Preventive Dentistry: Scaling and Polishing

Prevention of dental problems through appropriate care or using oral care-related procedures is called preventive dentistry. Along with personal care, preventive dentistry is aimed at preventing long-term dental problems. The application of preventive dentistry at an early age enhances dental health for a lifetime; however, the techniques are equally effective in adulthood and minimize the extent of dental problems.

Tooth decay and gum diseases primarily cause teeth loss. The oral cavity is filled with microbial flora. Under normal conditions, the bacteria regulate the oral environment and maintain physiology. However, external factors may disrupt this balance causing gum- and teeth-related problems.

When the proportion of bacteria increases, they form a thin film on the teeth surface. This colourless and sticky film is called plaque, which accumulates on the teeth. Depending on the extent of plaque deposition, the teeth colour varies from yellow to brown. The plaque hardens to form tartar or calculus. Plaque deposition and tartar formation vary among individuals.

Plaque formation fosters bacterial survival, thus exposing teeth to further damage. Plaque build-up usually starts 4–5 hours after brushing teeth. Hence, regular cleaning is essential to avoid the plaque from sticking to your teeth.

Scaling is a technique for tartar removal. This nonsurgical procedure cleanses teeth and removes plaque below the gum line. Scaling can be performed manually using hand-held tools or using ultrasound. Under manual removal, the dentists remove plaque using a scaler and curette. The shape of these tools complements that of the teeth curves and hence allows for easier movement between them. Scaling using ultrasound breaks down large tartar pieces into small removable particles through vibrations. Water sprays flush away the particles simultaneously. The tools are blunt to avoid any scratches or scars and are perfectly safe. Some patients experience a tingling sensation or feel ticklish as the ultrasonic instrument moves across the teeth. In such conditions, inform your dentist immediately to avoid discomfort.

Polishing is done to prevent plaque from accumulating on teeth. This procedure is usually performed after scaling to protect teeth from plaque accumulation. A prophy cup is used for polishing teeth surface. It comprises a rubber cup and a prophy paste that remove plaque and stains, leaving teeth in its natural colour and form.

Sometimes a dentist may choose to include fluoride treatment post scaling and polishing. This treatment is performed to strengthen the weakened teeth because of bacterial acid action. Also, fluoride provides the essential minerals lost to plaque and acids.

Taken together, scaling and polishing is a painless procedure. In extreme cases with poor gums or any other dental condition, a local anaesthetic will be applied which ceases pain and ensures relief. The entire procedure lasts for a couple of hours; however, the duration depends on the extent of removal. In most cases, the treatment is completed in one visit.

Scaling and polishing are part of the preventive dental techniques aimed at protecting teeth from damage. Plaque build-up can be easily prevented through rinsing your mouth after every meal, followed by brushing twice a day and flossing before bed. These simple habits will effectively protect your teeth from plaque formation.

Scaling and polishing can be availed at our clinic to get rid of tedious and difficult-to-clean plaques. You can also resolve your queries from our team for all your dental concerns. We at the Sterling Dental Clinic look forward to serve you.

Is your smile making you camera-shy?

A lot of us are camera shy and are always wary of how our pictures would look. Most of us would not even force a smile because, you know, everything is out there in the open! One thing those lips could be hiding are your teeth. A small gap, a little chipped tooth, a missing tooth are only a few of those many reasons that make you conscious of your smile.

So, does dentistry offer any solution to this? You bet it does! Your answer lies with veneers. Simply put, veneers are thin shells that cover your faulty tooth, thus masking its original appearance. Veneers are known for their high aesthetic appeal, particularly for the ease of application and comfort.

Veneers can be composed of resin or porcelain. Composite resin is the primary component of resin veneers that is used with a bonding material for the affected tooth. Resin veneers can be easily applied in one visit and are hassle-free. Furthermore, they last at least 6 years and can be replaced if required.

