Perio Protect & Gum Disease

Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gum disease affects 80 percent of Americans? That’s over half of all adults in the United States. Wow. Continue reading to learn how our gum disease treatment dentists in Grand Rapids, MI can help you restore oral health. What starts as bacteria on the teeth spreads to areas that brushing and flossing can’t reach, such as between the teeth and gums, which are known as periodontal pockets.

Without proper care, these pockets can grow and form communities of biofilms, which then break apart and can cause infection, inflammation, and tenderness in the gums. It’s not fun.

To make matters worse, Porphyromonas gingivalis, the main bacteria found in gum disease, can also enter the bloodstream and can cause a number of health-related problems outside of the mouth, including heart disease, certain cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease. While gum disease is a serious problem, it can be easily prevented with a program such as the Perio Protect Method.

Benefits of Perio Protect

Perio Protect vs. Root Planing, Scaling, and Surgery

Traditionally speaking, treating gum disease involves scaling and root planing. This process is basically a dental deep cleaning where your dentist essentially scrapes plaque from the periodontal pockets. Next, planing smooths a tooth’s roots to help gums reattach to the teeth. In some cases, patients will also need the help of antibiotics to treat the infection. In more severe cases, patients may even need surgery.

To make matters more stressful, scaling and root planing often takes more than one visit to the dentist and can be painful, considering these procedures don’t lead to permanent fixes.

The Perio Protect Method meanwhile, offers an office visit-free solution that patients can apply from the comfort of their own homes, whenever it’s most convenient for them. This non-invasive solution means less scraping, less antibiotics, and less pain. Better yet, as a preventative measure, this method can nearly guarantee that someone will never have a cavity or gingivitis in the future.

How Perio Protect Works

If you’re interested in living a life free from worrying about gum disease, here are the three simple steps you’ll need to take.

  1. 1.) Talk to your dentist. Many dentist offices, such as Complete Health Dentistry of West Michigan, offer Perio Protect – all you have to do is ask. Your dentist can create a personalized treatment plan specific to your needs.
  2. 2.) Get fitted. Your dentist will need to take a mold of your mouth in order to create a custom-fitted mouth guard-like device.
  3. 3.) Wear the device. You’ll place a prescription peroxide-based medication inside the mouth guard and wear it for 10 to 15 minutes per day, whether you’re walking the dog, taking a shower, or binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix.

Enjoy All the Benefits of the Perio Protect Method

Healthy gums are key to your overall health. Not only can Perio Protect prevent gum disease, it also lowers your risk for other health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory disease, colorectal cancer, and pregnancy complications such as low birth weight.

The method is also extremely easy to participate in. It’s pretty painless and only takes 10 to 15 minutes per day to have healthier gums and teeth, whiter teeth, and fresher breath too. Perio Protect can nearly guarantee that someone will never have a cavity or gingivitis in the future, and that’s a hard thing to pass up.

Finding the Right Dentist for You & Your Family

Choosing the right dentist is an important task. The doctors at Complete Health Dentistry in Grand Rapids, MI, will not only focus on treating tooth damage and decay but will also proactively look for bacteria and issues in your mouth that can lead to more serious health conditions.

Not only will choosing a Perio Protect dentist who cares so much about preventative dentistry save your teeth, time, and money, but also allows you to enjoy a healthy smile – all while contributing to your overall health, wellness, and wellbeing. If you are interested in setting up an appointment at our Grand Rapids dental officeplease click here, or give us a call at (616) 458-7267.

How To Prevent Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is treatable if it’s caught early on, but unfortunately many patients don’t notice the symptoms until it’s too late. Because of this, the Oral Cancer Foundation predicts that oral cancer will cause 9,750 deaths this year in the United States alone.

Our Grand Rapids, MI family dentist offers oral cancer screenings as part of your routine dental checkup. Between appointments, here are 5 things you can do to help prevent oral cancer. Please contact us today if you have any additional questions or concerns regarding oral cancer prevention.

Preventing Oral Cancer

1. Quit smoking.

Cigarettes are known to cause lung cancer, but did you know they’re one of the leading oral cancer causes as well? Even just smoking the occasional cigar is enough to increase your chances of developing oral cancer.

But non-smokers aren’t automatically in the clear. Tobacco in any form is dangerous, including chewing tobacco or snuff. If you haven’t already kicked your tobacco habit, this is a good time to start: 75% of oral cancer patients 50 and older have been tobacco users.

