ROUTINE DENTAL CARE
All new patients will be scheduled a dental consultation with the doctor for their first visit. This consultation includes a comprehensive oral exam, X-rays, and a treatment plan. Before the comprehensive oral exam, the doctor will go over your medical and dental history, as well as any oral health worries. Radiographs and intra-oral pictures will be taken during the appointment to help the doctor make the proper diagnosis. Additionally, the doctor will conduct assessments for the risk of caries, periodontal (gum) disease, and oral cancer. The consultation concludes with a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs and designed to prevent small issues from getting bigger and more expensive.
Here at the office, we use digital dental radiographs to help detect, diagnose, treat, and monitor oral conditions and diseases. Digital radiography is a type of X-ray imaging that uses digital sensors to replace traditional photographic film, producing enhanced computer images of teeth, gums, and other oral structures and conditions. We also take intraoral images as a diagnostic tool in conjunction with our dental radiographs. With the intraoral photos, patients will have a much clearer, more detailed picture of any pathology in their mouths.
Bacteria in plaque build-up can cause the gums to become inflamed and to easily bleed during tooth brushing, which leads to early stage of gum disease, also known as gingivitis. Although the gums may be irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. No irreversible bone or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage. Over time, if gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. At this stage, the inner layer of gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These pockets (small spaces between teeth and gums) collect debris and can become infected, increasing risk of tooth loss. During your visit, we will evaluate the health of your gums by looking for any signs of disease and taking measurements of the bone level. This assessment will determine the type of cleaning you will need. The earlier gum disease is detected, the easier it is to treat.
The goal of an oral cancer screening is to detect mouth cancer or precancerous lesions that may lead to mouth cancer at an early stage. Oral cancer can occur on the lips, tongue, gums, or other tissues inside of the mouth. The early stages of oral cancer may not cause pain and go unnoticed. Visible signs of oral cancer include a sores or irritations that do not heal or go away. During your visit, we will look for signs or oral cancer. If we notice anything unusual, we will refer you to a specialist for further evaluation. So many oral cancers, if detected early, can be treated successfully.
As well as causing gum disease, plaque build-up can also cause caries or cavities. Cavities are holes in the enamel (outer layer of the tooth) that can travel to the dentin (inner layer of the tooth). Some patients are at a higher risk for developing caries due to (but not limited to) a sugary diet, poor home hygiene care, low fluoride exposure, demineralized enamel, wearing orthodontic appliances, low salivary flow, deep grooves in teeth, and already having several restorations. The doctor will examine every tooth, look for cavities, weak spots, and failing previous restorations that require care. If we catch these problem spots early, we can provider minor, instead of complex restoration which will help prevent further damage.
Brushing and flossing are best ways to help prevent cavities; however, it’s not always easy to remove plaque from teeth with deep grooves, especially those back teeth you use to chew, called molars. They are rough with deep grooves and a favorite place for bacteria and leftover food to hide. Dental sealants are thin, protective coating that is applied to the deep grooves of your chewing teeth to seal them and protect them from plaque and acids. They are typically applied preventatively to reduce or eliminate tooth decay. Sealants typically last several years before a reapplication is needed.
A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning treatment performed by the dentist to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums. Using special instruments, the dentist goes around and below the gumline and hard-to-reach places between the teeth to remove tartar and plaque build up. Not only is this cleaning an important treatment for stopping the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease, but it can also improve bad breath (halitosis) and remove stains giving you a brighter, healthier smile.
Applying fluoride the teeth strengthens them because fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. Fluoride also helps speed remineralization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth of both children and adults.
A professional cleaning every 4-6 months is important, but there is no replacement for the daily maintenance your smiles needs. To help prevent plaque from building up, you should brush and floss thoroughly after every meal. Preventing plaque, in turn prevents cavities and gum disease. Our staff will go over the best tooth brushing techniques and the proper way to floss at home so you can maintain healthy teeth and gums until your next visit.