Our Oral Health and Wellness Program
Professional Hygiene Services Washington DC
Top-Rated Prosthodontist Serving the greater Washington DC area
Studies have shown that most adults lose more teeth to periodontal (gum) disease than they do for any other reason, including cavities. More than seventy-five percent of adults in the U.S. have periodontal disease in some form at some time in their life.
Good oral hygiene, along with regular visits to the dental hygienist are the first line of defense against periodontal disease. Your visit to the hygienist includes a recall exam and, when indicated, X-rays. With early diagnosis of problems, more treatment options are available to you. In short, with good oral hygiene and regular prophylaxis, your teeth and restorations will last longer.
Overview of Our Oral Health and Wellness Program
At Elite Prosthetic Dentistry, we have a very strong record of our patients losing very few teeth over many years, and, even, decades. Within our Oral Health and Wellness Program, we establish a very defined hygiene program for each individual according to his or her periodontal health, thereby preventing gingival (gum) and bone breakdown. We supplement this program with tips for caring for your teeth, choosing the best oral hygiene products, and best nutrition for oral health. Overall, by monitoring each person’s ongoing restorative and periodontal situation to assure that initial problems do not expand into larger issues, we have a very high success rate for maintaining our patients’ intact dentitions. We bolster this program with a full mouth set of digital X-rays of individual teeth (not a panoramic film) every 2-3 years.
When you join our practice, we will assess your periodontal and restorative condition and initiate your personal Oral Health and Wellness Program, based upon an appropriate hygiene schedule in 3, 4, or 6-month intervals, depending upon your overall condition. With a more advanced periodontal breakdown, our hygienists will provide a thorough debridement of diseased tissues (also known as “root planing” and “deep scale and curettage), along with a more vigorous home care regimen. As your condition warrants, we will refer you to a Periodontist for definitive gum and bone support therapy.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. This plaque is a colorless film of colonized bacteria, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. The buildup of plaque on your teeth will cause decay and will also irritate your gums, making them red, tender and bleed easily. Over time, this may cause your gums to recede from your teeth and cause pockets to form. These pockets fill up with bacteria and ultimately, the supporting gum tissue and bone around the tooth is destroyed. Once the bone is destroyed, the tooth will become loose and ultimately be lost due to periodontal disease.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent periodontal (gum) disease is through effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
Simply Radiant, Simply Natural
Dr. Gerald Marlin is a leading specialist in implant, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. One of the only prosthodontists with an on-site lab, Dr. Marlin has been voted “Top Dentist” by his peers for more than 20 years in a row in Washingtonian Magazine’s annual “Best Dentist” survey, and is considered the most experienced prosthodontist in the D.C. area.
Tips for Caring for your teeth
How to Brush Teeth
How to Floss Teeth
Caring for Sensitive Teeth
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
There are so many products on the market it can become confusing and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.
- Automatic and “high-tech” electronic toothbrushes can be safe and effective as long as you replace the brush head as soon as the bristles are splayed-out and you do not have thin gingiva (gum tissue). Also, we recommend that electronic tooth brushes are not used when you have anterior crowns. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes. However, the brushes need to be replaced every 6-8 weeks. An incorrectly used electric toothbrush can cause gingival recession.
- Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle; this is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with our hygienist.
- Use of a Sulcabrush has been proven to help patients improve their oral hygiene program in the removal of plaque and reduction of gingivitis.
- The End-Tuft is a toothbrush with a unique brush head designed for manipulating around problem areas.
- Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease
- Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
Professional Teeth Cleaning
Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.
Good nutrition plays a large role in your dental health. Brushing and flossing help to keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong however a balanced diet will help to boost your bodies immune system, leaving you less vulnerable to oral disease.
How often and what you eat have been found to affect your dental health. Eating starchy foods such as crackers, bread, cookies and candy causes the bacteria in your mouth to feed on it, they then produce acids, which attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes or more. Also foods that stick to your teeth or are slow to dissolve give the acids more time to work on destroying your tooth enamel.
- Starchy foods: crackers , breads, cookies, candy
- Sticky/slow to dissolve foods: granola bars, chewy fruit snacks, dried fruit, potato chips, hard candy
- Sticky and starchy foods create less acid when eaten as part of a meal. Saliva production increases at mealtime, rinsing away food particles and neutralizing harmful acids.
Foods such as nuts, cheese, onions, and some teas have been shown to slow growth of decay, causing bacteria in the mouth.