Preventive Dentistry

Preventing Problems Before They Start

The health of your teeth and mouth is very important to the well-being of your entire body, and while routine brushing and flossing at home is necessary to keep your smile looking its best, visiting your dentist for a comprehensive exam and cleaning is essential. The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist every six months to ensure your teeth stay healthy and your smile stays beautiful.

By routinely seeing your dentist for exams and cleanings, you can:

  • Prevent tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath
  • Save money by avoiding costly and extensive dental procedures
  • Keep your teeth white by reducing staining from food and drinks
  • Shorten the time spent in your dentist's office
  • Have a smile that will last a lifetime

Dental Exam

During your clinical exam, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth, gums, TMJ, scan for oral cancer, tumors, and or lesions. A radiographic examination may also be necessary to view decay between the teeth, positioning and presence of primary or permanent teeth, as well as cysts, tumors, and other health conditions. These images will provide information not visible to the naked eye.

Professional Cleanings (Recare)

Your dental hygienist will begin your cleaning with an examination of the overall gingival health, periodontal disease, bone loss, scanning for any signs/symptoms of discomfort or infection, tooth development, and the oral home care of the patient. She/he may make suggestions on how to improve your brushing or flossing habits and demonstrate the proper techniques. This is followed up by a thorough polishing, scaling with various tools, and flossing process to rid any debris like tarter, plaque, germs and bacteria. Nutritional counseling is also included in this process to increase healthy habits and reduce the chance for the enamel to breakdown by frequent intake of acids and sugars. The option of a topical fluoride application will complete the cleaning process. Depending on the oral health of the child, he/she may be placed on a 3,4, or 6 month recare.

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Deep pits and grooves often collect plaque, debris, stain, and tartar. A toothbrush can't simply keep these areas clean nor can it reach down into the tiny crevices. Technology today has produced sealants, which work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth acting as a glass like shield. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years depending on your child's dietary, grinding, and chewing habits. Sealants are best suited for permanent first molars, which erupt around the age of 6, and second molars, which erupt around the age of 12. Here in the office we touch up any necessary sealants at no charge for our patients after the initial placement.

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If your child participates in most any sport, a mouth guard could be a lifesaver in terms of preserving teeth.

Anyone who participates in a sport that carries a significant risk of injury should wear a mouth protector, according to the American Dental Association. Sports like basketball, baseball, gymnastics, and volleyball all pose risks to your child's mouth and teeth. We usually think of football and hockey as the most dangerous to the teeth, but nearly half of sports-related mouth injuries occur in basketball and baseball.

A mouth guard can prevent serious injuries such as concussions, cerebral hemorrhages, incidents of unconsciousness, jaw fractures, and neck injuries by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw. Mouth guards are effective in moving soft tissue in the oral cavity away from the teeth, preventing laceration and bruising of the lips and cheeks, especially for those who wear orthodontic appliances.

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For decades, fluoride has been held in high regard by the dental community as an important mineral that is absorbed into and strengthens tooth enamel, and thereby helping to prevent decay of tooth structures.

In nearly every U.S. community, public drinking supplies are supplemented with sodium fluoride because the practice is acknowledged as safe and effective in fighting cavities.

Some private wells may contain naturally fluoridated water.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a safe compound found throughout nature - from the water we drink and air we breath, to many kinds of foods.

Why is fluoride important to teeth?

Fluoride is absorbed into structures such as bones and teeth, making them stronger and more resistant to fractures and decay. A process in your body called "remineralization" uses fluoride to repair damage caused by decay.

How do I get fluoride?

Just drinking fluoridated water will provide a certain measure of fluoride protection. But for years, health professionals have endorsed the practice of supplementing our intake with certain dietary products, and topical fluorides in many toothpastes and some kinds of rinses. Certain beverages such as tea and soda may also contain fluoride. Certain kinds of dental varnishes and gels may also be applied directly to teeth to boost fluoride intake.

Current controversy

It is generally not safe to swallow toothpastes, rinses or other products containing topical fluoride. In rare cases, some people may be over-exposed to high concentrations of fluoride, resulting in a relatively harmless condition called fluorosis, which leaves dark enamel stains.

Ask us if your water has fluoride in it. If it doesn't, we can discuss giving your child a prescription for fluoride drops if they are at high risk for decay.