Preventative and General
Preventive measures can do wonders for your dental health. A few simple homecare practices, paired with regular visits to your dental professional will go a long way toward maintaining optimal oral health.
Daily preventive procedures share the common goal of removing bacteria from the mouth. If allowed to build up, bacteria adheres to the teeth, tongue and soft tissue which becomes plaque, that over time can mineralize into a hard substance called calculus. Only professional cleanings can remove calculus.
Fluoride therapy has been proven beneficial in maintaining optimal oral health, particularly in the prevention of tooth decay and hypersensitivity. Since the introduction of fluoride into public water supplies more than 50 years ago, the incidence of cavities has declined dramatically by strengthening developing permanent teeth. However, professional fluoride treatments, combined with daily home therapy, can oftentimes improve dental health. Treatment options vary according to a patient’s susceptibility to decay, level of tooth sensitivity, periodontal (gum) condition and number of cosmetic restoration.
Like fluoride, dental sealants can give today’s children a head start on good oral health. A sealant is a clear acrylic material that is applied directly to cavity-prone chewing surfaces and grooves of the back teeth, providing protection against decay.
Sealants are most beneficial when applied to the permanent teeth as soon as they grow in. The sealant is simply placed on the teeth, and a special light is aimed at the area to harden the material so that it adheres.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.
Some screening tests are used because they have been shown to be helpful both in finding cancers early and in decreasing the chance of dying from these cancers. Other tests are used because they have been shown to find cancer in some people; however, it has not been proven in clinical trials that use of these tests will decrease the risk of dying from cancer.
Please visit the Oral Cancer Foundation for more information.
Full Dental Exams
A dental examination is part of an oral examination: the close inspection of the teeth and tissues of the mouth using physical assessment, radiographs, and other diagnostic aids. Dental care begins with this assessment, and is followed by diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation. The Complete Exam’s clinical and administrativecharting functions look and work like paper charts, are user-friendly, integrate with digital imaging programs and other practice products, and are fully compliant with all HIPAA Privacy and medical-legal requirements.
The examination identifies tooth decay and evaluates the health of the gums and other oral tissues. The fit of dentures and bridges (if any) are evaluated. The patient’s bite and oral hygiene are also assessed. The dentist then recommends the best treatment options to the patient.
A dental restoration or dental filling is a dental restorative material used to restore the function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure. Dental fillings are metal amalgams or composite resins used to fill a cavity. The structural loss typically results from caries or external trauma. It is also lost intentionally during tooth preparation to improve the aesthetics or the physical integrity of the intended restorative material. Dental restoration also refers to the replacement of missing tooth structure that is supported by dental implants.
Dentists use dental fillings to restore teeth damaged by dental caries (tooth decay). Dental caries are caused by microorganisms that convert sugars in food to acids which erode the enamel of a tooth, creating a hole or cavity. The dentist cleans out the decayed part of the tooth and fills the opening with an artificial material (a filling) to protect the tooth’s structure and restore the appearance and utility of the tooth.
Dental extraction (also referred to as exodontia) is the removal of a tooth from the mouth. Extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, including tooth decay that has destroyed enough tooth structure to render the tooth non-restorable. Extractions of impacted or problematic wisdom teeth are routinely performed, as are extractions of some permanent teeth to make space for orthodontic treatment.
An occlusal adjustment corrects the alignment of the bite, that is a result of loose, shifting, crowded, or missing teeth. The result is an evenly distributed bite that eliminates irregular pressure on one side of the mouth. Once your bite is adjusted, your teeth will meet properly. Occlusal adjustment causes minimal pain, and only a little discomfort. The adjustment is made by using a dental drill using a fine filing stone. In addition to the actual adjustment, removal mouthpieces are also utilized, to protect the tooth surface, and relax the jaw muscles once the adjustment is completed.
A bite guard is also known as a stress guard, teeth guard, dental guard or night guard. Many people are afflicted with bruxism, or teeth grinding. Some people may do this consciously during the day, but it is a larger problem at night while you are asleep. Grinding your teeth can damage enamel, wear down teeth, cause jaw pain, or irritate your gums. The noise from teeth grinding can also disturb your spouse’s sleep if loud enough.
It is a dental appliance that is provided by the dentist to protect your teeth from excessive grinding or clenching. If you grind your teeth, you should consider a night guard. The night guard, which is very similar to a mouth guard worn by athletes, provides a barrier between your top and bottom teeth while you sleep. All night guards are custom fitted for comfort and to allow for proper breathing.