These treatments aim to improve the oral health of our patients. Our aim is to prevent oral health problems, not only cure them. These procedures are generally non-invasive and rarely require the use of local anaesthetic. We aim to educate patients so they can maintain proper oral health at home.
Oral Hygiene Procedures for Children
Proper oral hygiene is very important for paediatric patients. Children tend to consume a lot of sweets and sugar- containing cold drinks that cause decay. They tend to neglect cleaning their teeth properly. The primary teeth are very important. The primary teeth act as space maintainers inside the dental arch. Early loss of a primary tooth causes a loss of space in the dental arch. This will decrease the space for the permanent teeth to erupt. These children often need Orthodontic treatment to correct the problem.
We strongly advise all parents to bring their children 6-monthly for general check-ups from the age of 4. It will give us time to explain proper oral hygiene and do a thorough polish of the child’s teeth to remove any plaque. Early detection of caries is important, so that we can treat the tooth as restoratively and conservatively as possible!
Parents need to be careful of systemic fluoride tablets. Use them only as prescribed by the manufacturer. Too much systemic fluoride interferes with the enamel formation on the developing permanent tooth. The enamel on these teeth are very weak and can present with white spots on the teeth. In severe cases of Fluorosis, the permanent teeth present with brown erosion of the tooth surface. We advise the use of toothpaste advised by the manufacturers for the age of the child. Please refrain from using adult toothpaste on children! Adult toothpaste contains high levels of fluoride, which children tend to swallow. Fluoride is very toxic to the stomach and lead to Fluorosis on the permanent teeth.
At the age of 6, when all the permanent first molars have erupted, we advise pit and fissure sealants on the permanent molar teeth. Pits and fissures are very difficult to clean and we do see a lot of decay in these areas. We clean the pits and fissures and seal them with a resin material to prevent decay forming in these areas. This is done without the use of a local anaesthetic.
We only advise full mouth Topical Fluoride Treatment once all the permanent teeth are present in the mouth. This is generally at the age of 12!
Oral Hygiene Procedures for Adults
Plaque build-up is the main cause of oral diseases such as Gingivitis, Periodontitis and Caries. The aim of proper Oral Hygiene procedures is to remove and prevent the build-up of plaque and calculus. Calculus forms when bacteria remove calcium from the saliva, forming hard deposits on the teeth. These deposits are ideal areas for the bacteria to colonise, causing gum disease or Gingivitis to the surrounding gum. Once the infection spreads to the bone surrounding the teeth, the disease is called a Periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious problem and needs to be treated urgently. Periodontitis may lead to loss of teeth. Oral hygiene procedures aim to protect the Periodontium, the Gingiva and Bone surrounding a tooth and cure gum disease.
Gingivitis presents with redness and swelling around the gingival area. The gums tend to bleed with mechanical trauma such as brushing. Gingivitis is treated by doing a thorough scale and polish to remove the bacterial biofilm and calculus on the teeth. We advise the use of a good Chlorhexidine-containing mouth wash for at least 2 weeks to clear up the infection. Patients should make use of a high quality toothbrush, preferably an electronic unit, and a fluoride toothpaste. The teeth need to be cleaned twice a day, cleaning the teeth and gum with the brush. Patients should also floss at least once a day. I have a saying that you only need to floss the teeth you want to keep! We advise our patients to come for 6-monthly check-ups and a thorough scale and polish every 6 months.
Once the Gingivitis spreads to the bone surrounding the teeth, the disease is called a Periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious problem and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Periodontitis presents with redness and swelling of the gingiva surrounding the tooth, as well as loss of bone on the x-ray with accompanying pocket formation. In advanced Periodontitis, the teeth can present with mobility. If there is only 1/3 of bone left around the tooth, the tooth has no chance of survival and needs to be extracted.
Unfortunately, bone lost due to Periodontitis can never be replaced. However, we can stop the bone loss by carrying out proper oral hygiene procedures. In mild Periodontitis, we treat the patient with a good scale and polish and give proper instructions on maintenance at home as described under Gingivitis. These patients need to see us every 6 months for a thorough examination and cleaning so that we can monitor the progression of the disease.
Patients with advanced Periodontitis require more aggressive treatment. They generally require root planing. We anaesthetise the affected area, lift the gums and clean the affected roots properly. Patients need to come in every 3 months for thorough cleaning and examination of the progression of the disease. In some cases, your Dentist will need to refer you to a Periodontist for further treatment.
All the above-mentioned treatments are offered to patients in our practice. All the products you need to maintain your oral health are available in our oral shop. Please do not hesitate to ask any of our staff for information regarding the products we offer! We will recommend the correct product to address your specific needs. Get in touch.