Periodontal Dentistry

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Dr. McClure has several ways to treat periodontal (gum) disease, which is infection of the gums or surrounding soft tissue. Caused by a buildup of bacteria, the best way to prevent such infections is to practice good brushing, flossing, and nutrition every day. However, when the infection is too deep, more extensive measures will be needed. Beginning in small crevices where tooth meets gum, these infections can appear as only minor swelling or bleeding. As the infection progresses however, it moves deeper below the gum line where it forms large pockets of bacteria in and around the roots of the tooth. Left untreated, the bacteria produce toxins (acids) that inflame the gums and slowly destroy the bone. New Street Dental, in Santa Cruz will do everything possible to keep this from happening by evaluating your situation and determining the best course of treatment.


Periodontal Maintenance

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For those who experience repeated infection to the gums due to enlarged pockets or other periodontal problems, New Street Dental provides a program we call periodontal maintenance. Under the program, patients are usually scheduled for cleanings every three to four months. This is important because the severity of damage caused by infection increases exponentially as it progresses, meaning that the majority of damage can be avoided simply by increasing appointment frequency.

Dr. McClure will record measurements of the pocket depths and direct one of our three hygienists, Ruth, Debbie or Peri to perform a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) to remove any infection below the gum line and reduce the likelihood of future infections. If you are experiencing painful, swollen, or bleeding gums, contact New Street Dental in Santa Cruz, CA for more information regarding our periodontal maintenance program.

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Ultrasonic Cleaning

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Our office is equipped with ultrasonic tooth cleaning technology to accompany scaling and root planing. The ultrasonic scaler is is similar to the hand scaler, but has a special tip that vibrates at a high rate and flushes out bacteria below the gum with water. As the tip glides over the tooth surface it is much more effective at removing hard buildup and calcium deposits than hand scaling alone. Smoothing the root surface of irregularities helps to prevent plaque and tartar from adhering to the tooth. If you’re interested in more information on ultrasonic cleaning, please contact New Street Dental today.

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Scaling/Root Planing

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For those patients who have active periodontal disease with deep pockets or heavy deposits on their teeth, the treatment of choice is periodontal scaling and root planing. This procedure is done to remove excess plaque and bacteria that has formed on the teeth under and around the gum line. Using an ultrasonic scaler, periodontal hand scalers, or curettes, one of our dental hygienists will carefully scrape along the visible surface of the tooth, which removes any plaque and tartar and also helps to smooth the tooth surface so it is more resistant to build up in the future.

Depending on the exact condition of the teeth, such as if infection has set in below the gums, the patient may require a deep cleaning. This involves performing scaling and planing on the root of the tooth below the gum line. At New Street Dental we always take care to ensure our dental hygienists work as gently as possible, and although many patients feel no pain as the tools gently slip between the tooth and gum, a mild anesthetic is sometimes used if it helps to relieve patient stress. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today.

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