Cleanings & Hygiene

Professional cleanings performed by a licensed dentist or hygienist are just as important to your dental health as daily brushing and flossing.

Dental Cleanings

Professional cleanings performed by a licensed dentist or hygienist are just as important to your dental health as daily brushing and flossing. Using specialized tools and training, your hygienist at the office of Kathi M. Mansell will remove:

• Plaque build-up from the surfaces of teeth. Bacteria in the mouth form plaque, which collects on teeth and causes decay, gum disease and gingivitis
• Tartar from teeth surfaces. Tartar, or calculus, is plaque that has become hardened on the teeth; its removal requires scaling.
• Surface stains from teeth through polishing.

Some patients will require a deep cleaning due to gum disease and past periodontal treatments. Dr. Mansell will review your past dental history and identify any issues you may need treatment for.

Dental Examinations

Regular examinations, by Dr. Mansell, help detect and prevent health issues before they become serious. Consistent dental check-ups help catch problems when they are small and easier to treat. Left unattended, small treatable problems become worse and may require more extensive, expensive procedures to repair. Dental examinations generally include the following:

• Gum disease screening
• Oral cancer screening
• Visual tooth decay evaluation
• Gum pocket measurement and tracking
• X-ray examination

Dental X-rays (Digital)

Dental x-rays are a primary tool for early identification of dental problems. X-rays are primarily used to detect internal tooth decay, cysts (fluid filled sacks at the base of your teeth), tumors, impacted teeth, and teeth that are still erupting. The office of Kathi M. Mansell can detect issues with x-rays before they become problems, saving you money in the long run by preventing the need for more expensive procedures or surgeries.

Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is a combination of personal dental care at home and regular check-ups with the dentist. You should brush at least twice a day — once in the morning and once before going to bed. Flossing is also important to oral health and should be done once a day. Below are guidelines for good brushing and flossing practices.

Brushing

• Make sure to use a soft bristled brush. Hard bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth
• Place your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gum line
• Use short back and forth strokes or tiny circular movements to brush your teeth. Each movement should be no bigger than the size of each tooth
• Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing. Gentle strokes are effective in removing plaque, while too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth
• Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth
• Don’t cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes

Flossing

• Take 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand. You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1-2 inches in between for cleaning
• Gently move the floss up and down in the spaces around your teeth. Never snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage
• As you move the floss down into the space between two teeth, slide it up and down against the surface of one tooth. Gently clean at the gum line as well. Repeat this for the other tooth
• Repeat this process for all of your teeth

Dental Check-ups

You should visit the dentist at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control them before they get worse and harder to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach. Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms every day on teeth, from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental check ups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque.