If you have never been to our office, whether for a routine cleaning or for oral disease treatment, you’ll find that holistic methods do not make the experience very different from a conventional office visit. For those of you who are absolutely terrified or loathe to go to the dentist, that probably doesn’t do much for you (though we do have other options that might appeal to you). But you should actually be aware that — for a routine cleaning and checkup, for example — our standard protocol calls for things that might bring you more comfort, security, and satisfaction with your visit.
If you are due for x-rays, we will do those for you quickly and as comfortably as possible. Each room has a big screen where you can instantly see the digital x-ray images taken of your teeth. We’ll discuss any potential problems if they appear. Every few visits we will also probe your teeth to measure the gaps or pockets between your teeth and gums. The smaller the gap, the better. You want your gums to be nice and snug against your teeth because that indicates there is no good place for bacteria to grow and cause infection. Deeper pockets indicate spots that are probably hard to clean, and therefore may be an infection waiting to happen. We will give you advice steering you in the direction you should take to help those gaps close up, also considering any pain or inflammation you may be experiencing.
Then the hygienist will perform the cleaning, polishing, and flossing. The better you take care of your teeth by daily brushing and flossing at home, the speedier this part will be. We always finish off the cleaning with a quick ozone irrigation. Oral irrigation is the best part. If you’ve never heard of it, it is basically “flossing” with water or whatever liquid* you put in the machine reservoir. In our office, we use ozone water. The ozone effectively kills off any remaining bacteria released during cleaning, and also brings a cool, soothing sensation that will leave you feeling refreshed.
After that, I will check for cavities or other problems; if none are found, you’ll be sent on your way with some restocked dental care supplies and a bright smile.
Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles
*I’ll give you some more information on oral irrigators in the next post.