Comprehensive Dental Hygiene
Get your routine check-up and a professional teeth cleaning.
ROUTINE HYGIENE WELLNESS
Improve your daily brushing and flossing with Gundersen Dental Care
Daily brushing and flossing remove a great deal of the plaque and bacteria that accumulates on your teeth, but it’s nearly impossible to remove it all on your own.
Your dental hygienist can be your partner in achieving good oral health and visiting the dentist at least twice a year for a professional cleaning can prevent tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Our dentist may recommend more frequent visits based on the condition of your teeth and gums.
What to expect at your check-up appointment:
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Caring for your Smile
Here is what is included in your typical hygiene appointment.
Visual & Gum Disease Evaluation
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. Gum disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults, and because it is virtually pain-free, many patients do not know they have the disease. During each regular checkup, your dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth). If the plaque is not removed (by flossing, brushing, and regular dental checkups), it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. Periodontal disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Gingivitis — This is the early stage of gum disease, when the gums become red and swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
- Periodontitis — If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, and the gums and bones that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or be removed by a dentist.
Certain factors can increase a patient’s risk of developing periodontal disease, including:
- Smoking or using chewing tobacco
- Certain types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
- Crooked teeth
- Old fillings
While it is possible to have periodontal disease and not know it, some symptoms can include:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
Treating Gum Disease
Treatments for gum disease can vary depending on the severity of each individual case. Typical treatments include:
- Non-surgical treatments such as at-home periodontal trays, and scaling and root planing (deep cleaning)
- Periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery
- Dental implants
Preventing Gum Disease
Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Remember to brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits to help keep your smile healthy.
Using the most advanced dental technology possible is just as important as staying up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques. Because our practice is dedicated to providing you with the safest and most convenient treatment options available, we utilize advanced digital X-ray technology in our office.
Digital X-rays provide several advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental photos, and expose patients to less radiation than traditional X-ray technology.
Our practice is focused on making your dental experience as comfortable as possible. At your next appointment, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends fluoride treatments based on your risk for developing cavities. Our team evaluates if your risk for cavities is low, moderate, or high, based on criteria outlined by the ADA.
Most individuals with low risk are offered a fluoride treatment twice a year.
Moderate risk individuals are offered fluoride twice a year as well as a take-home fluoride product to help reduce the chance of them getting another cavity.
Individuals with a high risk for cavities may be offered fluoride treatment more than twice a year, a take-home fluoride product, as well as an antimicrobial rinse to reduce the cavity-causing bacteria.
Professional Teeth Cleaning
All of our hygienists are well trained to perform a thorough teeth cleaning. Our team removes the plaque and tartar from your teeth and then polishes them to remove stains and smooth the tooth surface. In addition to hand-held hygiene techniques used by our skilled hygienists, ultrasonic devices deliver targeted treatments to hard to reach areas. These devices deliver ultrasonic vibrations to crush and move calcified deposits of calculus.
Oral Cancer Screening
Our office is not only dedicated to your smile, we’re also dedicated to your overall wellness. We take a holistic approach to your dental care, which includes an oral cancer screening as a part of your regular exam. Like many kinds of cancer, oral cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
We have the skills and tools to ensure that early signs and symptoms of oral cancer and precancerous conditions are identified. While these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, it is very important to visit our office to rule out the possibility of oral cancer. The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A lump, thickening, or rough spot
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
Our team is trained in a simple, quick screening that involves an examination of your oral cavity as a whole, and not just your teeth, to detect cancerous and precancerous conditions. Besides a visual examination of your mouth, we will also feel the tissue of your mouth and throat to detect any abnormalities. If we find an area of concern, we may perform a simple test, such as a brush test, which collects cells from a suspicious lesion in the mouth to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. If this test comes back atypical or positive, we may recommend a biopsy.
Aside from receiving an oral cancer screening during your checkup at our office, there are many things you can do to help prevent oral cancer.
- The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid all tobacco products and only drink alcohol in moderation.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Limit your exposure to the sun and always wear UV-A/B-blocking, sun-protective lotions on your skin as well as your lips.
- During your next dental appointment, ask your dentist to perform an oral exam. Early detection of oral cancer can improve the chance of successful treatment.
How often should I get my teeth cleaned?
The Academy of General Dentistry recommends seeing the dentist for a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. We may recommend you visit more often depending on your specific situation and risk of disease. Some conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or pregnancy may require more frequent cleanings to keep you and your mouth healthy.
Will my insurance cover my check-up appointment?
Most insurances cover the procedures completed at a check-up and cleaning appointment. Our great team of insurance coordinators will help you navigate through your specific insurance benefits and provide you with an estimate of costs should there be a remaining balance after the insurance payment.