Dental Tips Blog


“What’s That ‘Buzzing’ Tool My Hygienist Uses?”

All you know is that it tingles when it bumps your tongue, there’s a lot of water, and your teeth feel nice and smooth afterwards.

What is that thing?

Some people feel it’s a device that shoots out a jet of water powerful enough to blast teeth clean. Close. . . but not close enough.

Ultrasonic Powered Tooth Cleaning

You can thank ultrasonic energy for the zingy sensation. ‘Ultrasonic’ refers to sound waves that are extremely high-pitched. These sound waves generate energy.

The vibration actually comes from the metal tip which is moving back and forth too fast to see. In fact, the motions are very small. This energy helps to break up things like tartar, plaque, and stain. It’s also very effective at disrupting bacterial colonies which don’t like ultrasonic energy.

Where does the water come in?

Ultrasonic machines include a channel for water flow which helps wash away debris and cool the tip of the instrument. All that energy generates heat! That wouldn’t feel good on your teeth, at all.

Ultrasonic Scalers – The Benefits

Traditional teeth cleaning instruments are called ‘scalers’ because of the way they gently smooth the surface of teeth.

Ultrasonic scalers are electrically powered and use that special energy to break up microscopic deposits.

It’s a lot easier on everyone all around when your hygienist doesn’t have to vigorously scrape your teeth by hand. A mini power tool makes it easier for him or her to do the job and means less pressure on your mouth.

These powerful instruments have several interesting functions. Ask your hygienist about them at your next dental cleaning.

Posted on behalf of:
River Ranch Dental
203 George Hopper Rd #100
Midlothian, TX 76065
(469) 672-4245


Is Flossing an Outdated Oral Hygiene Practice?

Recently, the dental community was shaken up by some groundbreaking news.

A review found that there are no formal, scientific studies to date conclusively showing that individual flossing prevents oral disease.

Does this overturn everything your dentist has told you so far? No. Here’s the main reason: it’s extremely difficult to measure flossing.

The Challenge of Critiquing Floss Effectiveness

Flossing studies are limited by:

  • The number of participants
  • Dishonest participants
  • How long the study is carried out
  • Individual flossing technique

What Makes Flossing Effective

Flossing can be completely pointless if it’s not done correctly. If you ask your hygienist to show you at your next dental cleaning and checkup, you’ll learn that the action is a bit more involved than an up-down motion. Flossing also takes daily commitment to experience the benefits.

Why Should You Bother?

One thing everyone agrees on is the fact that dental plaque is responsible for cavities and gum disease. Get rid of the plaque on a daily basis and you reduce your risk for these problems.

Tooth brushing usually isn’t enough to access spots between teeth that hide bacteria. Whether you use floss, an interdental brush, a water flosser, or anything else, plaque removal is the ultimate goal.

Supplement Your Flossing Efforts

What people need to understand is that it’s not flossing in itself that’s so important.

You need to reinforce your teeth with fluoride and have them professionally cleaned twice a year or more. Special ingredients in mouthwashes and toothpaste help prevent plaque development in the first place.

The bottom line is this: flossing by itself is not the solution but it is an integral part of your preventive dental care. Ask your dentist for a professional opinion.

Posted on behalf of:
Southern Charm Dental
7119 FM 1464 #312
Richmond, TX 77407
(832) 648-3685


Worried Your Dentist Will “Yell” at You for Not Flossing?

Most people are hesitant about visiting the dentist because they feel it means that they’re only going to get griped at. Of course, no one likes to be told they’re doing a bad job taking care of their dental health.

How does your dentist really feel about your dental checkups? What can you do to make your next experience a positive one?

What the Lecture Means

There’s actually far more to the spiel about flossing than you might have realized at first.

As a dental health professional, your dentist feels obligated to help you enjoy the healthiest smile possible. By encouraging flossing the professional shows that he or she:

  • Values preventive dental care
  • Promotes patient education
  • Wants to work with you as a team in reaching your smile health goals

Rather than being shameful, the chance to discuss your flossing habit will help you get a handle on the technique and see results much sooner. 

