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Dental Cleaning and the Importance of “Prophy”

Did you know that professional dental cleaning can actually help prevent gum disease? Most people are well aware of what gingivitis is and the effects it has on dental health. One word you probably aren’t familiar with is prophy. What exactly is prophy? The term is actually short for prophylactic teeth cleaning. This type of cleaning is typically prescribed to those who are diagnosed with gum inflammation, better known as gingivitis.

A person with gingivitis may typically experience the following symptoms:

• Swollen gums
• Shiny gums
• Soreness of the mouth
• Red and inflamed gums

Another sign of gingivitis is gum bleeding, which is typically experienced while brushing or flossing. Itching gums and bad breath may also be signs of this condition.

Dental Cleaning Can Prevent Gingivitis

dental cleaning greeleyThe development of gingivitis typically begins with poor brushing habits. After all, the root cause of the condition is a build-up of plaque and tartar. Plaque is the first thing to develop. This is the yellow film that builds up on teeth and is caused by bacteria and food particles in your mouth.

If the plaque is not removed, it will mix with the saliva in your mouth and harden over time. This is what causes tartar and ultimately what causes gingivitis. This causes an unending cycle with poor brushing habits being the root problem.

Gingivitis is a precursor to a more serious gum disease known as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease develops when a person fails to treat gingivitis. It can eventually lead to tooth or bone loss if allowed to progress.

While the effects of these diseases may be frightening, there’s no reason to despair. A professional dental cleaning from Ascent Family Dental can help treat gingivitis. By practicing good oral hygiene at home as well, you can prevent gingivitis from coming back.

Dental Cleaning Procedure (Prophy)

Prophy cleanings are performed in a dental office. The process involves multiple steps, but will be completed in one visit.

Step 1: A regular cleaning is given first. This may be done with a cavitron (an ultra-sonic instrument) or it may be done manually. A combination of the two may also be used. Regardless of the method, the goal is to dislodge and eliminate any plaque or tartar build-up on the teeth.

Step 2: After the regular cleaning is completed, a rotary machine will be used. Its primary purpose is to eliminate plaque that has built up along the gum line. It also polishes the tooth’s surface, which can actually help prevent plaque build-up in the future.

Step 3: The final step in the process is flossing. This will eliminate any plaque that may be hiding in between teeth.

Bacterial rinses may also be used to help further reduce bacteria in the mouth.

Although the cleaning process may seem intensive, the risks are typically minor. Some may find that a filling or crown has become loose after a prophy cleaning. However, the filling or crown was likely already defective in this case. A good crown or filling should be able to withstand the cleaning safely.

dentist in Greeley CO

Dr. Scott Williams | Dentist Greeley CO | Ascent Family Dental | (970) 351-6095

Regular in office dental cleanings are a key component in maintaining a healthy and bright smile. While it is also important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine at home, professional cleanings will eliminate any lingering plaque build-up that your toothbrush may miss. Call Ascent Family Dental today to schedule an appointment. Aside from your dental cleaning, Dr. Williams will be happy to answer any questions you may have about gingivitis and preventing periodontal disease.

Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095



6 Ways to Help You Beat Bad Breath

Bad breath  momentBad breath is the killer of any social situation – especially that all-important first date. Those up-close and personal moments will quickly turn cold if your date catches a whiff of your not-so-fresh breath. While you may go the extra mile to avoid any foods with garlic or onion, halitosis can still be a serious issue for some people.

Rather than isolate yourself from friends and family, you can take comfort in knowing that there are many other people out there just like you. One in five people, or 20% of the population, suffer from halitosis. More than half of the men and women in the United States use breath freshening products on a regular basis. Nearly three billion dollars is spent each year on these products, which include gum and mouth washes. The good news is that bad breath can be eliminated with relative ease. Before we delve into which bad breath solutions are most effective, we first need to discuss the causes of bad breath.

Causes of Bad Breath

There are many different causes for bad breath, but the vast majority has to do with diet choices and poor oral hygiene practices. The most common causes are:

•    Irregular brushing and flossing: When teeth and not properly cleaned, food particles rot inside of the mouth and release unpleasant odors. Furthermore, these food particles encourage the growth of plaque, which emits its own foul odor.

•    Use of tobacco products: Tobacco products such as cigarettes leave behind odor-causing chemicals in the mouth.

•    Food choices: Aside from poor oral hygiene, food choices play a significant role in the development of bad breath. Foods that produce the most offensive odors include garlic, onions, spicy foods, fish, some cheese and acidic beverages like coffee.

•    Dry mouth: Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth is something that affects many people. Dry mouth tends to become a major problem during the winter when the air in your home is at its driest.

•    Medications: There are some medications that can cause halitosis. These are often antihistamines and diuretics that contribute to the development of dry mouth.

•    Morning breath is an issue that affects many people as well. Saliva production slows while the body is sleeping, which creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

How to Cure Halitosis

There are just as many cures for halitosis as there are causes for the condition. In most cases, it is best to first determine what is causing your halitosis before selecting a treatment. Let’s take a look at the some bad breath solutions that may be effective for you:

1.    Keep your mouth clean: Breath order prevention is the best way to keep halitosis under control. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and do not forget to floss. Many people also fail to give their tongue a good cleaning, which is a key part of having fresh breath. It is recommended that you scrape your tongue twice a day in addition to regular brushing and flossing.

2.    Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is a great way to combat bad breath, especially if you are unable to brush your teeth after a meal. Ensuring that you drink plenty of water will help eliminate debris and odor-causing bacteria from your teeth.

