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Hometown Dental’s hygienists are an integral part of our team as oral hygiene is extremely important to one’s overall oral health. Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and Periodontitis (inflammation of the supporting structures of the tooth) can be prevented with excellent home care and regular hygiene appointments for maintenance.


If hygiene is neglected, the plaque (a bacterial film) that grows on the teeth and gums is not regularly removed. Plaque is an irritant to the soft tissues and its prolonged presence results in gingivitis. Also, if plaque is not removed by tooth brushing and flossing, it can harden from minerals in the saliva and become more firmly attached to the tooth. This hardened plaque is called calculus. The longer calculus remains on the teeth (above or below the gums) the risk of gingivitis progressing to periodontitis increases. In periodontal disease, there is the destruction of gums and bones by the body trying to attack the plaque and tartar. As periodontitis progresses and the bone and gums are destroyed, pockets develop between the tooth and gums. In this case, it is harder to clean deep in the gums and infections, tooth mobility and tooth loss can result.


At least once a year, our hygienists will measure your gum pockets with a periodontal probe as a screening for periodontal disease. We will make recommendations based on your specific need for home care as well as the ideal frequency of professional hygiene cleanings. Cleaning visits are made up of scaling and/or root planing, which is the removal of calculus from the teeth with hand or ultrasonic instruments, polishing to remove any biofilm and stain as well as a topical fluoride application to help remineralize any decalcified areas of the teeth and prevent decay. If it has been a significant time since the last hygiene visit or there is a large amount of calculus buildup, the cleaning may take multiple visits and stages of treatment. Some people also require local anesthetic or freezing to complete their cleaning comfortably.


In cases where periodontal disease is present, we will work hard with the patient to clean the teeth and rehabilitate the tissues. Once we achieve a maintenance stage, we will clean the teeth normally in 3-4 month intervals to ensure the disease does not progress further. In some cases where the periodontal damage has caused pockets that won’t heal/shrink or recession (exposure of the root surface), we may refer to a periodontist (gum specialist). They have different types of surgical options to manipulate the gums to aid in maintaining healthy tissues.


Please ensure that you make your hygiene visits a priority in your oral health program. Your mouth will thank you for it!

Potential Hygiene Issues



More on Cleaning Your Teeth

Scaling & Root Planing

Healthy Gums

Written by Hometown Dental Okotoks

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