2. Avoid alcohol.

When it comes to alcohol, the less you drink, the better. Oral cancer is six times more likely to develop in drinkers than in non-drinkers. Studies have linked cirrhosis of the liver as well as dehydration that occurs when drinking to the formation of oral cancer cells.

3. Use sun protection.

Just as you would apply sunscreen before heading to the beach, you should be protecting your lips as well. Excess sun exposure around your mouth can lead to oral cancer.

Most types of sunscreen that you buy for your body aren’t optimized for use on the lips. To protect against oral cancer, opt for a chapstick with SPF and reapply throughout the day for maximum protection. It also helps to wear a wide-brimmed hat that keeps the sun off your face.

4. Know your family history.

If you have a family history of any type of cancer, you run a higher risk of developing oral cancer. While a family history certainly doesn’t guarantee that you’ll experience cancer firsthand, learning about your genetic predispositions can help you make mindful choices regarding your health.

It’s a good idea to bring up your family history during your oral cancer screening, as well. Our Grand Rapids family dentist can advise you about reducing your risk long-term.

5. Get the HPV vaccine.

Certain types of human papillomavirus, or HPV, can increase your risk of oral cancer. If you’re eligible, consider getting the HPV vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus altogether, thereby reducing your chances of developing oral cancer.

At your oral cancer screening, Dr. Ritzema will look for visible abnormalities and probe the mouth to feel for anything unusual. It’s important to be honest with him about your lifestyle so he can work with you to prevent oral cancer.

While you can make lifestyle changes to avoid oral cancer, the only way to stay safe is to see our Grand Rapids, MI family dentist for regular oral cancer screenings. To schedule your appointment, call Complete Health Dentistry at (616) 458-7267.

Good Foods For Your Teeth

While your oral hygiene habits play a big role in whether you end up with cavities, your diet matters more than you might think. Eating the right foods can help strengthen your teeth and keep tooth decay at bay. Too much of the wrong foods, on the other hand, can worsen oral health problems and lead to expensive dental work.

Our Grand Rapids family dentist wants you to have all the tools you need to keep your teeth healthy. Here’s what you need to know about the foods that can help, or hurt, your teeth. Please contact us with any additional questions you may have.

What to Eat for Healthy Teeth

  • Dairy: Dairy is high in calcium as well as protein, which both help to strengthen your teeth. While you can’t get back any enamel that you’ve already lost, you can help protect your teeth against future damage.
  • Vegetables: Vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that are good for your teeth. Certain veggies, like carrots and celery, have the added benefit of scraping plaque off of your teeth when you chew them.
  • Leafy greens: While all vegetables contain vitamins, leafy greens also have the advantage of being high in calcium and folic acid, which can help prevent gum disease.
  • Fish: Many types of fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that can help combat periodontal disease. Incorporating fish into your diet in moderation can be great for your gums!
  • Water: Staying hydrated is so important for maintaining healthy teeth. Water is necessary for your body to create saliva, which naturally flushes bacteria away from your teeth and gums.

Foods to Avoid

  • Coffee and tea: While coffee and tea are fine in moderation, both of these common beverages can stain your teeth. If you do drink coffee or tea in the mornings, the best thing to do is either rinse your mouth out or brush your teeth once you’re finished so the stains don’t have time to set. Our cosmetic dentist can always advise you about teeth whitening if you’re concerned about staining.
  • Too much sugar: Since childhood, we’re told that eating too much candy will give you a cavity. That’s partly true! Harmful bacteria feed on sugar, so eating sweet foods means more of these bacteria find their way into your mouth.
  • Starchy carbs: Similar to sugar, the starches in foods like bread, pasta, and potatoes tend to stick to the teeth and accelerate tooth decay.
  • Alcohol: Not only do many alcoholic beverages contain sugars that can lead to cavities, they can also dehydrate you and dry out your mouth. This prevents bacteria from being rinsed away by saliva and can lead to tooth decay. Alcohol has also been linked to a higher risk of developing oral cancer.
  • Hard, chewy, or sticky foods: You don’t have to give up on your favorite snacks, but you should be aware that you have a greater chance of cracking, breaking, or injuring your teeth when you eat foods that are too hard or that pull at your existing dental work.

At Complete Health Dentistry, our Grand Rapids family dentist knows that good health starts with how you treat your teeth. To schedule a teeth cleaning and checkup, make an appointment by calling (616) 458-7267.

