Prevention + Gum Care
Prevention is always better than treatment. By actively preventing disease and decay through regular home care, professional dental cleanings and regular exams, you will maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.
In addition, effective prevention can help you avoid costly treatments in the future to remove decay, restore teeth and treat gum disease. Regular prevention is truly your best investment.
CLEANINGS & EXAMINATIONS
Professional cleanings performed by a hygienist, form the foundation for preventing gum disease and tooth decay. In a professional cleaning, your dentist or hygienist will:
- Remove plaque from the teeth – Plaque is a film of bacteria on your teeth that causes your gums to bleed.
- Remove calculus (tarter) above and below the gum line – Calculus is plaque that has hardened on the tooth surface and is difficult to remove.
- Polish and remove stains from teeth
Dental examinations help to diagnose disease before it becomes hazardous to your health. In addition, regular examinations can save you money by alleviating problems while they are small and before they become expensive to repair, or in some cases, impossible to repair. Your dental examinations generally include the following:
- Oral cancer screening
- Gum disease evaluation
- Visual examination of tooth decay
- X-rays to see decay between the teeth, disappearing bone, abnormal bone, joint health and other problems that can't be seen by the naked eye
- Evaluation of status of current restorations (fillings and others)
We cannot express enough how important it is to see your dentist regularly. Remember, preventing disease is always better than treating disease.
DIGITAL X-RAYS (RADIOGRAPHS)
We are pleased to provide patients with the latest in advanced, digital radiography.
How do Radiographs Help?
Dental x-rays or radiographs are very important. They allow the dentist to see things about your oral health that cannot be seen by the naked eye. These items include cysts (sacks of fluid that form on the roots of teeth), cancerous and non-cancerous tumors, decay that occurs between teeth, joint health, bone health and the location of teeth that haven’t grown all the way in.
By using an x-ray to diagnose these problems, we can help save you money in the long run from surgeries or other treatments that might become necessary if we didn’t find the problem. In some cases, where dental x-rays show the location of tumorous growths, x-rays can be responsible for saving your life.
Advantages of Digital Radiography
Digital x-rays have many advantages when compared with old fashioned film-based machines, including:
- Reduced radiation exposure. (1/6th)
- Enhanced ability to refine image quality
- Instant viewing (no waiting for films to develop)
- Environmentally friendly (no toxic chemicals)
Best of all, it’s easy for you to see what the dentist sees. Your digital x-ray can be seen on a computer screen located next to your dental chair. This helps you understand your needs so that you can make an informed choice about any treatment.
Protect the chewing surface of teeth from decay
- Protect normal pits and grooves on the chewing surface of back teeth
Normal pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth can trap food that can't be removed by brushing or washed out by water or saliva. A sealant is a tough, plastic material designed to bond (stick) to tooth enamel. These clear or tooth colored sealants are painted onto the tooth surface to "seal" the pits and grooves and protect against decay. They are generally applied to children's first permanent back teeth soon after they come in.
Sealants are an excellent way to protect chewing surfaces of teeth from decay. They are a much better financial investment than treating decay after it has started.
Sealants are not permanent. They generally last about five years with normal wear, but can wear off or chip off earlier in certain instances. Also, sealants do not prevent decay between teeth or the onset of gum disease, so regular home care and dental visits are important.
There are no appropriate alternatives to sealants. If a tooth has decay, it will need a filling or other restoration.
GUM DISEASE (PERIODONTAL DISEASE)
The most common cause of tooth loss
Periodontal disease is characterized by bone loss around the roots of your teeth causing your teeth to be loose. This is a complicated disease as caused by bacteria but some people have a higher genetic risk than others. Smokers are at a very high risk of losing teeth due to bone loss (periodontal disease).
Think of it as if bugs are eating away at the soil around a tree trunk. Eventually, they eat away all of the soil and part of the tree’s roots, causing the tree to collapse.
Gum disease is diagnosed through a process that measures the depth of the pockets around each tooth. Pockets that are greater than 3 millimeters in depth are considered hazardous and will generally require treatment.
The early detection and prevention of gum disease is another reason to see your dentist regularly.
Gum disease is treated by carefully removing the bacteria and substances that form in the pockets around the teeth. The removal of this material occurs on a microscopic level and requires great skill. Our dental team has had advanced training regarding how to effectively remove all of the bacteria.
This process of removing the bacteria usually requires several visits to our office. Once the bacteria has been removed, the pockets must be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis by your dentist. Otherwise, the bacteria will continue to damage the bone.
Keep in mind that once you have periodontal disease, you will always have the disease due to the damage that it does to your body. Careful daily hygiene and regular dental visits to clean your dental pockets are required to keep your bone from being lost. After the initial dental appointments you will be placed on a regular appointment schedule called “periodontal maintenance” which usually requires a visit every 3-4 months.
Remember, it is always better to prevent disease than to treat disease.