Preventive dentistry combines healthy at-home practices with routine professional cleanings, X-rays and treatments to prevent tooth decay and problems so your natural teeth stay healthy for a lifetime.
Cleanings, Screenings and Technology
Cleanings – Calculus and certain stains cannot be removed with traditional tooth brushing – no matter how expensive your toothbrush is, or how often you brush your teeth. During your routine cleanings, our trained hygienists use specialized tools to remove all traces of plaque, calculus and stains to ensure your teeth remain healthy and beautiful.
Checkups – Following your cleaning, a routine checkup is performed. We will conduct a thorough exam of the health of your soft and hard oral tissues, as well as an oral cancer screening.
Technology – We use X-ray and intraoral camera technology to make better decisions regarding our patients’ treatment, and give them the advantage of seeing their oral health from the viewpoint of their doctor.
X-ray images are a useful diagnostic tool that helps us detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. X-rays may be taken more frequently for children because of the need to monitor their still developing jaws and the integrity of teeth that have not erupted.
Intraoral cameras are approximately the size of a dental mirror, and project their images on a monitor for your doctor and you to see. We often use an intraoral camera for documentation and patient education regarding what is going on inside your mouth when diagnosing damage such as a cavity or a fractured tooth.
The American Dental Association recommends patients have a minimum of two dental visits each year for a professional cleaning, dental checkup and management of any developing conditions. Certain patients are at higher risk for developing problems and may require more frequent checkups.
At risk patients include:
- Expecting mothers – especially those with gum issues
- Patients suffering from immune disorders
- Patients who have periodontal disease
Preventive Treatments for Adults and Children
Adults – Fluoride is a mineral component of healthy teeth. When applied topically, it can strengthen teeth against decay and may even reverse early decay. Adults who are at high risk for developing cavities are candidates for in-office fluoride varnish treatments or prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste.
Children – We offer dental care for children age 3 and older. Their preventive routine is similar to adults with two cleanings and exams per year, but also includes fluoride varnish and dental sealants for added protection of their developing teeth.
Fluoride varnish is a temporary adhesive coating that allows fluoride to stay in contact with the tooth until it is removed with a toothbrush and tooth paste. Fluoride varnish is safe and has minimal risk of swallowing.
Dental sealants are plastic coatings applied to the deep grooves of molars and premolars to seal out bacteria that can lead to decay. Sealants are commonly applied to the first adult molars, which erupt around age 6 or 7, and sometimes used on baby teeth when their grooves are deep enough to be considered at risk of decay.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, causes abnormal tooth wear, fractures and tooth loss. It also can cause abnormal strain of facial muscles and the temporomandibular joints. Complications stemming from these problems can lead to pain and even a change in your facial structure. Our custom bite guards are used to help patients who grind their teeth preserve their tooth structure, and alleviate TMJ and myofascial pain by relaxing their facial muscles.