Patterson Village Dentistry
Dental Hygiene
Top Rated Dental Hygienists in Richmond
Hygiene Related Dental Procedures, Options & Details

Dr. Hina Ali and her team of hygienists have the experience and credentials you should look for when considering a new dentist for your regular checkups and dental hygiene.

Dedicated to life-long learning, Dr. Ali has averaged 90 continuing education credit hours (per licensing period) throughout her career; the minimum requirements for the state of Virginia are 15 continuing education credit hours per licensing period!

Dr. Ali made sure I was comfortable and pain free through the entire process. The staff is warm & friendly and genuinely cares. I highly recommend Dr. Ali & her wonderful staff!

B. Smallwood
Dental Patient of Dr. Ali

Dr. Hina Ali, with a high-tech dental hygiene office located in Richmond, has practicing dentistry since 1998.

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Dental Checkups & Cleanings

Coming in for regular cleanings is critical to maintaining not only your teeth and gums health, but also to extend the life of any dental work you’ve had done. The American Dental Association recommends everyone have dental cleanings at least twice per year, although many patients need cleanings more frequently than that. It’s important to have your teeth professionally cleaned at the interval your dentist and hygienist recommend. Gum disease is prevalent in the United States and is correlated with many other systemic health problems. If Dr. Ali and the team recommend you have a cleaning every 3 or 4 months, it’s to ensure not only the health of your mouth, but also your overall health.

During a teeth cleaning, the dental hygienist will take measurements of your gums, called periodontal probing depths. This is how we check for gum disease. If there’s no disease present, then you’ll have a preventive type cleaning done, called a prophylaxis or “prophy” for short. During this type of cleaning, special instruments are used to remove plaque and calculus (also called tartar) from the teeth. The teeth will be polished to remove stain, then flossed and rinsed. Fluoride can be applied to help prevent cavities.

If gum disease is detected, then a different type of cleaning is recommended. In the presence of gum disease, a preventive or “prophylactic” type of cleaning is not enough to bring the gums back to health. In this case, additional gum therapy and possibly scaling and root planing (also called “deep cleaning”) will be recommended.

Video 01:00 | Brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and eating balanced, healthy meals are important to maintaining a healthy smile. Regular dental visits are also extremely important to prevent and treat oral disease. Learn why regularly visiting a dentist can help keep your smile healthy for a lifetime.

How often should I have my teeth cleaned?

At the very minimum, twice per year, or six months apart is recommended if the gum tissue is healthy and no disease is present. If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, then it will likely be recommended you have your teeth cleaned three or four times per year, depending on the severity of your gum disease and how well you maintain your flossing and brushing at home between cleanings.


Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and is indicated by bleeding gums. If you notice any bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth at home, schedule an appointment to see our hygienist. You’ll need an assessment of your gum health and a treatment plan to help get your gums healthy again. Gingivitis is treatable when caught in the early stages.

When the bacteria that make up dental plaque accumulate along the gum line, they cause the gums to become inflamed and they bleed easily. Usually a professional dental cleaning along with daily home care that includes flossing and brushing will help clear the inflammation. Sometimes a dental laser and antimicrobial treatment rinses will be used during your cleaning to help kill bacteria and reduce inflammation. If gingivitis is not treated, then it is likely to progress to the next stage of gum disease, called periodontal disease.

If your gums are tender, swollen or bleed easily when flossing, you may have gingivitis—the early stage of gum disease. Fortunately, gingivitis can be prevented by following a good oral health care routine and by regularly visiting a dentist. Find out more about how to reduce the risk of gingivitis and, if needed, how to treat it.

What are the signs of gingivitis?

The most common sign and symptom of gingivitis is bleeding gums. You might not notice any bleeding while brushing, but if you floss your teeth and see bleeding, that’s a good indication that your gums are not healthy. Another common symptom is bad breath. If you notice your breath doesn’t stay fresh for long after you’ve brushed, you might have gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Make an appointment at Patterson Village Dentistry if you notice any bleeding when you floss or if your gums are swollen and tender.

What happens if I don’t treat gingivitis?

Gingivitis is easily treatable when caught early. Ignoring gingivitis, however, will likely result in its progression to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is when the bacteria that caused gingivitis move down the root of the tooth, destroying tissue and bone. This is not as easily treatable and requires more extensive cleaning and several appointments. Over time, not treating periodontal disease leads to tooth loss, as the underlying bone is destroyed.

Periodontal Treatments

Late stage periodontal disease can be difficult to control. In later stages, a significant amount of bone loss has already occurred around the root of the tooth. In some cases, the only option to clear the diseased areas is to extract the teeth. One of the most common causes of tooth loss is periodontal disease. At Patterson Village Dentistry, we take gum disease seriously because:

Advanced gum disease causes tooth loss.
Gum disease is associated with other systemic health conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
Other dental treatments won’t be as successful if gum disease is present.

Ideally, we don’t want you to ever progress to periodontal disease, which is why we encourage all of our patients to maintain regular hygiene visits at our office and have good home care habits.

Can you cure periodontal disease?

Unfortunately, while gingivitis can be cured, periodontal disease cannot. Once the supporting bone around the teeth is damaged by periodontal disease, it doesn’t regenerate. The progression of the disease can, however, be controlled and slowed down by a strict daily home care routine and regular hygiene visits in our office for professional cleaning. Periodontal maintenance cleanings will focus on keeping the roots of the teeth clean and thus the surrounding tissue as healthy as possible. Typically, periodontal maintenance cleanings need to occur every three to four months in order to manage this chronic disease.

Periodontal Screening

Video 01:00 | Gums that are red, tender or swollen may indicate periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Because you can have periodontal disease without knowing it, it’s important to visit your dentist for periodontal screening. Discover more about how to prevent, detect and treat periodontal disease.

What Is A Root Planing Procedure?

If you’re diagnosed with periodontal disease, then usually the first course of treatment is a deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing cleans and smooths the roots of the teeth to remove hardened deposits called calculus, or tartar. The hygienist might also use a laser and medicated treatment rinses or antibiotics to further eradicate bacteria from the tooth roots and surrounding gum tissue. This type of cleaning is typically done in two or more appointments and the areas are numbed first, so it’s comfortable for the patient.

Root planning removes bacteria and their toxins, tartar, and diseased deposits from the surfaces of tooth roots. Scraping or scaling is required the full length of the root surface, down to where the root, gum and bone disease (periodontal disease).

Scaling and Root Planing

Video courtesy of ADA

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