Your Hygiene Appointment. It's Not Just a Cleaning!
At Hanover Dental your oral hygiene appointment includes the following assessments and exams by your dentist:
- Evaluation of medical history, noting any conditions or medications that have direct correlations to dental health and treatment
- Examination of the health of your jaw joint, density of bone, sinuses, growth and development (children) and presence or absence of wisdom teeth through use of a panoramic x-ray
- Use of intra-oral x-rays to assess the mouth for decay, abscesses, broken teeth, missing teeth, bone loss, tartar deposits, and previous dental work
- Education with the use of visual aids, including intra-oral photos, brochures and models
- Examination for signs of oral cancer, around the head, neck and inside the mouth
- Evaluation of teeth alignment
- Assessing supporting structures around teeth
- Diagnosing presence and stage of gum disease
- Assessing mouth for decay, infection, missing, broken or impacted teeth
- Evaluating condition of appliances such as partials, full dentures and guards
- Monitoring the growth and development of teeth and jaw in children
- Providing options for your cosmetic needs
- Use of oral cancer screening tools
- Oral hygiene instruction
- Nutritional counselling
- Smoking cessation
How Your Oral Health Impacts Your Overall Body Wellness
Heart Disease: Your mouth bacteria can enter the blood stream and attach to the fatty plaques in the heart blood vessels. This thickens the walls of your heart vessels, leading to a restriction of normal blood flow, thus reducing nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly. This may lead to heart attacks.
Stroke: If your blood pressure increases due to plaque build-up, the fatty bacterial particles can be dislodged, thus plugging up a blood vessel and a stroke can occur in the brain.
Diabetes: If you have diabetes, you are susceptible to contracting infections which includes periodontal disease (gum infections). Periodontal disease affects the jawbone and teeth and is considered the 6th complication of diabetes. It can also increase blood sugars, making diabetes more difficult to manage.
Pregnancy Risks: Periodontal disease is now considered a risk factor in pregnancy. It can cause significant risk for having premature and low-weight baby births. Researchers believe that periodontal disease triggers increased levels of biological fluids that induce labor. As a result, doctors want pregnant women to have a stable oral health all the way through pregnancy.
Respiratory Disease: Periodontal disease provides the colonies of pathologic bacteria. Bacterial respiratory infections are thought to be acquired through aspiration (inhaling) of fine droplets from the mouth and throat into the lungs. These bacterial populations can cause infections or worsen existing lung conditions like asthmatics and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or pneumonia.
Osteoporosis: There is a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Osteoporosis may lead to tooth loss because it decreases the density of the jaw bone which supports teeth. The bisphosphonates (bone-sparing drugs) cause problems if the mouth experiences tooth loss. If the patient is taking bisphosphonates and has periodontal disease, Osteonecrosis can result which is severe and irreversible damage to the jaw.
Pregnancy & Your Dental Care
Your oral hygiene and dental exams while pregnant are not only completely safe, but are highly recommended to maintain good oral and overall health throughout pregnancy.
While pregnant, routine x-rays will be postponed until after the baby is born. However, if there is a dental emergency requiring treatment right away, x-rays will be required and are completely safe for you and your baby. If treatment is required, dental anesthetic (freezing) will be used. The amount used will be as low a dose as possible to safely treat the area, and ensure the mother is comfortably frozen throughout the appointment. The safest time to have any dental treatment completed that requires freezing is during the 2nd trimester, so if possible any dental work needing to be done will be postponed until this time.
It is important to have good oral hygiene at all times, but especially during pregnancy. Changes in hormones put women at a higher risk of developing pregnancy gingivitis (bleeding and inflamed gums). To reduce the risk of the gingivitis and maintain good oral health throughout pregnancy, your dentist and hygienist recommend the following care:
- Brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste
- Floss at least once a day
- Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse
- See your dental hygienist for regular, preventative exams and continuing care appointments
- Eat a well-balanced diet, low in sugars and carbohydrates
- A babies teeth begin developing about 3 months into the pregnancy. Healthy diets containing cheese, milk and other dairy products are a good source of calcium required to develop your baby’s teeth, gums and bones
- Rinse your mouth out with water if you suffer from morning sickness and have bouts of frequent vomiting
- Avoid sugary snacks as much as possible. Sweet cravings are common throughout pregnancy, however the more frequent you snack, the higher the risk of developing cavities