A critical part in maintaining strong, healthy teeth and gums is proper dental hygiene. It is recommended that you have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined at a minimum of once every 6 months. During your hygiene appointment your hygienist will asses your current dental health, take x-rays (typically bite-wings once every year and panorex once every 3 years) and determine whether you simply need a traditional prophylaxis (cleaning), a scaling and root planing (deeper cleaning that cleans down into the gum line), or a full mouth debridement. After your cleaning, Dr. Pulido and your hygienist will thoroughly look over your x-rays, dentition, and tissues to make sure your oral health is in good order. Included in this exam Dr. Pulido and your hygienist look for signs of oral cancer; in addition to this exam, an oral cancer screening utilizing the state-of-the-art Identifi Oral Cancer Screening System will be administered once every year.ProphylaxisA professional cleaning where the hygienist will use a variety of instruments to remove any plaque and foreign material from your teeth. Your hygienist will use several techniques to check for decay, cavities, and any other dental problems that are present.Perio Scaling and Root PlaningA deep cleaning of the teeth and root surfaces below the gum line where plaque, tartar, calculus, and stains are removed to allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. The risk factors that may increase your need to have a scaling and root planing (s/rp) are: not having your regular 6 month professional cleaning, smoking, diabetes, hormonal changes in girls and women, medications that reduce the flow of saliva, and genetic susceptibility. After your s/rp is completed, your hygienist will schedule a 6 week appointment to re-evaluate your condition. To prevent the need of another s/rp in the future, it is necessary to have a professional cleaning at minimum every 6 months.Full Mouth DebridementThis is typically spread out over the course of 2 appointments that are separated by 2-3 weeks (time for the gums to heal and inflammation to subside) where tartar, calculus, plaque, and other foreign material are removed. A full mouth debridement is necessary when the plaque and calculus build up is so severe that it interferes with Dr. Pulido’s ability to perform a comprehensive oral evaluation.SealantsA varnish that is applied to children’s teeth to assist in preventing decay on their adult teeth.Cavity VarnishA fluoride varnish that is used to assist in preventing tooth decay and help with dry mouth.Perio ChipAn antibiotic chip that is placed in a deep pocket to shrink the pocket in an effort to prevent the need of periodontal surgery.Identafi® Oral Cancer Screening SystemWhat do Aaron Spelling, Babe Ruth, Roger Ebert, Jim Thorpe, Tony Gwynn, and Michael Douglas all have in common? They all have been diagnosed with one form or another of oral cancer. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, about 43,250 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and approximately 8,000 people will die from oral cancer this year (roughly 1 person every hour). The reason for such a high death rate for this form of cancer has been due in large part to the cancer being discovered in its late stages. This is why our office performs an oral exam at every Hygiene appointment, and we have implemented an oral screening program of once every year.Identafi® uses white, violet, and green-amber wavelengths of light to excite oral tissue in distinct and unique ways that provides Dr. Pulido with more visual information resulting in increased confidence for recommending follow-up care. For more details, click here.People who should consider having this screening more frequently than once per year are: any form of tobacco users, heavy alcohol users, those who have the Human papillomavirus (more specifically HPV16 and HPV18), and those with a previous oral cancer diagnosis.