Before Your Next Appointment

What if you know you’ve been slacking on the oral hygiene?

Come to your appointment prepared with questions. Ask things like:

  • Is standard floss right for my smile?
  • How can I reach my back teeth?
  • What if my teeth are too tight?
  • Are there any other tools I should use for the best results?

By showing an active interest in how to improve your technique, it doesn’t feel so much like you’re being “yelled” at! Instead, take the team-approach and really try to hear your dentist out. Carefully weigh his or her concerns and suggestions about flossing and you’ll be on your way to a better smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Smiles by Seese
610 Jetton St #250
Davidson, NC 28036
(704) 895-5095


3 Myths About Dental Cleanings

Perhaps you’ve heard one or more of the following statements come from a trusted friend. Or you may have caught yourself thinking these things! Read along as three common but misguided statements about professional dental cleanings are debunked.

  1. “They’re just for looks.”

Dental cleanings do far more than just shine up your smile. They remove plaque and tartar deposits that can irritate your gums and cause oral disease. If your oral health stands to benefit from any changes, your dentist and hygienist will make personalized recommendations. Additionally, your overall health is closely connected to your oral health. Keeping your mouth healthy with regular cleanings is good for your whole body!

  1. “All that scraping is bad for your enamel.”

Scraping EVERYDAY is not good for your enamel! But the relatively small amount of abrasion from dental instruments on an infrequent basis won’t harm your teeth. All dental hygienists are trained to remove as much stain and debris as possible with the minimum amount of force. Regularly using fluoride will help to reinforce your enamel against any abrasive forces it experiences.

  1. “One or two cleanings per year is enough for me.”

Two cleanings per year should be the minimum for everyone. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more, however. This could be done in an effort to keep gum disease under control. Perhaps you tend to build up tartar more quickly than most people. An extra cleaning or two a year will help you to stave off inflammation and prevent serious disease from setting in.

Don’t miss your next chance for a full cleaning and dental examination! Contact your local dentist to schedule a visit.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. Farhan Qureshi, DDS
5206 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, VA 22311
(703) 931-4544


Is There a Difference Between Plaque and Tartar?

You’ve heard the ads. Just about any product promoted for cleaning your teeth claims to fight plaque and tartar. But just what are these icky and unwelcome substances? Why should you be trying to fight them off?

The Daily Battle with Plaque

Plaque is a clear or white film made of:

  • Bacteria
  • Food debris
  • Natural fluids from your mouth

There’s no way that you can avoid plaque 100% of the time. It’s a natural biofilm, but it is also potentially very dangerous.

Plaque trapped between teeth can trigger cavities because of the acids produced by some bacteria. Plaque left along the gum line for more than a day can irritate your gums. This results in the inflammation known as gingivitis. If left unchecked, gingivitis can advance to a more serious form of gum disease, periodontitis.

When germs collect on a tooth surface and begin multiplying, they develop a protective film. This is the start of dental plaque, and this process can begin on a clean tooth surface within hours!

Why Tartar Is Not Good for Teeth Either

Undisturbed plaque deposits mix with minerals in your saliva and turn into – yes, you guessed it! Tartar.

Better known as “tartar,” calculus is the substance that results when plaque is not removed regularly. It can form at a more rapid rate in some individuals than others. Calculus provides the ideal surface for disease-causing bacteria to hide out on. Unless it is removed, it can easily encourage gum inflammation.

A Clean Smile is a Healthy Smile

Adult mouths, young mouths, and even mouths with few natural teeth can all develop dental plaque. A good routine of oral hygiene is important for keeping plaque and tartar deposits at bay. Visit your local dentist for professional dental cleanings at least every 6 months.

