Tooth Decay vs. Gum Disease
Tooth decay and gum disease are two different diseases, so treatment is unique for each. More frequent dental cleanings can often help patients with gum disease while more frequent exams can help patients with high risk for tooth decay.
American Dental Association Statement on Regular Dental Visits
What’s the value of a regular ‘scale and polish’ from your dentist?
Routine ‘scale and polish’ for periodontal health in adults
Recall intervals for oral health in primary care patients
At each appointment, your dental team will review risk factors for tooth decay and gum disease, including tobacco use and chronic diseases. As a result, you’ll receive a personalized Proactive Dental Care Plan with recommended home care and in-office treatments.
Exams for Tooth Decay
A dental cleaning itself doesn’t prevent cavities from forming. That’s why we recommend more frequent exams between cleanings for patients who have risk factors for tooth decay. At these exams, called Caries Risk Assessments, which can happen as frequently as every 3 months, we focus on reinforcing homecare and helpful diet changes. We also apply fluoride varnish and evaluate the health of the teeth and gum tissue. These are meaningful steps supported by evidence-based dentistry to prevent cavities.
Consistent Home Care is the Best Medicine
While a dental cleaning is helpful for gum disease concerns, bacteria levels in the mouth double every 5 hours. And the bacteria that cause gingivitis and cavities repopulate quickly after a dental cleaning. Our daily efforts are essential in maintaining healthy gums. Cleanings do very little for decreasing plaque and bacteria in the mouth because they repopulate quickly and return to pre-cleaning levels within 24 hours. Daily homecare efforts are essential in keeping bacteria levels at a healthy level.
Follow your Dentist’s Recommendations
Whether it’s 1, 2 or 4+ visits a year, be sure to follow your dentist’s advice and schedule your dental visits in a timely manner so we can keep your risk levels in check and keep your mouth healthy for a lifetime.