Dental Tips Blog


What is My Hygienist Doing When She “Cleans” My Teeth?

Your dental check-up should include your dentist examining your teeth for cavities, gums for gum disease and screen for oral cancer.  Along with your dental exam, it is equally important to have your teeth “cleaned” by a Registered Dental Hygienist at your dental check-up.  Though you may brush and floss your teeth at home, you can still get “tarter” build-up which can only be removed or “cleaned” by your dental hygienist.

What all is your dental hygienist doing at a typical “teeth cleaning” visit?

  • Examining your gums and the surrounding tooth structures- A dental probe (a mini ruler) is used to measure the space between your gums and teeth to make sure your teeth are attached to your gums properly and to check for gum disease.
  • Screening for Oral Cancer- Checking tissues in and around your mouth for suspicious areas that could be oral cancer.
  • Removing tarter build-up- Removing tarter with special dental instruments, which can’t be done with brushing and flossing. This will help prevent gum disease and/or reverse early onset of gum disease.
  • Removing plaque biofilm and stain with polishing paste- Plaque biofilm causes gum disease and cavities so your hygienist will remove the biofilm and surface stain from your teeth.
  • Flossing your teeth
  • Give brushing and flossing instructions
  • Fluoride Treatment- Fluoride rinse or varnish is placed on your teeth to strengthen them and to fight cavities.

Have you been in recently to see your dentist for an exam and your dental hygienist for a cleaning?  If not, call your dentist to schedule an exam and cleaning today!

Posted on behalf of:
Red Oak Family Dentistry
5345 W University Dr #200
McKinney, TX 75071
(469) 209-4279


What Do Asthmatic Patients Need to Know About Their Smile?

You may visit a dentist just to have your teeth taken care of, but it’s important to understand how asthma and other types of medical conditions can impact the quality of oral health that you experience.

At the Appointment

One of the biggest risks in dentistry for asthma-sufferers is forgetting to bring their inhaler to the appointment!

Really, though, how likely are you to have an attack?

Actually, your chances are pretty high. A dental office is a clean place, free of most allergens, but there are a lot of aerosols generated during your visit. Tiny water droplets are whisked into a mist through the use of high-powered instruments that clean, prepare, restore, and polish teeth. These microscopic droplets can give the airways quite a tickle, if inhaled.

An asthma attack can also be triggered by anxiety. It is especially important that you feel free to communicate your concerns to during your visit, so that your dental provider can help you feel more relaxed.

At Home

The medication that you depend upon can increase your risk of tooth decay, dry mouth, gum disease, and bad breath. Asthma medications tend to reduce saliva in your mouth. Saliva is a natural cleanser and protectant and bacteria proliferate when the salivary flow is reduced. It is essential that you are vigilant about brushing and flossing! Use lots of fluoride to strengthen your teeth, and try to rinse your mouth with water after each time you use your inhaler.

Your dentist will help you balance your overall health with a beautiful healthy smile! See your dentist at least twice a year, and use supplemental fluoride to keep your enamel strong.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Dental Health
2285 Peachtree Rd #203
Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 666-3642


Dental Exams

Dental exams are a key element when it comes to preventing dental disease. Early diagnosis and evaluation of symptoms can allow your dentist to treat active tooth decay while it is still small. Delaying exams or treatment simply allows tooth decay to expand and become more invasive. A simple filling can easily turn into an abscessed tooth, requiring root canal therapy and a crown.

There are different types of dental exams that your dentist will provide. You will note these listed on your receipt or insurance breakdown. Here is a summary of common exams that your dentist provides, depending on what your specific complaints are:


This exam is performed on every new patient and usually every 3-5 years on existing patients. A comprehensive examination includes oral disease screening, a head and neck examination, periodontal screening, oral cancer screening and health history review. Comprehensive exams usually call for a full mouth series of dental x-rays.


The most common type of exam is the periodic exam. This exam is performed during your routine appointments for dental cleanings and checkups and should be done at least once a year. Periodic exams allow the dentist to check any areas that are being monitored, check for new symptoms of disease, and update health history information. Once a year bitewing x-rays allow the dentist to check for early signs of decay between the back teeth.


A limited exam is problem-specific. Most limited exams are for a follow-up related to a specific treatment that you receive. Or, a limited exam may be performed if you are coming into the office for a dental related emergency. An x-ray will be taken of the tooth that is suffering from the symptoms. No other areas are addressed.

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