Healthy Smiles, Healthy Lives
Making sure your family has healthy smiles is our top priority. A solid foundation of whole-mouth wellness can boost your confidence and improve your quality of life. Our general and preventive dentistry services are designed to stop problems before they start, helping you to avoid dental disease that can cause tooth loss and other roadblocks to your well-being.
Your Mouth is Connected to Your Whole Body!
When gum disease sets in, it does more than cause irritated, puffy gums. It raises your risk for a whole host of serious illnesses, including heart attack, stroke, memory loss, and diabetic complications. Moms-to-be should be especially diligent about oral health as periodontal problems have been associated with low birth weight babies and pre-term labor.
The American Dental Association recommends you see your dentist at least twice each year for a checkup and/or hygiene appointment. At your checkup, we will inspect your soft tissues for oral cancer, periodontal disease, and other problems. The dentist will also look at each tooth in your mouth to assess problems like tooth decay or cracks, as well as old dental work. Sometimes old dental work wears out and needs to be replaced. We will be happy to replace metal fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns with tooth-colored alternatives.
During your professional hygiene appointment, our gentle hygienists will inspect your gums for periodontal disease, the leading cause of tooth loss for adults. The hygienists are specially trained to detect, deter, and treat gum disease. We prefer to help you maintain optimal oral health so that you never have to worry about gum disease. However, if you develop periodontal problems, we’re here to help you.
By looking for trouble every six months, we can often reduce your potential for large dental problems. For instance, left untreated, a small cavity can grow to destroy an entire tooth and spread to surrounding teeth. A cracked tooth can cause pain or break off and create additional problems. Furthermore, advanced gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss for adults, and oral cancer causes more than 7,500 deaths each year. Caught and treated early, these diseases can be controlled. Children as young as two years of age should visit the dentist, and by age four or five, a child should attend regular checkups.
For decades, fluoride has been held in high regard by the dental community as an important mineral that is absorbed into and strengthens tooth enamel, thereby helping to prevent decay of tooth structures.
In nearly every U.S. community, public drinking supplies are supplemented with sodium fluoride because the practice is acknowledged as safe and effective in fighting cavities.
Some private wells may contain naturally fluoridated water.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a compound of the element fluorine, which can found throughout nature in water, soil, air and food. By adding fluoride into our drinking water, it can be absorbed easily into tooth enamel, especially in children’s growing teeth, which helps to reduce tooth decay.
Why Is Fluoride Important To Teeth?
Fluoride is absorbed into structures, such as bones and teeth, making them stronger and more resistant to fractures and decay. A process in your body called “remineralization” uses fluoride to repair damage caused by decay.
How Do I Get Fluoride?
Just drinking public water will provide a certain measure of fluoride protection. But for years, health professionals have endorsed the practice of supplementing our intake with certain dietary products, and topical fluorides in many toothpastes and some kinds of rinses. Certain beverages such as tea and soda may also contain fluoride. Certain kinds of dental varnishes and gels may also be applied directly to teeth to boost fluoride intake.
It is generally NOT safe to swallow toothpastes, rinses, or other products containing topical fluoride. In rare cases, some people may be overexposed to high concentrations of fluoride, resulting in a relatively harmless condition called fluorosis, which leaves dark enamel stains on teeth.
Prevention of Decay
Sealants are liquid coatings that harden on the chewing surfaces of teeth and are showing a great deal of effectiveness in preventing cavities—even on teeth where decay has begun.
The pits and grooves of your teeth are prime areas for opportunistic decay. Even regular brushing sometimes misses these intricate structures on the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
The sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces and are designed to prevent the intrusion of bacteria and other debris into the deep crevices on the tops of teeth.
Sealants actually were developed about 50 years ago, but didn’t become commonly used until the 1970s. Today, sealants are becoming widely popular and effective; young children are great candidates for preventative measures like sealants (especially on molars) because in many cases, decay has not set in. Even on teeth where decay is present, sealants have been shown to fight additional damage.
Sealants are applied by first cleaning the tooth surface. The procedure is followed by “etching” the tooth with a chemical substance, which allows the sealant to better adhere. After the sealant is applied, a warm light source is directed to the site to promote faster drying. Sealants usually need re-application every five to 10 years.
Types of Intraoral X-Rays
There are several types of intraoral X-rays, each of which shows different aspects of teeth.
Bite-wing X-rays show details of the upper and lower teeth in one area of the mouth. Each bite-wing shows a tooth from its crown to about the level of the supporting bone. Bite-wing X-rays are used to detect decay between teeth and changes in bone density caused by gum disease. They are also useful in determining the proper fit of a crown (or cast restoration) and the marginal integrity of fillings.
Periapical X-rays show the whole tooth — from the crown to beyond the end of the root to where the tooth is anchored in the jaw. Each periapical X-ray shows this full tooth dimension and includes all the teeth in one portion of either the upper or lower jaw. Periapical X-rays are used to detect any abnormalities of the root structure and surrounding bone structure.
Types of Extraoral X-Rays
There are several types of extraoral X-rays that your dentist may take.
Panoramic X-rays show the entire mouth area — all the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws — on a single X-ray. This type of X-ray is useful for detecting the position of fully emerged as well as emerging teeth, can identify impacted teeth, and aid in the diagnosis of tumors.
Cephalometric projections show the entire side of the head. This type of X-ray is useful for examining the teeth in relation to the jaw and profile of the individual. Orthodontists use this type of X-ray to develop their treatment plans.