Posted on behalf of:
Meadowbrook Family Dental
8848 Calvine Rd #120
Elk Grove, CA 95828
(916) 912-4126


What to Expect During Your Deep Cleaning

For most people, battling gum disease starts with a procedure called a “deep cleaning,” also known as a periodontal scaling and root planing. If you don’t enjoy having your teeth cleaned in general, the term “deep cleaning” may make you feel a bit uneasy. Fortunately it’s an effective and therapeutic way to help you eliminate the cause of tooth and bone loss.

During your deep cleaning, we will usually numb the area of your mouth being cleaned. Some patients have only one side of the mouth treated at a time, while others may have their full mouth cleaned. The numbing agent may be delivered through an injection, which lasts longer, or with a temporary gel that wears off about 30 minutes. Both types of anesthesia assist in decreasing any discomfort that you have during the cleaning.

As your teeth are cleaned, the areas of the roots will be carefully scaled with a manual or ultrasonic instrument. This lifts the calcified tartar deposits from the tooth – deposits that cause the gums to detach due to the bacteria that they harbor. Ultrasonic instrumentation also flushes away the loose biofilm from the deepest pockets, creating a clean environment that accommodates healing.

Once the root surfaces are completely cleaned of all buildup, your gum tissues will have the ability to re-attach to the tooth. This can only take place if home hygiene is extremely thorough; otherwise the infection will simply continue. Daily flossing (or water flossing) under the gumlines will lift the bacteria before it has a chance to calcify into place.

After your deep cleaning, we will keep you on a routine preventive schedule that helps you keep your teeth clean and monitors your response to the therapy. With great care, you can keep your teeth for years!

Posted on behalf of:
Gilreath Dental Associates
200 White St NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 514-1224


3 Steps to Preventing Tartar Buildup

Tartar is an unsightly, discolored buildup that collects on the teeth. It’s starts out as soft plaque that isn’t removed properly and calcifies into place. Once it’s there, it’s impossible to remove the yellow or brown deposits on your own. Only your dentist or hygienist can clean it off. To prevent buildup (or at least decrease the amount that you tend to get,) stick to these 3 tips:

Brush Along the Gumlines

The gumlines are the first area where tartar accumulates. Especially on the tongue side of the lower front teeth, and the outside of the upper back teeth. Make small strokes on one or two teeth at a time, as larger brush strokes cause the bristles to miss the curves of the teeth. For best results, angle the toothbrush at about 45-degrees toward the gum tissue.

Floss Tightly Around Each Tooth, Every Day

It’s important to physically remove buildup below your gumlines. Otherwise the tartar will accumulate on the roots of the teeth, causing the gums to detach. To clean these areas, wrap your floss tightly around your teeth in a “C” shape. Then slide the floss up and down below the gums several times. Repeat this action on both sides of every tooth – even your very back ones. 

Chew Gum with Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar-substitute that prevents plaque from being able to build up on your teeth. The ingredient is available in many common gum brands, as well as in health food stores. Studies have shown that people who have 5 exposures to xylitol each day have significantly lower oral biofilm levels. Just don’t give up on brushing and flossing!

Posted on behalf of:
Family & Cosmetic Dental Care
2627 Peachtree Pkwy #440
Suwanee, GA 30024
(770) 888-3384


ProphyJet Air Polishing

Just about everyone loves having their teeth polished during their dental cleanings. Polishing helps remove stain, makes the teeth feel cleaner and removes left over plaque particles. But have you ever experienced air-powered polishing? When your hygienist uses a prophyjet to polish your teeth, you can enjoy benefits like:

  • Easier removal of heavy stain deposits
  • Shorter appointments
  • Stain removal from hard-to-reach areas
  • Effective cleaning and polishing around orthodontic appliances

Prophyjets use a powdered solution that is gently blown over the surface of the teeth to lift even the heaviest of stain particles. There’s no need to use a rotary rubber cup polisher to attempt to rub off these stains. It’s perfect for people who don’t enjoy the experience of polishing or the taste of polishing paste. Air polishing is much gentler. The handpiece also warms the water solution so that as your mouth is rinsed it does not experience cold sensitivity.