By contrast, porcelain veneers are synthesized in the laboratory and are a one-time permanent solution. Porcelain veneers are superior to resin veneers in terms of their durability and camouflaging properties. Moreover, their appearance is more similar to that of natural teeth than that of resin veneers. Because they are a permanent solution, porcelain veneers cannot be replaced on damage. In addition, porcelain veneers are expensive as compared to resin veneers and usually require more than one visit to the dentist.

You would require veneers in case you have a broken tooth, a gap between adjacent teeth, stained teeth, decayed teeth, and so on. The procedure usually involves a preliminary examination to determine the health of your teeth. Following this, your dentist will design a subtle option that is appropriate for your needs. A teeth impression is obtained to construct the veneer. A part of your enamel may be removed such that the veneer can be suitably placed. Subsequently, the tooth may be trimmed to adjust the veneer position. A bonding element holds the veneer in place, thus establishing the tooth firmly. The veneer-covered teeth are exposed to special lights, which gives them their characteristic color and ensures their proper activation.

Veneers are the perfect quick fix to your lesser-known teeth problems. The results are instant, long-lasting, and completely nonsurgical. Whether you choose composite or resin, the treatment has a high success rate and augments the overall look. Furthermore, veneers are low on maintenance. You do not have to go the extra mile for caring for your teeth. Practicing basic dental hygiene, such as brushing and flossing, would suffice. To protect your enamel from getting stained, your dentist may advise you to avoid drinking caffeine-enriched beverages and dark fruits.

So, no more shying away from the camera! Let your gorgeous self glow with your gorgeous teeth.

So, if your smile is making you camera-shy, why not contact us about your tooth-restoration options? If you would like to know more, do schedule an appointment for a consultation.

Are you neglecting your teeth and gums?

Periodontitis is the inflammation of tissue around teeth. Gums that firmly hold your teeth in place are the soft targets of periodontitis. A periodontal disease initiates as a swelling in the gums called gingivitis, later progressing to periodontitis which is a severe condition.

Poor dental hygiene, hormonal imbalance, family history of dental diseases, and other disorders can cause periodontitis. Preliminary signs of periodontitis include red, tender, and swollen gums; bad breath; shift in biting patterns; gaps in teeth; and loose or shifting teeth.

Gingivitis is often easily neglected. Many of you may have some form of periodontal disease but may well be unaware of this condition. Only a certified periodontist may accurately diagnose and treat this condition.

Periodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry solely dedicated to periodontal disease treatment. Periodontal treatment may be either surgical or nonsurgical.

Dental curettage is a nonsurgical treatment option. This treatment is usually offered at the initial stage of the disease. A curette works its way around your teeth and gums removing harmful plaque and tartar build up. Furthermore, the roots may be planed for smoothening the root surfaces. This ensures the closure of periodontal pockets and filling up of gaps, if any.

Gum graft surgery is targeted at individuals with receding gums. Tissue loss around the gums causes gum receding. This is accompanied by swelling, bleeding, infection, and pain. Furthermore, increased sensitivity of the root and dental caries are other typical symptoms. Gum recession is a gradual process that manifests over a period. Grafting involves transfer of healthy tissue from a different source to facilitate tissue reconstruction.

There are three types of gum graft surgery:

Free gingival graft: In this technique, the donor tissue is usually sourced from the palate and transferred to the affected area. This technique has the most efficient treatment outcome because the donor and recipient tissues are identical in composition. A thin slice of healthy gum tissue is extracted from the palate and placed onto the affected area. Because the graft is completely isolated and free of the donor site, the technique is called free gingival graft. The healing period may vary on an individual basis; however, the average healing period lasts from a couple of weeks to a month.

