Preventative procedures and treatments involve efforts made to maintain healthy teeth and gums; furthermore, we aim to prevent tooth decay and recession of your gums. Our approach to dentistry is to be proactive versus reactive; we focus on prevention and not solely the treatment of disease.
If patients maintain their teeth adequately at home, and come in for regular cleanings and checkups, it is unlikely they will need restorative procedures. This also pertains to the health of your gums and supporting bone, as these provide support to your teeth.
With the use of digital x-rays we are able to visualize cavities between teeth and can be proactive to let you know when cavities are starting. This will allow you to put more effort in these specific areas to minimize progression. We ensure that you are able to see where the decay process is starting and how far it has progressed by using x-rays as well as intraoral photographs.
Our preventative procedures and treatments include:
When you come in for an exam we take low dose x-rays and high resolution intraoral pictures to show you what is happening inside of your mouth. We take a look at each tooth individually for localized concerns, as well as your teeth as a functioning unit to assess the way your teeth and jaws come together. When needed, we will take impressions of your teeth so that we can work on your treatment plan even when you aren’t in the office. For more complex issues we have a CT machine available in our office to take 3D radiographic images when required such as implants, difficult root canals, mysterious tooth pain or difficult extractions.
Our hygienists are friendly, gentle and thorough when it comes to providing hygiene services to our patients. Over time bacteria can adhere to your tooth and gums; furthermore, over time the bacteria hardens into a rock like substance that cannot be removed with a toothbrush. The bacteria can cause decay on teeth and inflammation of your gums leading to bone loss. Having a cleaning on a regular basis allows us to remove any hardened bacteria on the tooth surface and underneath the gums, where the toothbrush is unable to clean. This allows us to not only remove the bacteria, but also assess your at home hygiene. We can then provide you with suggestions for improvement if needed.
Polishing your teeth involves using a small rubber cup and a gritty paste referred to as prophy paste. The spinning action of the rubber cup along with the paste removes bacterial film and surface stains from the tooth surface.
When bacteria and sugars in the mouth cause acid production, this acid will attack the surface of your teeth and cause minerals to be lost from the tooth surface. This weakens the tooth structure and eventually leads to a hole forming in your tooth, which is referred to as a cavity, if the tooth is continually stripped of minerals. Research has shown the fluoride is highly effective towards preventing tooth decay through making the tooth more resistant to damage caused by acid. Also, it has the ability to stop the progression of smaller cavities from progression be adding minerals back to the surface of the tooth. Fluoride treatments that are applied in dental offices are of higher concentration than what you would find in toothpaste or mouth rinses. This is used as a preventative measure to protect your teeth from decay.
Oral Hygiene Instructions:
It is important that not only are you brushing and flossing multiple times per day, but also that your technique is effective. There are times when patients brush and floss everyday, but they still appear to have gingivitis or cavities. We try to review brushing and flossing techniques with all of our patients so that their efforts aren’t wasted. Improper technique can lead to missed bacteria that will eventually lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Fissure sealants are used in situations where an individual, usually children, have deep grooves on the surfaces of their teeth that are more prone to developing decay. By cleaning out the grooves and placing a resin sealant the deep groove is converted to a shallow surface that is less likely to develop decay. This is more of a proactive approach towards dental decay, whereas a filling is a reactive approach when decay is already present.
When playing sports, whether contact or not, it is important to realize that trauma to your face can result in severe damage to your teeth and jawbone that can lead to lifelong repercussions. Broken teeth and damaged jaws is a preventable injury. We are able to make a custom fit sports guard for you that will fit well and protect against trauma so that you don’t have to deal with unnecessary treatment.
It is very exciting to straighten your teeth through traditional braces or invisalign, but what is very important to realize is that your teeth will want to return back to their original positioning. By wearing a retainer, which holds the teeth in place after you have finished straightening them, the supporting structures may reorganize and adapt to the new position over time. This takes time which is why it is recommended to wear a retainer for many years after you have straightened your teeth, as they can always rebound to their original position. Sometimes a fixed retainer is placed that is glued onto the back of your teeth and is always functioning to keep your teeth aligned.
TMJ Bruxing Appliances:
If you have a habit such as clenching or grinding then we recommend an appliance that helps to minimize pressure on your jaw joints and muscles. Also, any mechanical damage that would be sustained by your teeth will be transmitted to the acrylic appliance instead. A night guard will lessen the muscle soreness associated with repetitive or continuous contraction, as well as reduce pressure on your jaw joint.
When a child loses a tooth due to trauma or severe tooth decay, the space that is left needs to be maintained so that the adult tooth has room to erupt when the time comes. A space maintainer is placed in such situations because otherwise the teeth behind the space will begin to migrate forwards and decrease the space available. If this is allowed to happen the adult tooth will not be able to erupt in its natural position, leading to inevitable crowding and the need for braces.
Over time your bite can change because your teeth will naturally shift over time or dental treatment can also alter your bite as well. Sometimes your bite will change to a point where there is an imbalance or obstruction present during functioning so an occlusal adjustment can be made to reintroduce balance to your bite. This is also done in our office after you have had braces to ensure that not only are your teeth straight, but also come together in a balanced fashion.