George Sferra Jr., DDS
Our office specializes in
Restorative and Periodontal Treatment
Call (212) 838-7208

Cleanings & Prevention

Professional Cleanings & Prevention in New York

Your healthy smile is an invaluable part of your physical and emotional wellbeing, and it’s vital that you are able to protect it. At the New York dental office of George Sferra Jr., DDS, we provide thorough and effective cleanings and preventive dental care to help you keep your smile in great shape.

Dr. Sferra and his team combine skill and training with effective modern dentistry to ensure that your smile gets the care it needs, no matter your age or situation. Schedule a visit to our Manhattan or Somers office to experience great dentistry for yourself!

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What is Preventive Dentistry?

asian woman at central park in new york city

Preventive dentistry is the act of maintaining good oral health through good habits such as brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups. Preventive dentistry helps avoid serious and high-cost dental problems like enamel wear, gum disease, and cavities, and is essential for a confident, beautiful, and healthy smile.

As per the American Dental Association (ADA) recommendations, a visit to the dentist should be scheduled at least twice yearly or as determined by the dentist. These practices are meant to ensure strong, clean, and healthy teeth and gums. Good oral hygiene should start at an early age and extend throughout your life.

How Prevention Protects Oral Health

Preventive dentistry protects your oral health in the following ways:

  • Encourages good oral hygiene habits like daily brushing and flossing
  • Lowers the risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and many other serious dental problems
  • During visits to the dentist, early signs of dental problems can be detected and corrected. Dr. Sferra will be able to perform a full examination of your jaws, mouth, neck, etc. to identify any related problems.

Why Your Oral Health Matters

There have been a lot of studies showing that oral health can influence your health overall. Oral bacteria and the tenderness that stem from periodontitis (gum disease) might contribute to or worsen certain diseases, including cardiovascular disease, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and endocarditis. It can also raise the risk of pregnancy and birth-related complications.

What to Expect During a Typical Dental Visit

Whether you’ve just moved into the area or are looking for a dentist you can trust, Dr. Sferra and his team are always happy to welcome new patients to our office. Here’s what you can expect when you visit our practice for a typical exam.

Dental Exams

male patient getting a dental examination

A visit to our office begins with a thorough examination to evaluate your current dental health and pressing treatment needs, if there are any. This may include x-rays and a visual dental assessment to check for dental cavities and gum disease. We’ll also evaluate your risks of developing other oral health conditions and check your mouth, teeth, gums, face, and neck for any abnormalities.

Dental exams should be done every six months to allow early detection and treatment of oral health problems.


X-rays are important as they help in the diagnosis and evaluation of any potential problems that couldn’t be seen during the visual examination. Even if you’ve had them done in the past, an up-to-date set of x-rays is needed to assess your current condition.

Dr. Sferra will explain to you the need for x-rays depending on your current dental health and risk of infection. You don’t have to worry about radiation exposure from dental x-rays as it has been greatly reduced thanks to digital x-rays. Talk to Dr. Sferra if you’re concerned, and he’ll be happy to help you understand the process and how digital x-rays work.

Gingival Pocket Exam

We will perform a gingival pocket exam, or periodontal evaluation, to determine the state of your gums. This examination includes measuring the depth of pockets between the gums and teeth using a dental probe. The pocket depth in a healthy mouth should be 1 to 3 millimeters (mm). Pockets that are deeper than 4 mm could mean that gum disease is present and will need quick, targeted treatment.

Next Steps When Problems are Found

patient discussion treatment options with dental professional

After the above procedures are done, Dr. Sferra will discuss the results of the exam and whether any further treatment is needed. He’ll take the time to let you know what issues your smile is facing, what your treatment options are, and provide answers to any questions you may have. He never pushes treatments, but helps you to understand what we can do so that you can make the decision that’s best for you.

Be sure to disclose any medications you take and ask Dr. Sferra how they might influence your oral health. He may also discuss your diet and oral care habits and provide tips on effective brushing and flossing methods. Other topics of discussion may include lifestyle factors that might affect oral health, and potential cosmetic enhancements if you’re interested in improving your smile’s aesthetics. Finally, Dr. Sferra will recommend the appropriate date for a follow-up visit.

Dental Cleanings in New York

Dental cleaning is a preventive dental procedure performed by either our dentist or dental hygienist. It helps to remove dental plaque and tartar from teeth to prevent periodontal disease, cavities, and gingivitis (gum disease).

What Happens During a Cleaning?

Teeth cleanings are an important part of your oral care routine. They allow us to remove bacteria and irritants that are too stubborn for brushing and flossing, and leave your smile feeling healthy and fresh.

Cleanings start by removing plaque and tartar between your teeth and around your gum line. Thereafter, the hygienist will brush your teeth using a high-powered electric toothbrush. After the tartar has been completely removed, it’s followed by expert flossing and rinsing your mouth to remove any debris. We then polish your teeth, which removes surface stains and smooths out your tooth enamel. The last step is the fluoride treatment, which acts as a shield for your teeth against decay for several months.