3.    Skip the after-dinner breath mint: If you are looking for chronic bad breath cures, leave breath mints at the door. Breath mints often contain large amounts of sugar, which only contribute to bacterial growth and could actually make the problem worse. The minty smell may mask the unpleasant odor, but it does not eliminate the root cause of the problem. Try eating parsley, celery, carrots or an apple instead. These foods are known to promote fresh breath and the tough skin of an apple can help eliminate plaque.

4.    Cut back on coffee and alcohol: When searching for bad breath cures, many people fail to realize that their favorite beverages may be the root cause of the problem. Cutting back on your consumption of acidic beverages like coffee and alcohol can go a long way in preventing bad breath. It may not be a fan-favorite cure, but it is highly effective.

5.    Watch what you eat: Unfortunately, many foods that cause bad breath, like garlic and onions, are actually good for your health. While you may not want to eliminate them completely, you can ensure that you avoid these foods when in intimate social situations. In the very least, you can be prepared by bringing a travel toothbrush with you. This will give you a chance to fight bad breath head-on before it can ruin your night.

6.    Keep dentures and retainers clean: Bridges, dentures, retainers and mouth guards can also fall victim to bacteria growth. Be sure to give all of your dental appliances a thorough cleaning each day to remove this bacterium and the odors they emit. There are several cleaning products on the market today, but your dentist can provide you with some recommendations.

dentist in Greeley CO

Dr. Scott Williams | Dentist Greeley CO | Ascent Family Dental

Bad breath is no laughing matter. While there are many people that suffer with halitosis, finding the right treatment is not always an easy task. If none of these solutions provide you with relief, it may be time to see your Greeley dentist.  Make an appointment with Dr. Williams today and finally put an end to bad breath for good.

Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095


The Importance of Visiting a Dental Hygienists Dentist

Greeley dental hygienists dentist

Greeley dental hygienists dentist

Visiting a dental hygienists dentist may be more important than you might think. After all, a dental hygienist plays an important role in a dental office. Not to be confused with a dental assistant, these individuals are highly trained professionals that are capable of performing certain dental procedures. Their job is to perform preventative treatments, educate the patient and also to provide treatments that prevent diseases from progressing further. A hygienist typically works under the direction of a dentist. As a team, the two are able to provide their patients with the best care possible.

A hygienist must be licensed within the state they are practicing in. In order to obtain this license, they must complete a dental hygiene program and complete both a written and clinical board exam. The requirements for licensing will vary with each state, but the dental hygiene program must be approved by the ADA (American Dental Association). As you can see, a hygienist’s job requires a great deal of technical training and education.

The Importance of a Dental Hygienists Dentist

The importance of a dental hygienist’s role is often overlooked by patients. A hygienist works together with the dentist and the office’s dental assistant to ensure that all of the patient’s needs are taken care of and any concerns are addressed. Typically, a dental hygienist is the one who is responsible for clarifying any questions that the patient may have about the treatment or procedure. It is also their job to try and make the patient feel comfortable by easing their fears about the treatment.

A dental hygienist will perform a variety of procedures and treatments related to preventative oral health care. Commonly referred to as dental prophylaxis, they typically include:

  • Scaling and/or root planning. This procedure involves the removal of plaque buildup. Scaling is often referred to as dental prophylaxis, or typically “a cleaning”.
  • Gum evaluations and examinations to detect gum problems as early as possible.
  • Educate the patient on proper brushing and flossing techniques.
  • Educate the patient on various problems that may arise due to tooth decay and gum problems.
  • Polishing to remove stains from the teeth.

A hygienist will also assist in the creation of a treatment plan for the patient that will address any urgent needs. In addition to the above mentioned duties, they may also provide assistance with dental hygiene diagnosis. In this case, the hygienist will analyze data related to the patient’s condition and help create a treatment plan that will be effective. The final diagnosis and treatment course, however, will need to be approved by the dentist.

Over the course of a few months or years, the hygienist will reevaluate the patient’s condition and make adjustments should their condition change. This ensures that the patient’s needs are always being met.

A Tip from Your Dental Hygienist

Did you know that bad breath is often caused by a buildup of bacteria on your tongue? Each time you eat a meal; small particles of food are left behind on your teeth and your gums. Brushing your teeth and flossing regularly will rid your teeth and gums of bacteria. However, most people neglect to clean their tongue properly, which allows bacteria to grow and thrive on the surface of your tongue. This can be prevented with the use of a tongue scraper.

Tongue Scraper w Toothbrushes

Tongue Scraper w Toothbrushes

Tongue scrapers are far more effective than simply brushing your tongue with your toothbrush. The shape of the scraper can reach areas of the tongue that your toothbrush’s bristles miss. Tongue scrapers are easy to use too. Place the scraper towards the back of your tongue and drag it towards the tip of your tongue. Repeat this process until you feel satisfied. If you happen to have any open sores or cuts on your tongue, wait until they have healed before scraping again.

If you are still experiencing bad breath, you may want to speak with your dentist or dental hygienist about this issue. Dental issues like gum disease may be the root cause of the problem. In order to get the best care possible for your teeth and gums, you need to ensure that you choose a dentist who has a dental hygienist on staff.

I’m Scott Williams and I practice family and cosmetic dentistry in Greeley CO. My dental practice also serves the Eaton, Evans, Windsor, and Kersey CO areas. I invite you to discuss your dental needs by contacting us below:


Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095
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