Dental Care For Babies

Has your child gotten their first tooth yet? Our dentists and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend your child start seeing the dentist once they get their first tooth and no later than their first birthday. If you have any questions or concerns about dental care for your baby, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

During your child’s first appointment with us, our goal is to introduce them to our office so they feel comfortable receiving pediatric dental care. Continue reading to learn how your child benefits from seeing a dentist.

First Impressions

Our dentists understand that first impressions matter, which is why we focus on building trust during your child’s first appointment. We take the time to introduce your child to our office and team so they can feel comfortable in the dentist’s chair. Our goal is to help your child get used to coming to their dentist so they’ll continue taking care of their smile as an adult.

It’s not uncommon for children to be anxious about going to new places or being examined by strangers. A bad first impression can make your child feel unnecessarily anxious every time they have to go to their dentist. Fortunately, our dentists can help your child feel at ease so they won’t mind returning to our office every 6 months.

Baby Teeth

It’s a myth that baby teeth aren’t important to your child’s oral health. Even though baby teeth are eventually replaced, they’re still important for learning how to talk, eating, and saving space for adult teeth. Our dentists can help you develop an oral hygiene routine that’s appropriate for your child’s age.

Oral Hygiene Habits

dentist is your partner in protecting your child’s oral health. Not only does a dentist treat your child, but they can also identify habits that could hurt your child’s oral health in the long run. For example, always soothing your baby with a bottle can lead to tooth decay. Our dentists are also more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

Questions for the Dentist

Whether you’re a new parent or veteran kid wrangler, we understand that you must have questions for your child’s dentist. The first dentist appointment is a great opportunity to ask any questions you might have about your child’s oral health. Our team is always more than happy to help you and your child understand what needs to be done to protect oral health. For example, we may recommend dental sealants to help prevent cavities in back teeth.

Preventive Dentistry

After your child’s first appointment with us, you’ll need to schedule a teeth cleaning and oral examination every 6 months. Not only does this set a good example for your child so they’ll continue going to the dentist as an adult, but it also helps us catch oral health issues before they grow into bigger problems.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for American children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The sooner our dentists are able to detect cavities, the less invasive the treatment will be. While a small cavity can be fixed with a filling, a large cavity will need a dental crown.

Dr. Nick Ritzema DDS and Dr. Alexandra Maring DDS are dedicated to helping your child maintain good oral health and thrive. To request an appointment with one of our dentists in Grand Rapids MI, call Complete Health Dentistry at (616) 458-7267.

5 Habits For Healthy Teeth

Do you love drinking pop? Do you skip brushing your teeth some days? If so, you could be increasing your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Fortunately, our dentists have plenty of tips to help you get back on track. One of the best ways to protect your oral health is to see your dentist every 6 months for a teeth cleaning and other preventive care. We can help you maintain a healthy smile by removing built-up plaque and tartar.

Plaque is an invisible film of bacteria that sticks to your teeth and gums. Over time, this plaque eats sugar and starch to produce acid.

This acid erodes tooth enamel and attacks your gums, putting you at risk for oral health issues. Fortunately, our dentists are able to remove plaque and tartar, as well as advise you on how to maintain a healthy smile.

Healthy Teeth Habits

1.) Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks

Do your teeth ever feel fuzzy or rough? If so, you may be leaving behind dental plaque on your teeth. Plaque loves to eat sugar and uses it to produce cavity-causing acid. You may especially feel plaque on your teeth after eating sugary foods.

It’s important to check labels in the store since many foods we think are “healthy” aren’t good for your teeth. For example, some flavors of yogurt can have a lot of sugar. Likewise, sports drinks often contain more sugar than the average person would think. Limiting sugary foods and drinks will make it easier for you to avoid oral health issues.

2.) Brush Teeth Twice a Day

The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride occurs naturally and has long been recognized for its oral health benefits. In fact, many municipalities have fluoridated drinking water to help reduce cavities.

Make sure you brush for 2 minutes so you have enough time to clean all teeth. If you always brush your teeth with one foot out the door, you could be leaving behind plaque on back teeth that are harder to reach. It’s not uncommon for people to develop cavities in back teeth when they rush.

3.) Floss Teeth Once a Day

Plaque loves to hide where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. That’s why it’s so important you floss once a day to remove plaque hiding in between teeth and along the gum line. Flossing helps prevent cavities from forming in between teeth so you can avoid an unpleasant surprise during your next teeth cleaning and oral examination with us.