While brushing and flossing are perfect for preventing cavities, it is not easy to clean every corner of your mouth, especially the back teeth that are used for chewing (molars). These teeth are uneven and a perfect hiding place for leftover food particles and cavity-causing bacteria.

The best way to keep the molars clean is by using sealants. A sealant is a thin, protective layer that conforms to the chewing part of your back teeth. While they shouldn’t be used as alternatives to brushing and flossing, sealants can prevent cavities from developing.

Do I Need a Cleaning if I’m Brushing Every Day?

Portrait of a beautiful woman brushing teeth and looking in the mirror in the bathroom

While we all do our best to take care of our teeth at home by regularly brushing and flossing, you still need deep professional teeth cleaning that only a dental office can offer. This is because brushing and flossing cannot fully remove the plaque and tartar that tends to build up on the surface of your teeth. This buildup harbors millions of bacteria that reproduce and thrive in your mouth by getting nourishment from the food you eat.

Dental cleanings will reduce the risks of developing gum disease and dental cavities by significantly lowering the number of plaque deposits in your mouth.

Is Deep Cleaning the Same as a Normal Cleaning?

A deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, is not the same as a normal cleaning.

Normal cleanings are what you receive when you visit Dr. Sferra every six months, and it focuses on the teeth above the gum line. A regular cleaning removes any tartar and plaque that may have built up in your mouth and is usually all you need as long as your teeth are clean and you don’t run any risks of developing gum disease. However, Dr. Sferra may propose a deep cleaning if there are any signs of periodontal disease.

Deep cleaning focuses on the root of the tooth, and is used to treat more advanced gum disease to avoid future tooth loss. The tooth root is cleaned of tartar and bacteria below the gum line, then the root surface is smoothed out to help prevent new bacteria from latching on. Deep cleanings generally take longer than normal cleanings and the dentist may book multiple appointments to ensure all the debris is cleared.

Gum Disease & Periodontics

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection that damages the tissues that clasp your teeth in place. This condition develops as a result of poor brushing and flossing practices that allow plaque to develop and harden on your teeth. Despite being common, gum disease is a serious condition, and is actually the number one cause of tooth loss!

Gum disease develops in three stages:

1. Gingivitis

The earliest stages of gum disease are marked by red, swollen gums that are sometimes accompanied by bad breath. This inflammation is caused by plaque buildup on the gum line. If regular brushing or flossing does not get rid of the plaque, it can irritate the gum tissue, leading to gingivitis. The first symptom of gingivitis that may notice is bleeding gums. The good news is that damage can be improved at this stage since a bone loss has not happened yet.

This stage is characterized by increased swelling and redness of the gums. This is because the gums start to recede, and the supporting tissue and bone that supports your teeth are being damaged. The gums may have started to form a pocket below the gum line, which may trap bacteria and plaque. This stage requires targeted dental treatment to eliminate the infection and begin repairing the damage.

This is the final stage of gum disease, where the bone and gum tissue supporting the teeth are irreversibly lost, which can lead to tooth loss and other problems. In some cases, the bone and tooth roots are too badly damaged, and teeth may need to be extracted. Even after the infection is treated, a gum graft may also be needed to restore soft tissue, which can’t grow back on its own.

Types of Treatment in Periodontics

There are several surgical and nonsurgical treatments of periodontitis that Dr. Sferra may recommend depending on the exact condition of your teeth, jawbone, and gums. Some of them include:

Keeping Your Smile Healthy at Home

woman holding dental floss

A healthy smile can’t be achieved overnight, but there are things you can do at home to have the best smile ever. Here are seven easy tips that will help make your dream of a lifelong healthy smile be a reality.

  1. Drink lots of water.
  2. Use a high-quality toothbrush and replace it after every three months.
  3. Floss daily.
  4. Brush twice a day.
  5. Give up smoking and tobacco products.
  6. Limit your intake of sugar and processed foods.
  7. Visit the dentist every six months.

Benefits of Good At-Home Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene practices can lead to gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss. On the other hand, proper oral care like regular flossing and brushing can help prevent most of these conditions. When you don’t clean your teeth regularly, the food and drinks you consume act as fuel for cavity-causing bacteria. Frequent cleaning, coupled with other dental care good practices, can help prevent decay. That means you will save yourself from dealing with complicated, uncomfortable, and expensive procedures such as dental implants, oral surgery, or root canal therapy.

Protecting Your Teeth at Our New York Dental Office

Dr. George Sferra and his team are passionate about helping our patients smile. We believe that the best thing we can do for your oral and overall health is provide the right care so that you can protect your natural smile and avoid costly treatment. Whether you’re a first-time patient or you’ve come to us for years, we’ll do all we can to help you enjoy a smile that’s healthy and truly yours.

Protect your oral health today when you schedule a visit to our friendly dental office for the treatment you need!

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