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 Gregory C. Dilger D.D.S.           General Dentist            1353 Edgewater St.          West Salem          (503) 378-0466   

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Flossing Information

           ***I have a video that shows how to floss.  Click here to watch it. ***


The care of the teeth and gums is a very important part of overall health. Flossing cleans 50% of the tooth structure, yet many people do not floss, or floss infrequently. Here is what's important, and some tips on how to make it easier.

Important:  A floss you can use. There are many flosses on the market. Different flavors, colors, thicknesses, even different holders. The only thing that matters is that it is one you can use. Experiment till you find one that works for you. Waxed floss can be easier to get between the teeth, gortex floss is even slicker. If you have a hard time getting you fingers in the mouth, there are floss fingers that you can use. Some come pre-flossed, some you put the floss on yourself. They all work.

Important:  Be careful with the floss. Don’t snap it between the teeth. This will not get the food debris out, and will inflame the gum tissue making them really sore. Instead, wrap the floss in a “C” shape around the tooth and carefully work it down between the contacts. When you are below the contact, keeping a “C” shape work the floss back and forth under the gum line. Do not force it, you do not want to cut the tissue. Then come up above the gum, and wrap the floss around the adjacent tooth and clean it, gently back and forth below the gum line. Then work the floss out from the contact area, and move to the next tooth

Important:  Floss all the teeth, even the back of the last teeth. Bacteria and food debris are everywhere, in the mouth they have no zip code.

Important:  Floss everyday!

Not Important:  The color of the floss

Not Important:  The brand of floss

Not important:  Waxed or unwaxed

Not important:  Choice of using your fingers or using a flossing device

A word about oral irrigators: Many people think they can use a Water Pik or water jet to clean between the teeth, like a power washer on the deck. The difference is the soft tissue. If you turn the water pressure up on the Water Pik, it injects the bacteria into the tissue, causing more irritation and a deeper infection leading to more bone loss. A good analogy is watering your lawn with the hose. With the water on gently, the water flows onto the grass and is soaked up. But put a spray nozzle on the hose, turn the water on high and point it down at the grass and you will dig holes in your lawn. Not what we are trying to accomplish.
A water irrigation device can be a great adjunct to your oral hygiene routine, used after flossing on the lowest setting, with a small amount of mouth wash or Hydrogen Peroxide in it with warm water.


Detailed Instructions:

1. Choose the floss you will be using
• Floss is a personal preference. Use what works best in your mouth and you are comfortable using. There are types of floss meant to clean under bridges, to use when wearing braces, or orthodontic appliances, and even to use with implants. Different textures of floss are available also for tighter teeth, or areas where food tends to become stuck on a regular basis. Floss fingers are also very useful if you have a hard time reaching your back teeth.

2. Tear a piece of floss off of the spool
• Tear a piece of dental floss around 18 inches long. Or select a pre measured piece of super floss, or select your floss fingers to use.

3. Wrap the dental floss
• Wrap the dental floss around one of your fingers, either the index or middle finger, whichever feels best.

4. Wrap the loose end
• Wrap the loose end of the dental floss around the opposite finger.

5. Grasp the dental floss firmly
• Hold the floss tightly between your pointer finger and thumb.

6. Gently insert dental floss
• Gently insert the dental floss in between your teeth. Try to gently wrap the floss around the tooth, rather then snapping the floss strait between the teeth and into the gum tissue. This could damage the gum tissue, and it hurts too! Wrapping the floss on either side making sure to clean not only the side of the tooth but also around the edges toward the

7. Floss under the gum line
• After the floss is inserted, gently move it back and forth underneath the gum and in a “C” shape around and against each tooth, one side at a time.

8. Floss all Upper and lower Teeth
• Position your hands so they feel comfortable when reaching the back teeth. Be sure to floss all of your teeth, upper and lower.

9. Don’t forget your back teeth
• It is important to floss behind the very back teeth and the back of teeth where a tooth is missing. This removes bacteria under the gum line and cleans the hard to reach area on the back side of the teeth.

I have a video that shows how to floss.  Click here to watch it.

 July 1, 2009

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Patient Testamonials


Dear Dr. Dilger:


It all started with my initial phone call to Dr. Dilger's office. I felt so comfortable from the start and after I came in for my first visit it's been all about what I want and what Dr. Dilger and his staff recommends for me. All around, it's been the best dental experience I've ever had.


Al P.




Going to the dentist used to be a nightmare experience for me. That's all changed when I came to Dr. Dilger. Dr. Dilger's office staff are so warm and welcoming. Visiting them is like going home. Dr. Dilger's calm and caring manner erased all my dental anxiety and for the first time in my life I found myself relaxed in a dental chair. Dr. Dilger and his staff really took the time to get to know me and my concerns. They talked with me about my fears and helped me address my anxiety. Now I visit the dentist and I'm not afraid. I can not express the difference Dr. Dilger has made in my dental life! Thanks so much Dr. D.


Molly F.




I love my new smile.  It was so easy too.  Nearly pain free.  I am considering my lower teeth at a later date.


Debbie E.