Quality preventive care is the foundation for a healthy mouth. From regular exams to cleanings and fluoride treatments, keeping up with your preventive dental care is the easiest and best way to ensure your teeth and gums remain free from decay or disease, and to catch any minor issues before they become major problems.
While good at-home brushing and flossing habits are important, professional cleanings and hygiene appointments are essential for your continued oral health. At your appointment, your hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth and gums using specialized dental tools, getting into spaces that are challenging to reach at home. They will remove any plaque or tartar buildup and floss between your teeth to leave your smile sparkling and feeling fresh.
Digital x-rays are quick, effective, and safe. They use far less radiation than their traditional counterparts, and create crisp, clear images for more accurate diagnoses. Digital x-rays allow us to see what’s going on beneath the surface of your teeth and gums so we can have a full picture of your oral health.
Fluoride is essential to keeping your teeth strong and cavity-free. While most toothpaste contains some amount of the naturally-occurring mineral, many patients can benefit from professional fluoride treatments. After your cleaning, we will apply a layer of fluoride-rich paste or gel, which they will let sit on your teeth for a few minutes before rinsing it away. Getting regular fluoride treatments is an easy way to strengthen your smile against the effects of decay.
Just as preventive care is the foundation of oral health, your gums are the foundation for the rest of your smile. Periodontal care involves cleanings and procedures aimed at preventing and treating periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria become trapped underneath the gum line, where they multiply, feeding on sugars and producing acidic waste that damages your gums and eventually your teeth and bones.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and the only one that’s truly reversible. Patients whose condition has advanced to periodontitis will begin to experience gum recession and bone loss as a result, both of which cannot be undone without surgery. If left untreated, it can even lead to tooth loss.
To halt the effects of gum disease, we use specialized tools, including our soft-tissue laser, to kill and remove bacteria that has built up over time. Scaling & root planing is a treatment in which we will gently scrape off any plaque or tartar buildup from beneath the gumline, as well as smooth out the roots so gums can more readily reattach to the teeth.
More advanced cases of periodontitis may require more complex treatments, such as gum grafting, gum flap surgery, or pocket reduction surgery.
Teeth clenching and grinding, known as Bruxism, is an unconscious behavior that most often occurs at night while you are asleep. In fact, you may not even realize you’re doing it unless someone else tells you! However, prolonged teeth grinding can not only wear down your teeth, it can even cause them to crack or chip. Teeth grinding can also lead to jaw pain and gum recession. Night guards are custom-fitted and made from a soft or hard plastic to be worn over the teeth to stop the negative effects of bruxism.
If you or your child play any sort of contact sport, a sports guard is an essential piece of equipment. Similar to night guards, they are custom-made appliances made from a soft plastic material that minimize the risk of damaging your pearly whites while playing sports.
An integral part of every preventive visit is an oral cancer screening. Although relatively rare, oral cancer can result in severe complications if it goes unnoticed or untreated. Dr. Dorsey will carefully examine the soft tissues in your mouth, looking out for discolorations, lesions, or any other abnormalities. If he finds any areas of concern, he will guide you through the next steps of diagnosis, which could include going to a specialist for a biopsy. Catching oral cancer early on can significantly reduce treatment times and costs, and can even save your life.
Common signs of gum disease include:
Common signs of gum disease include: