Figure 3-31.Hand position for flossing maxillary posterior
To clean between all lower teeth, hold the floss
with the forefingers of both hands (fig. 3-32). You can
insert the floss gently between all lower teeth with the
floss over your forefingers in this position. Figure 3-33
illustrates the correct method for flossing between the
lower back teeth, using the two forefingers to guide the
Are your patient's teeth clean? When flossing has
been completed, rinse vigorously with water to remove
food particles and plaque. Also advise the patient to
rinse with water after eating if unable to floss or brush.
Neither rinsing alone nor water-spraying devices
remove the bacterial plaque because of the glue-like
Figure 3-32.Floss position for the mandibular teeth.
Figure 3-33.Hand position for flossing mandibular posterior
material in the plaque. To ensure all areas of the teeth
are clean, a disclosing agent can be used to determine if
any surfaces on the teeth were missed during flossing.
After treatment of the teeth or gums, the exposed
root surfaces may be sensitive to cold and heat. This
condition is usually temporary if the teeth are kept
clean. If the teeth are not kept clean, the sensitivity
may remain and become more severe. For the few
patients who have severe sensitivity, the use of
specially medicated toothpastes and mouthwashes
may be recommended.
Although dentifrices (toothpaste) are not
necessary for effective cleaning of the teeth, they may
be refreshing for the patient and have a psychological
benefit. Instruct your patients that if they wish to use a
dentifrice, they should select a fluoridated toothpaste
displaying the ADA seal of approval.