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Dental Exams and Cleanings
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
Regular Exams and Cleanings
Regular exams are an important part of maintaining your oral health. During your regular exam, we will:
- Check for any problems that you may not see or feel
- Look for cavities or any other signs of tooth decay
- Inspect your teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
- Provide a thorough teeth cleaning
Your regular exam will take about 45 minutes. Each regular exam includes a detailed teeth cleaning, in which we will clean, polish, and rinse your teeth to remove any tartar and plaque that has built up on the tooth’s surface.
Visiting our office every six months gives you the chance to talk to the doctor about any questions you may have about your oral health. Regular exams are offered by appointment only, so please contact our practice today to schedule your next dental exam and teeth cleaning.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is one of the most effective, non-surgical ways to treat gum disease before it becomes severe. Scaling and root planing cleans between the gums and the teeth down to the roots.
Scaling is basically the process of removing dental tartar from the surfaces of the teeth. Root planing is the process of smoothing out the root surfaces and removing any infected tooth structure. If you have gum disease or gum pocketing, the gum pockets around the teeth will have deepened, thereby allowing tartar deposits to form under the gum line. A careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and calculus (tartar) from deep periodontal pockets and smoothing the tooth root to remove bacterial toxins will help ensure that your gum disease is controlled.
Helpful Hints to Keep in Mind
- Scaling and root planing does not usually cause much discomfort, but you my experience some soreness afterwards, since deeper regions under the gums have been cleaned.
- Your teeth themselves may become a bit more sensitive to temperature, and bleeding might occur for a little while after your procedure.
- Over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen, work very well to alleviate discomfort, as do ice packs applied to the outside of the face around the treated area.
- Brushing and flossing will have to be done more gently to avoid aggravating any bruised or tender gum areas. We’ll show you the best methods for keeping your teeth clean during this time.
Scaling and root planing is a simple procedure that can work very well to stop gum disease. If you maintain good dental care after the procedure, the progression of your gum disease should stop, and your gums will heal and become firm and pink again in no time!
Sometimes brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your mouth. It is difficult for your toothbrush to get in-between the small cracks and grooves on your teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.
Dental sealants are a plastic resin that bonds and hardens in the deep grooves on your tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, brushing your teeth becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.
Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventive measure against tooth decay after the permanent teeth have erupted. However, adults can also receive sealants on healthy teeth. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and your dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.
Sealants last from three to five years, but it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so if your sealants come off, let your dentist know, and schedule an appointment for your teeth to be re-sealed.
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay and in preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface. A fluoride treatment in your dentist’s office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or your doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months.
Using the most advanced dental technology possible is just as important as staying up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques.
Digital X-rays provide several advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental photos, and expose patients to less radiation than with traditional X-ray technology.
Because our practice is dedicated to providing you with the safest and most convenient treatment options available, we utilize advanced digital X-ray technology in our office.
Our practice is focused on making your dental experience as comfortable as possible. At your next appointment, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.
VELscope Oral Cancer Screening System
More than 480,000 new cases of oral and throat cancers are diagnosed each year, and over 35,000 of those cases are right here in the United States. Oral cancer kills one person every hour in the U.S., and without proper detection methods, a person may have oral cancer and not even know it. In almost all cases of oral cancer, early detection plays a major role in a patient’s chances of survival. By diagnosing and treating oral cancer early, a patient’s five year survival rate is 80-90% greater.
Risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Frequent use of tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco)
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Genetics (a family history of oral cancer or any type of cancer)
- Excessive exposure to the sun at a young age
While men above the age of 50 are typically at the most risk for oral cancer, there has been a recent increase in the number of women with oral cancer due to a connection between oral cancer and the human papilloma virus (HPV-16).
How VELscope works
The VELscope screening system consists of a specialized white light source and viewing scope that make it easier for your doctor to look closely at the tissues inside your mouth. Normal tissues will almost glow a bright green color. Abnormal tissue shows up much darker under the special light.
An abnormal screening does not always mean that the patient has cancer. If an abnormal screening occurs, your doctor may schedule a second scan later to see if the dark spots disappear, or may choose to perform a gentle, non-invasive brush biopsy to make sure it’s not cancer.
DIAGNOdent Laser Cavity Screening
DIAGNOdent is a revolutionary new way for your dentist to find even the smallest areas of tooth decay and cavities. By using the advanced DIAGNOdent technology, we are able to treat small cavities and areas of tooth decay before they become larger issues requiring multiple procedures. DIAGNOdent is a quick, comfortable process that helps you and your doctor keep your smile healthy and happy for a lifetime.
How does DIAGNOdent work?
DIAGNOdent uses a precise laser scanning system to scan over all of your teeth while sending out an audio signal and registering a digital read-out. By measuring the fluorescence within each tooth’s structure, your dentist can identify where there may be cavities developing in the small spaces between, on, and around your teeth.
DIAGNOdent is comfortable and takes only a few short minutes to scan your entire mouth for cavities and decay. Detecting tooth decay as early as possible helps eliminate the number of costly treatments that you may need down the line and helps treat small problems before they become serious dental cases.
Not all cavities are noticeable without the help of the advanced DIAGNOdent laser screening.
Most tooth decay begins in the tiny cracks and grooves of your tooth’s surface. By the time the cavities are noticed, it’s often because there is a much larger problem, and the cavity itself was never seen or felt by the patient.
With the widespread use of fluoride, many of these cavities never make it to the tooth’s surface, and instead begin eating away at the tooth from the inside out. The DIAGNOdent laser helps locate these small areas of decay.
If you would like to be screened for possible tooth decay and cavities, please contact our practice and schedule an appointment. Help your teeth stay healthy!