4.) Use Mouth Rinse Once a Day

We recommend using a fluoride mouth rinse to help strengthen tooth enamel. Using mouth rinse helps wash away any residual plaque or food particles that could be left behind after brushing and flossing. Your dentist can help you choose a brand that works for you.

5.) See Dentist Every 6 Months

We recommend you have a teeth cleaning and oral examination every 6 months to protect your oral health. During a teeth cleaning, one of our dental hygienists will be able to gently scrape away plaque and tartar. Once plaque hardens into tartar, it can only be removed by a dental professional. Left untreated, tartar buildup increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Our dentists in Grand Rapids MI want to help you maintain a healthy smile. We offer teeth cleanings, oral examinations, and other preventive dentistry to our patients. To schedule your next teeth cleaning with Complete Health Dentistry, call (616) 458-7267.

Complete Health Dentistry?

Unlike other dentists, we understand and acknowledge the ways oral health affects the rest of the body. For example, did you know that people with diabetes are at higher risk for gum disease? This is just one of the many reasons why oral health shouldn’t be overlooked. Continue reading to learn how complete health dentistry can make a difference in your life.

Total Body Health

Our dentists focus on protecting the entire health of the patient. This means examining your teeth, gums, and jaw for what could indicate larger problems with your health. For example, worn tooth enamel could indicate nighttime teeth grinding or an eating disorder. Our dentists act like detectives to see the bigger picture with your health.

Preventive Dental Care

It’s not enough for your dentist to simply react to gum disease and tooth decay. Ask your dentist during your next appointment what they’re doing to protect your oral health. If you’re not satisfied with their answer, schedule an appointment with one of our dentists. We practice preventive dentistry so you can maintain a healthy smile.

Our preventive dentistry services include:

  • Teeth cleanings
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Dental sealants
  • Dental x-rays
  • Oral exams
  • Oral cancer screenings
  • Periodontal treatment
  • Modular periodontal therapy
  • Healthy Start Program

Mitigating Risk Factors

Your risk factors for disease are based on age, lifestyle, and genetics. Since we practice complete health dentistry, we take the time to explain how different risk factors could compromise oral health. For example, those who smoke are at increased risk for oral cancer. If you have a history of using tobacco, we’d recommend routine oral cancer screenings.

During each appointment, our dentist will discuss ways you can improve your oral health. For example, scaling and root planing can help mitigate the damaging effects of advanced gum disease. Likewise, your dentist may recommend a mouth guard if you play contact sports.

Treating Patients of All Ages

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for American children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fortunately, our dentists provide dental sealantsfluoride treatments, and other ways to prevent cavities. We always try to save as much natural tooth structure as possible, which is why we take dental x-rays to catch cavities in their early stages.

Our dentists understand that your oral health needs change as you get older. According to the CDC, 47.2% of Americans age 30 and older have periodontal disease. Periodontal disease attacks your gums and can contribute to tooth loss.

Since we practice complete health dentistry, we know that researchers have discovered a connection between advanced gum disease and heart disease. Heart disease has been shown to worsen if gum-borne bacteria enters the bloodstream. It’s important that you have a dentist that understands how your oral health affects the rest of your body. Otherwise, you could risk missing the warning signs of a serious condition.

We’re always accepting new patients! To request an appointment with one of our Grand Rapids dentists, call Complete Health Dentistry at (616) 458-7267.

Dental Sealants For Children

Even if your child brushes and flosses daily, they could be leaving behind plaque on back teeth. If tooth decay is a recurring issue for your child, their pediatric dentist may recommend dental sealants. A tooth sealant covers pits and divots on the chewing surface responsible for trapping plaque. Continue reading to learn the other ways your child could benefit from dental sealants.

Protect Oral Health

Our dentists want to help your child build a strong foundation for oral health. For this reason, we may recommend dental sealants if we see that your child is prone to tooth decay. Other ways to protect your child’s oral health include enforcing teeth brushing and scheduling their appointments with us every 6 months.

Dental sealants are best for patients who have deep pits and divots in back teeth. Recent studies have even hinted at a connection between genetics and a person’s susceptibility for tooth decay. Fortunately, your child’s dentist can use dental sealants to prevent future cavities from forming.

Prevent Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting American children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, your child’s pediatric dentist is able to prevent most cavities with dental sealants. A tooth sealant covers the surface of your child’s molar so it doesn’t collect food particles and plaque.

