Scale /Clean and Topical Fluoride

Scale and Clean

Every 6 months is the ideal time frame to schedule general cleaning visits for healthy teeth. If you are a smoker or have periodontal disease or you are immunocompromised more frequent visits might be necessary to maintain your dental health.

Professional dental cleaning otherwise known as a Scale and Clean involves the following:

  • Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with a professional dental clean.
  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins that inflame the gums. This inflammation is known as gingivitis which can lead to periodontal disease.
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

No matter how often you brush and floss, calculus still builds up on your teeth, especially in harder to reach areas and especially behind your lower front teeth. A regular toothbrush cannot remove this type of deposits so it is essential to have a professional Scale and Clean.

Topical Fluoride Application

Dental caries (tooth decay) is caused by acid-producing bacteria that collect around the teeth and gingivae (gums) in a sticky, clear film called “plaque.” Without good daily oral hygiene and regular dental visits, teeth become more vulnerable to caries. Brushing twice a day and cleaning between teeth with floss or another type of inter-dental cleaner help remove plaque. Regular dental examinations and cleanings also are important for keeping teeth healthy.

Another key to good oral health is fluoride, a mineral that helps prevent caries and can repair teeth in the very early, microscopic stages of the disease

Fluoride can be obtained in two forms: topical and systemic.

Systemic fluorides are those that are swallowed. Examples include fluoridated water and dietary fluoride supplements. The maximum reduction in dental caries is achieved when fluoride is available both topically and systemically.

Topical fluorides are applied directly to the tooth enamel. Some examples include fluoride tooth-pastes and mouthrinses, as well as fluoride treatments at the dentist.

The Treatment

The fluoride preparation used in the dental office is a much stronger concentration than that in toothpastes or fluoride mouthrinses.

  • The teeth will be cleaned to remove any food debris and staining staining.
  • A high concentrate fluoride varnish is painted on to the tooth surface.
  • After the treatment, you will be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride and help repair microscopic carious areas.

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Depending on your oral health status, fluoride treatments may be recommended every three, six or 12 months. Your dentist also may recommend additional preventive measures if you are at a moderate or high risk of developing caries.