Air polishing is safe to use on any of your teeth as well as around your fillings. It can help lift deep, set-in stains that have developed around grooves, pits or margins. It’s perfect to use around brackets, orthodontic wires and bonded retainers because it easily reaches all surfaces with the touch of a button. Orthodontic patients have probably never felt a better smile polish than when they’ve had their teeth cleaned with a prophyjet.

Are you curious about the prophyjet air polishing experience? If you have moderate to severe stain, were braces or crowding, then the prophyjet can dramatically improve your next dental cleaning. Ask your hygienist about having your teeth air polished during your next preventive visit!

Posted on behalf of:
Linda King, DDS MAGD
4146 Georgia 42
Locust Grove, GA 30248
(770) 898-8872


Keeping Your Cleaning as Gentle as Possible

The most common procedure that you’ll have completed at the dental office is a routine dental cleaning and checkup. While some people absolutely love having their teeth cleaned, there are a small percentage that do not. In fact, they look at it in a negative light and are usually ready to finish it as quickly as possible. If that sounds like you, here are a few things you need to know about how to make your cleaning one that is as gentle as possible:

Ask your hygienist to use an ultrasonic instrument.

Ultrasonic scalers use light vibration and irrigation to remove the bulk of tartar deposits on your teeth. The power can be adjusted based on the amount of buildup as well as the comfort preferences of the patient. In most cases, ultrasonic scaling also allows the procedure to be completed more quickly. 

Take advantage of Nitrous Oxide sedation.

If you tend to feel jumpy or have generally sensitive teeth and gums, then nitrous oxide sedation is something you should really consider. It’s available for literally any dental appointment and can produce results in just a few minutes. Patients feel more relaxed and have less anxiety, typically wishing that they had asked for the nitrous oxide sooner. Even after the procedure, you’ll be able to drive yourself back home or return to work. 

Start flossing 2 weeks before.

Active gum infections like gingivitis or periodontal disease will make your mouth more sensitive during cleanings. Thankfully, gingivitis can be reversed in just 2 weeks with daily flossing and brushing along the gumlines. Since it takes 2 weeks of this to reverse signs of gingivitis, you’ll need to start flossing that far in advance as well (if you aren’t already.)

What do you love about your cleaning appointments? What do you wish you could change? Keep your dentist in the know – it’s the only way for them to help enhance your level of care at every visit.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Mansouri, Marietta Family Dental Care, P.C.



Questions You Should Always Ask Your Hygienist

Hygienists are always asking questions: “How often are you flossing? Does this hurt? How hard are you brushing your teeth?” In turn, there need to be some questions that you’re asking them. Knowing the right questions to ask can help you keep your mouth healthy, your teeth longer, and your breath fresher.

Ask her:

“Do I have any new pockets?”

Pockets are the areas under your gums, around your teeth. Healthy pockets are less than 3mm deep, but deeper pockets indicate that gum disease is present and beginning to destroy the bone in your mouth. Excessive pocketing may mean that perio therapy like deep cleanings, laser treatment, or even gum grafting is necessary. 

“Are any areas of my gums bleeding or swollen?”

Gingivitis is the first step in developing gum disease. Thankfully, it is 100% reversible. Symptoms like bleeding, swollen gums are signs that gingivitis is present. With routine brushing and flossing, gingivitis should completely reverse within 2 weeks. 

“Is there any recession?”

Recession is when gum tissue creeps down the neck of the tooth, exposing the root. It can cause sensitivity, compromise the stability of the tooth, and allow the root to develop cavities. Scrubbing too hard when you brush, using a hard toothbrush, grinding/clenching, and gum disease can all contribute to gum recession. 

“Do you see any demineralized enamel?”

The first stage of cavities is weak, demineralizing enamel. This often appears as frosty white areas on the teeth where brushing is less than adequate. Common areas are those along the gumlines, or around orthodontic appliances. 

If you’re having an area of sensitivity or something doesn’t quite look right, your hygienist is a great resource to utilize during your check-ups!

Posted on behalf of Find Local Dentists

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