Connective tissue graft: Connective tissue grafts are common in the treatment of exposed roots. The technique is similar to that of free gingival graft, and the palate tissue is the primary donor site. Connective tissue grafting involves transfer of a thick section of palate tissue comprising the primary and specialized tissues. The technique is highly intensive, requiring sharp surgical skills and care from the surgeon’s end. The success of this technique is highly dependent on graft acceptance, vascular growth around the recipient tissue, wound healing, superior surgical skills, and postoperative care. The advantages of connective tissue grafts are superior root coverage, lesser trauma and postoperative complications, and enhanced aesthetic appeal owing to high compatibility and similarity with the original gum tissue colour and appearance.

Pedicle graft: In a pedicle graft, a part of the donor tissue is slit and extended such that the recipient site is in contact with the original donor site. Thus, the recipient tissue is ensured of all the nutrition and the vascular support from the donor tissue. Moreover, this technique is called soft-tissue grafting because it involves the sharing of soft tissue between the gum and teeth. The success rate of this technique is high because the graft is attached to the parent tissue, thus receiving uninterrupted nutrition and blood supply. Hence, tissue regeneration is faster and graft rejection is a rarity. However, the only critical element responsible for the success of this technique is the occurrence of the suitable donor tissue around the affected tooth. Thus, pedicle grafts are feasible only in case of availability of a healthy tissue around the affected tooth.

After the surgery, you may be advised a specific soft food-based diet by your dental expert for ensuring efficient recovery and little damage. You can avail any of these periodontal treatment techniques at our clinic. Based on a preliminary examination, we can devise a suitable treatment option for you at your convenience and at no extra cost. After all, ensuring your comfort and satisfaction is our prime motto. Click here to book an appointment at the Sterling Dental Clinic or call us at +91-11-26152930 / 26152999.

Brighten Up Your Face With Teeth Whitening

Pearly white teeth are an instant attraction. They add a sparkling touch to your aesthetic appeal. However, unregulated dietary habits affect the natural shade of teeth; for example, drinking several cups of tea is sufficient to cause visible discoloration.

Teeth tend to absorb the food colours they are exposed to. Hence, the type of food you eat is partly associated with the coloration of your tooth.

Discoloration may be extrinsic or intrinsic. Enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, is the target site for external discoloration. As the name suggests, external discoloration occurs only at the outer layer. The enamel is stained in a yellowish hue of spots, fine lines and may be brownish or black in severe cases.

When the internal tooth area is affected, it leads to intrinsic discoloration. Discoloration of the dentin, the softer teeth tissue, is majorly observed in intrinsic discoloration. The teeth usually become darker, with a greyish or yellowish appearance.

Discoloration may be caused by several factors:

Food/Drinks: Beverages such as coffee, tea, colas, and wines.

Tobacco: Tobacco consumption in the form of chewing or smoking.

Improper Dental Hygiene: Inappropriate or insufficient dental hygiene, such as inadequate brushing and flossing.

Diseases: Certain infections, congenital diseases, and metabolic disorders.

Ageing: Teeth discolour with age, as the enamel wears out. This exposes the internal layer, dentin, which is naturally yellow in color. Furthermore, as the enamel wears off with age, teeth stain easily.

Genetics: Certain individuals may have stronger and thicker enamel because of their genetic make-up.

Environment: High fluoride content in water and use of fluoride-rich toothpastes.

Professional bleaching is the most common method of teeth whitening. Based on the health of your teeth and the extent of discoloration, your dental care provider may recommend the appropriate bleaching technique for you.

You may undergo the procedure at the clinic. A typical procedure may last a few hours, wherein your dentist will use a bleaching agent to remove discoloration. Patients needing a quick fix can also avail of the technologically advanced one-hour in-office teeth whitening procedure. It’s safe, effective and fast – in less than an hour your teeth will become dramatically whiter.

This is just an overview of the treatment options. Our team at Sterling Dental Clinic will advise you if you are suitable for this treatment. If you need your teeth whitened, we recommend the removal of any existing decay and treatment of restorations if any, prior to this procedure. For more information regarding other value-added options, book an appointment today!

Practicing dental hygiene is the first and foremost requirement for maintaining dental health. Avoid excessive consumption of beverages and substances that leave a nasty stain. Rinse your mouth well after you eat. In addition, always remember what grandma said, “Brush your teeth, twice a day!”