Tooth decay is caused by plaque, an invisible film of bacteria that builds up on your child’s teeth. Plaque feeds on sugar and starch left behind on your child’s teeth before producing acids that erode enamel. It’s important that you schedule your child’s routine teeth cleaning and oral examination every 6 months so we can remove plaque buildup and monitor oral health. Otherwise, plaque buildup can lead to tooth decay and even gum disease.

Avoid Fillings

No one likes the sound of a dental drill, especially when it’s meant for them. Fortunately, dental sealants are designed to prevent plaque buildup on back teeth. That way, your child can get a clean bill of health during their next appointment with us.

To place a dental filling, we would have to remove decayed tooth matter. Your child’s dentist would then restore the tooth with a cavity filling made from amalgam or composite resin. In contrast, the procedure to apply dental sealants is noninvasive. First, we would need to clean and roughen the surface of your child’s tooth. Next, their dentist would paint the sealant onto the surface. Dental sealants are able to last several years, some even surviving into adulthood.

Aren’t sure if dental sealants are the right choice for your child’s smile? Ask their pediatric dentist about what you can do to prevent tooth decay and other issues that compromise oral health. We provide pediatric dental care because we understand the challenges of treating a growing smile.

Our dentists provide dental sealants and other preventive dentistry options to help your child maintain a healthy smile. To schedule your child’s appointment with one of our pediatric dentists, call Complete Health Dentistry at (616) 458-7267.

Fluoride For Oral Health

95% of all toothpaste on the market contains fluoride, so there’s obviously some major benefits associated with this mineral. In fact, many experts and dentists have attributed the decline in tooth decay in the past few decades to the addition of fluoride to toothpaste and water. So what exactly is dental fluoride?

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural compound found in soil, water, and even food and is the 13th most abundant element in the earth’s crust. After much research, scientists have found fluoride to be very beneficial to the health of our teeth, so they began adding it to toothpaste and water supplies.

How does fluoride protect oral health?

Fluoride for teeth prevents cavities by strengthening enamel. When you eat sugary foods, the acids in your mouth weaken enamel, making it easier for tooth decay to develop. Fluoride stops this process so you can maintain good oral health.

Continue reading to learn why your dentist may recommend fluoride varnish during your next appointment. If you have any questions, call our dentist office. We’ll be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

  • Protects Tooth EnamelWhen your enamel is exposed to too much acid, it can start to break down, or de-mineralize. Fluoride varnish helps fight off these harmful acids and the bacteria that cause them, keeping your enamel strong and healthy. Since fluoride helps prevent your enamel from breaking down, you’re also much less likely to experience tooth sensitivities when you use fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Re-mineralizes TeethIf your teeth are already damaged and weak, fluoride treatment from your dentist can help get your teeth back to their original condition. When minerals like calcium and phosphorous are lost from your enamel as a result of an acid attack, fluoride helps rebuild your enamel by regaining those minerals. This process of re-mineralization is crucial for the strength and health of your teeth.
  • Prevents Tooth DecaySince dental fluoride strengthens your enamel, you’re much less likely to get cavities. Everyone has bacteria in their mouths, and when you eat sugar or starches, these bacteria produce acid, which can be harmful to your teeth.If your teeth are constantly being exposed to acids without having the right materials to fight back, your teeth will start to decay. Luckily, fluoride can prevent cavities from occurring. When your enamel is strong and healthy from using fluoride, your teeth will be much more resistant to tooth decay.

    If you’re experiencing sensitive teeth or are prone to cavities, it’s important to brush at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste. Those who eat a diet high in sugar and starches are especially susceptible to tooth decay and should make sure they’re using fluoride on their teeth as well. If you want to prevent cavities, ask your dentist about fluoride for teeth.

Dr. Ritzema DDS and his team are dedicated to helping you maintain good oral health by providing fluoride treatment and other preventive dentistry services. To schedule an appointment with our Grand Rapids dentist, call Complete Health Dentistry at (616) 458-7267.

Oral Cancer Screenings?

Oral Cancer Screenings

More than 37,000 Americans will have been diagnosed with oral cancer before the end of the year, according to the National Institutes of Health. Approximately 8,000 of these diagnoses will result in death.

Thankfully, oral cancer screenings are designed to catch cancer in its early stages so patients have the best chances for survival.

In this blog post, we will explain why it’s important to ask your Grand Rapids dentist about mouth cancer screenings.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

Oral cancer is so dangerous because patients rarely experience symptoms until it is too late. However, there are several risk factors that increase your likelihood of getting oral cancer, which include smoking, alcohol abuse, poor diet, and excess sun exposure on the lips.

