Dentists recommend you brush your teeth twice a day, floss every day, and have regular professional cleanings. While brushing and flossing help remove food and plaque at home, professional cleanings are necessary to clean surfaces you’re unable to reach effectively, and to remove substances you’re unable to remove safely.
The term for professional cleaning is prophylaxis – it involves the removal of dental plaque, dental calculus, and stains from both the exposed and unexposed surfaces of the teeth. The goal of dental prophylaxis is prevention of disease by removing bacteria.
During the cleaning procedure itself, the dentist will use techniques such as scaling (where a physical instrument will be used to physically scrape tartar from teeth above and below the gum-line) and polishing (where a high-speed tool will be used to clean the surface of the teeth, removing plaque and making the surface less likely to accumulate plaque in the future). Finally, the dentist will also inspect teeth for signs of decay, disease, or damage, and will help identify minor problems before they grow into larger problems.
Professional cleanings are important – not only does it provide the dentist with an opportunity to check on your dental health, it helps remove calcified tartar before it has a chance to contribute to tooth decay. While brushing and flossing are vital to oral health, they are imperfect, and professional cleaning is just as important. If you have questions about the cleaning procedure, cost, or scheduling, contact your dentist’s office and ask.
What Is Sedation Dentistry? Sedation dentistry
uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. It’s sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” although that’s not entirely accurate. Patients of Riverside Dentist Dr. Gerald Middleton are usually awake with the exception of those who are under general anesthesia.
The following types of sedation are used in dentistry:
• Inhaled minimal sedation. You breathe nitrous oxide — otherwise known as “laughing gas” — combined with oxygen through a mask that’s placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax. Your dentist can control the amount of sedation you receive, and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This is the only form of sedation where you may be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.
• Oral sedation. Depending on the total dose given, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, you take a pill. Typically, the pill is Halcion, which is a member of the same drug family as Valium, and it’s usually taken about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy, although you’ll still be awake. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation. This is the type of anesthesia most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. Some people become groggy enough from moderate oral sedation to actually fall asleep during the procedure. They usually can, though, be awakened with a gentle shake.
• IV moderate sedation. You receive the sedative drug through a vein, so it goes to work more quickly. This method allows the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation.
• Deep sedation and general anesthesia. You will get medications that will make you either almost unconscious or totally unconscious — deeply asleep — during the procedure. While you are under general anesthesia, you cannot easily be awakened until the effects of the anesthesia wear off or are reversed with medication. If you have a general sense of anxiety every time you go to the dentist, talk to your dentist today about Sedation Dentistry. If you would like more information on sedation dentistry or Nitrous Oxide treatment, please contact Dr. Gerald Middleton at (951) 688-3442 or visit our website. Dr. Gerald Middleton also proudly serves Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore, and surrounding areas.