What is Endodontics or Root Canal Therapy?

Endodontics refers to treatment for the internal tooth. One of the most common practices in dental medicine is root canal therapy, a form of endodontics. This therapy is targeted at teeth roots that are severely damaged, in a bid to protect them and prevent tooth extraction. In brief, the damaged root cavity is cleaned, abscesses are drained out, and the teeth are sealed to prevent further damage. The procedure takes its name from the natural cavity of teeth.

What causes a root canal?

The tooth contains a hollow area or cavity, which is the root canal. This hollow region is enriched with blood vessels and nerves that provide nutrition and facilitate signalling, respectively, of the tooth. This hollow, highly vascular region is called the pulp. Any damage to the pulp usually causes inflammation and pus formation. In addition, it affects the sensitivity of the teeth to hot and cold items. In several cases, discoloration may be observed.

Injury, poor dental hygiene, chipped or cracked teeth are among the several causes of tooth decay. The pus and swelling lead to severe, unbearable pain. Furthermore, damage to the pulp is an open invitation to the growth and propagation of bacteria in the affected region. This further aggravates the decay and may even reach the roots.

How does root canal therapy work?

The first step is an X-ray to determine whether you actually need a root canal. The X-ray provides a better understanding of the health of the tooth and its neighbouring tissues. In case your dentist recommends a root canal, the first step is anesthetization to numb the area.

Second, to keep the area dry and free of saliva, a small rubber sheet is placed around the teeth. This protective sheet is called the dental dam.

Next, a tiny hole is drilled through the crown of your teeth. Through this hole, surgical dental instruments called files penetrate and clean the cavity of pus and other debris. The entire area is cleaned and flushed using suitable solvents.

Once cleaned, the endodontist fills the area with a suitable biocompatible material. In most cases, the initial filling is temporary and may be substituted with permanent filling based on your need and the recommendation of the endodontist.

How successful is a root canal?

The success rates of root canal therapy lie between 95% and 98% based on the health of your teeth. Most teeth fixed using root canal therapy need not require further treatment and may well last a lifetime.

How long is the procedure?

Root canal can vary anywhere between two or more sittings based on your teeth health and the recommendation of the dentist.

How quick is the recovery?

Although you cannot instantly chew or bite using the newly reconstructed teeth, the recovery doesn’t take longer than two to three days. Healing is essential, and adequate healing usually yields better results. However, the teeth must be dealt with extra caution because they are prone to fracture. Hence, avoid the intake of solid food or food that requires you to chew constantly, such as chewing gum, nuts, and salads. Flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day is always recommended.

Is tooth extraction better than root canal?

Like the proverbial saying, a stitch in time saves nine, proper care may help you retain your teeth and avoid the need for extraction. Root canal ensures that the damaged tooth is fixed and preserved teeth. Extraction, on the other hand, leads to removal of teeth. Furthermore, tooth extraction is more painful, more expensive, and may warrant several visits to the dentist as compared to a root canal.

Can all teeth be fixed using root canal?

Most teeth can be fixed using root canal treatment, provided the canal is accessible, the root is not severely damaged, the tooth canal can be restored, and there is no visible fracture to the affected root. If any of the previous conditions are not met, then root canal may possibly not be performed in the affected tooth.

Why should I get my treatment done at Sterling Dental Clinic?

As we firmly advocate holistic dentistry, we wholeheartedly believe that it is far better to save and treat a tooth where possible than to remove it. Thanks to endodontic treatments, extracting a tooth is no longer your only option.

The dental team at Sterling are highly trained and skilled professionals who can provide everything, right from a simple consultation to an effective surgery. Under the expert supervision of a brilliant team, your teeth will be protected and nurtured for a lifetime.  At our clinic, we are committed to continued learning so we can offer patients the latest dental techniques, procedures, equipment and products.