Dental Hygiene - 406-721-1067

Proper Dental Hygiene is the cornerstone of successful dentistry and long-term retention of natural teeth.

The naturally occurring bacteria of the mouth form a "film" on the surface of the teeth every 6-8 hours. Every 24 hours these bacteria organize into colonies and begin producing acids and toxins.

The toxins invade the gum tissue resulting in a low grade infection called "gingivitis". This is a precursor of periodontal disease or Pyorrhea which is responsible for 90% of adult tooth loss.

In addition, other bacteria invade the teeth themselves. This process is called dental decay or dental carries.

As people age, and if they have not followed up with regular cleanings or dental prophylaxis, the film calcifies forming a hard, crusty substance called tartar.

The tartar or calculus is 90% bacteria. The surface of the tartar is active bacteria and removing this layer can only be done with a professional dental cleaning.

Our hygienists use "state of the art" techniques to remove tartar in the most efficient and comfortable way possible.

How often is enough?

For most people, twice a year should keep tartar formation to a minimum. As people age, and depending on their home care, tartar may accumulate more often requiring more frequent cleanings. Also patients with active periodontal disease require more frequent treatment.

The good news is that insurance companies recognize the importance of regular sixth-month cleanings. They often pay at 100% for this preventative service.


What causes bad breath?

For 90% of people with bad breath the cause is not brushing or flossing correctly on a consistent schedule. The bacteria in dental plaque (which forms every 6-8 hours) produce gases which are the main culprit in "bad breath". Its important to remember these bacteria originate on the tongue. Brushing the tongue helps in reducing their numbers.

Other factors include smoking, stress, eating certain foods, and various systemic disorders like diabetes, alcoholism, and certain types of cancers. Medications leading to "dry mouth" also contribute to "bad breath".


Should kids get cleanings?

Even though children do not collect a lot of tartar, regular dental cleanings are important. They give us a chance to evaluate and remind the child of the importance of their home care. The application of topical fluoride helps to harden the teeth and make them more decay resistant.

Caries (cavities) tend to progress quickly in children. Their enamel, large pulps, questionable flossing habits and sugary diets work against children as they try to prevent dental decay.


What is "deep cleaning"?

This is a term meant to describe periodontal scaling. Individuals who have had a more advanced form of gum disease "periodontitis", require a more technical cleaning. Periodontal disease results in the loss of supportive bone around the teeth. Pockets which harbor bacteria then form. These areas cannot be cleaned with normal brushing and flossing.