Cleanings and Prevention
A preventive oral health program
A preventive oral health program is a cooperative effort between Dental Designs’ patients, Dr. Heppler, and our team to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions. Preventative dental care starts at home with you: by practicing good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. The batton is then passed to us in the dental office, through the expertise of Dr. Heppler and his staff.
Prevention includes regular dental exams, cleanings, and digital x-rays. Sealants and fluoride are also great preventive treatments that help protect the teeth. The purpose of prevention is to maintain a healthy, confident smile, and avoid serious and costly dental problems.
Dental Exams at Your Dentist in Vancouver, Washington
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by Dr. Heppler at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, Dr. Heppler and Team routinely include the following:
- Examination of diagnostic digital x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. Digital x-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
- Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Dental Designs’ team of Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for sometime and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line, and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
- 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 (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
- Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is the ultimate goal for our patients at Dental Designs. As your choice for dentist in Vancouver, Washington, we know your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. It starts at home by eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Brushing Your Teeth
Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
- Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
- Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
- Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Dr. Heppler also recommends electric toothbrushes. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
- Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
- Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline.Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with Dr. Heppler or one of our Dental Hygienistst on its appropriateness for you.
Sometimes Dr. Heppler recommends other dental aids as well: Interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, etc., can all play a role in good dental home care.