Oral cancer symptoms include:

  • Red or white patches in mouth
  • Numbness or pain when biting down
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Hoarse voice

Keep in mind that you may not show symptoms of mouth cancer, which is why it’s important to ask your dentist about oral cancer screenings. If you recognize any of the early signs of mouth cancer, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor or family dentist as soon as possible.

Why are oral cancer screenings important?

The sooner your dentist detects oral cancer, the sooner you can receive treatment to save your life. Since many people with oral cancer don’t show symptoms until it is too late, it is important that your dentist does a mouth cancer screening at least once a year. If you have a history of smoking or abusing alcohol, you may have oral cancer screenings more often. Smoking and drinking heavily are both risk factors for oral cancer.

Your dentist will check for oral cancer by either a clinical or oral examination. During a clinical examination, your dentist will look for patches or sores in your mouth that indicate cancer. Since some bumps are too small to be seen by the human eye, your dentist will also feel for lumps on your cheeks, tongue, gums, and other areas inside your mouth. Oral examinations are different because your dentist uses special screening devices to check for the early signs of oral cancer.

How can I prevent oral cancer?

While there is no way to completely prevent oral cancer, you can still significantly reduce your risk by making changes to your lifestyle. For example, eating a well-balanced diet and wearing sun protection on your lips are good ways to reduce your risk for oral cancer.

How to reduce your risk for oral cancer:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Stop using all tobacco products.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Wear sun protection on your lips.

Dr. Ritzema DDS at Complete Health Dentistry is dedicated to helping you achieve good oral health and overall health through comprehensive dental treatments. If you are interested in scheduling a dental exam or oral cancer screening with our dentist in Grand Rapids, give us a call at (616) 458-7267.

Teeth Cleaning Expectations

It’s not uncommon for patients to feel anxious about sitting in the dentist’s chair. However, getting your teeth checked by a dentist every six months is the best way to safeguard your smile.

If it’s been a while since you’ve last been to the dentist, we hope you’ll benefit from our guide of what to expect during a teeth cleaning. It has always been our goal to help patients feel informed and confident while seeking dental services.

1.) Physical Exam of Entire Mouth

A dental hygienist will start by examining your entire mouth for any issues that should be passed along to your family dentist. During this time, the hygienist will check your teeth and gums with a small mirror for any tooth decay, plaque, gum disease, or other dental problems. If a serious problem is discovered, the hygienist may ask the dentist if it’s okay to continue with the dental cleaning.

2.) Plaque and Tartar Removal

While brushing and flossing your teeth at home removes most dental plaque and tartar, nothing beats the thoroughness of a professional teeth cleaning. Your dental hygienist will use a mirror and a special tool called a scaler to gently scrape away plaque hiding in between teeth and near the gum line. We recommend scheduling an appointment with your dental office every six months so plaque on teeth is removed before it hardens into tartar.

3.) Cleaning with Gritty Polishing Toothpaste

The dental hygienist will use gritty toothpaste to polish your teeth. You will be asked to pick out your favorite flavor toothpaste, such as bubblegum or vanilla. Next, the hygienist will use a special high-powered brush to polish your teeth. The toothbrush will make a loud whirring noise that can sound like drilling to some patients. While polishing your teeth is too abrasive to do more than every six months, it is safe to do during your dental appointment.

4.) Flossing

While you might already floss at home, the hygienist offers a more thorough flossing. They make sure to get beneath the gum line to remove hidden plaque and bacteria. They will also be able to detect where gum bleeding occurs and remove any remaining debris from the previous steps.

5.) Rinse

After your professional teeth cleaning, you’ll be asked to rinse so any residual toothpaste, plaque, or other debris is flushed from your mouth.

Your dentist may also take x-rays of your teeth and jaw to ensure there are no cavities or other issues. Certain x-rays, like panoramic x-rays, need to be taken every few years. However, the frequency of dental x-rays will depend on your own oral health. Once you are done with your teeth cleaning, your dentist will come in to do the final checkup. If no problems are found, you’re all set. You’ll be asked to set up your next dental exam and teeth cleaning in six months time. Teeth cleaning side effects include having a beautiful healthy smile. Some patients may experience bleeding gums if there are other oral health issues going on.

Our Grand Rapids dentist at Complete Health Dentistry has dedicated his career to helping patients achieve beautiful healthy smiles. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment for an oral exam or dentist teeth cleaning, give our dentist in Grand Rapids a call at (616) 458-7267.