A dental cleaning, or prophylaxis, is a routine procedure that usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour and occurs 2 times per year. A deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing, is a procedure that could take up to 4 appointments to complete and will last an hour or more. This is a one-time treatment unless recurrent disease occurs. A periodontal maintenance cleaning is scheduled after scaling and root planing for subsequent and long-term routine care, usually 3 or 4 times a year.
The level of cleaning needed is determined by bacteria level, bone loss, and periodontal (gums/ bone) disease diagnosis. Most patients will fall into the prophylaxis category and see the hygienist 2 times a year or every 6 months.
Radiographs and an exam will also be provided after routine cleanings. Dr. Morelli will advise you if any issues are found at this time.
Sealants are white plastic resin that is placed into the grooves of the chewing surface of your tooth to help to prevent the formation of tooth decay (“cavities”). Sealants can wear over time and need to replaced, usually after 3 years or more depending on diet and bite force.
Dental guards are recommended treatment for patients with nocturnal or daytime teeth grinding (bruxism) habits. In addition to limiting teeth wear, night guards (NG) help to support the muscles used to chew and the jaw joint called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). In some cases, patients with severe habits and or symptoms will need to be referred to a TMD (Temporomandibular Dysfunction) specialist, or a sleep clinic for further diagnosis and treatment.
There are two main types of night guards: soft, which is flexible and preferred by mild bruxism patients, and hard, which is not flexible and made for patients with mild to severe bruxism and misaligned teeth. Options are discussed prior to fabrication of the night guard. Both types will last from 1-5 years on average before need for replacement.
If you decide to try a dental night guard, consider the following points for best results:
- Custom-fit: fabricated from molds taken of your teeth, delivered on a separate appointment and adjusted for optimum fit and function.
- Over-the-counter: purchased at a store or pharmacy, generally adequate to relieve grinding, not intended to relieve muscles or joint pain, fit is fair to poor, and inexpensive.
- Sleep Apnea: diagnosis of SA will preclude and limit the use of a guard. A sleep appliance should be worn during night hours in lieu of a night guard.