fingers on top. By combining the finger or the thumb of each hand, there are 4 different combinations available. This is all you need to reach anywhere in the mouth. The two index fingers are used to get in the back of the mouth. The long fingers allow posterior access more easily. The thumb and forefinger combination helps in the front of the mouth. Reversing the hands gives access to the front of the mouth.
The rubber tipped toothbrushes can clean in between the teeth. Flossing and brushing can alleviate the damage that can be caused when gums are neglected. After gum disease progresses to a certain degree, surgery becomes the only option to repair the diseased area. Dr. Drew will recommend how often to have routine checkups. Many people should see their dentists once or twice a year. Dr. Drew will examine your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other health problems. Our dental hygienist will begin to clean your teeth by scraping hard mineral buildup (tartar) off of your teeth with a small metal tool. Then the hygienist will floss your teeth, use a polishing compound, and apply fluoride. Cleanings usually aren't painful. Occasionally Dr. Drew will want to take X-rays. The X-rays take only a few minutes. Dr. Drew will have you put on a heavy apron to shield your body from X-rays. Everyone else in the room will either wear a protective apron or step behind a protective shield. Dr. Drew will have you bite down on a small piece of plastic. This will help align the teeth properly for the machine. He will repeat this process several times to get pictures of all your teeth. If necessary, Dr. Drew will put a sealant on the chewing surface of your back teeth to help prevent cavities. Sealants keep food and bacteria from getting stuck in the rough chewing surfaces or grooves of your teeth, and they protect your teeth from plaque. Dr. Drew or the hygienist may apply a fluoride solution directly to your teeth to help prevent tooth decay. Dr. Drew may recommend a series of fluoride applications. If you are prone to infections, you may need to take antibiotics before you have any dental work. This includes those who:
1. Have heart valve problems, which put you at risk for endocarditis.
2. Have an impaired immune system.
3. Had recent major surgeries or have man-made body parts, such as an artificial hip or heart valve.
Dr. Drew or the hygienist may ask you about the foods you eat. What you eat and whether you get enough vitamins and minerals can affect your dental health. If you have active tooth decay or gum disease, Dr. Drew will talk to you about changing your brushing or flossing habits. In severe cases, he may recommend antibiotics or other dental treatments. If your teeth and gums appear healthy, Dr. Drew will recommend that you continue your usual brushing and flossing.