We encourage you to schedule a dental checkup and cleaning every six months. These preventive visits allow us to identify potential and existing oral health concerns early, when treatment is often conservative and minimally or non-invasive.
What to Expect at Your Checkup
Generally, a dental cleaning includes a thorough head, neck, and oral examination by Dr. Murray-Curtis, in combination with dental X-rays and a consultation. The dentist will sit down and talk with you about his findings and treatment recommendations. This is your opportunity to ask questions and let Dr. Murray-Curtis know if you have any special circumstances, such as a medical condition or dental phobia. If a procedure is necessary to restore your oral health, we prefer to promptly schedule treatment, in the best interest of your health. Because dental treatment involves finances, learn about NHS and payment options here.
What to Expect at Your Cleaning
If you do not have gum disease, a regular cleaning may be performed in conjunction with your checkup. Why do you need dental cleanings? Plaque is a bacteria-riddled, naturally-occurring substance that builds up on the tongue and teeth. The bacteria in plaque contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. Brushing twice and flossing once a day at home can remove most plaque. The small amount of plaque left behind each day, however, calcifies and hardens into a substance known as tartar or calculus. Tartar is not water soluble, and brushing and flossing don’t dislodge all tartar. At a dental cleaning, a hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, reducing your risk for developing periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease.
Our staff includes two hygienists with distinctly different chairside manners, so we will try to place you with the hygienist with whom you feel most comfortable. Using Ultrasonic Scaling and Prophy Jets, the hygienist will gently remove plaque and tartar build up. She will also measure your gum pocket depth, make notes on your chart, and answer any questions you ask about oral home care. The hygienist will complete your cleaning by polishing your teeth, so you’ll leave our clinic with clean, shiny teeth and fresh breath.
If You Have Gingivitis or Periodontitis
Gum disease is rampant. Studies indicate that 80% of UK residents will develop gum disease during their lifetime. Research shows that gum disease increases a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, respiratory problems, osteoporosis, and edentulousness (losing all teeth).
Attending checkups and cleanings every six months will allow your hygienist and Dr. Murray-Curtis to detect gum disease in the earliest stage, before you experience any symptoms.
We measure the depth of space between gum tissue and teeth. A gap of 3 mm or greater indicates the presence of gum disease. Left untreated, the chronic condition will advance as bacteria eat away the connective tissues between teeth and gums. Ultimately, teeth loosen and fall out. Jawbone tissue and gums can become necrotic (dead), as well. This is why immediate treatment is imperative.
If you have gum disease, your hygienist will prescribe and administer the proper treatment. Gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, may be treated with a vigorous daily oral hygiene routine and use of certain dental products that target eliminating bad bacteria. In some situations, a deep cleaning is advised. Deep cleanings involve two procedures: scaling to remove tartar and plaque from beneath the gum line, and root planing to smooth rough areas on teeth roots in an effort to eliminate places where tartar can build up.
More advanced cases of gum disease, referred to as periodontitis, may require specialist care. In this situation, Dr. Murray-Curtis will refer you to a respected local Periodontist.