Preventive

Preventive

  • Patient Education. We feel strongly that a patient should understand why a certain treatment option is being proposed. We use a variety of tools to accomplish this, including, but not limited to, short, simple to understand computer videos, pictures, drawings, plaster and plastic models, and digital photographs. Understanding your treatment options is all important in making the decision which option is appropriate for you.
  • Digital Cameras. We have two types of digital cameras. One of them is the intra-oral camera. It is shaped like a wand and can be placed in the mouth to take pictures of a certain tooth or even a section of a tooth. The photograph appears immediately on the computer screen so both the dentist and the patient can see the condition of the tooth. The other type of digital camera is the extra oral camera. It is used to show a patient’s smile or facial form and is helpful in recording the color or shade of a tooth or teeth so that we can match that color when a tooth colored restoration is planned.
  • Cleanings. Regular cleanings play an important role in preventing dental disease. Dental problems arise when plaque and calculus (also called tartar) are allowed to collect and remain on the teeth for extended periods of time. The primary purpose of dental cleanings is to remove those substances from the surfaces of the teeth that are above and just slightly below the gum line. There are a variety of instruments available to aid in the removal of these damaging substances. The teeth are also polished to remove stains and make them smooth so that plaque and calculus have a more difficult time adhering to the surface of the teeth.
  • Periodic Oral Exams. Each time you have your teeth cleaned the dentist should do an oral exam. The whole idea of prevention is to detect problems in the early stages. When problems are discovered in the early stages they are almost always easier, less painful, and less expensive to fix.
  • Oral Cancer Screening. When the dentist performs a complete oral exam or a periodic oral exam the oral cancer screening is a routine part of that exam.
  • Fluoride Treatments. When it is used properly, fluoride has been unequivocally proven to help prevent tooth decay. There are two methods of delivery of the fluoride. The first is in the form of a pill which is given to children whose teeth are still developing. Once the teeth have erupted into the mouth and the child is old enough to understand that it should not be swallowed, a topical fluoride gel or varnish can be applied to the outside of the teeth to further protect against the onset or progression of tooth decay. Many adults can also benefit from the use of topical fluoride.
  • Sealants are used mostly in children’s teeth. It is a bonding procedure and the purpose is to close off or seal small defects in the tooth surface, so that decay-producing bacteria cannot get into those areas that are impossible to clean with a toothbrush.
  • Snoring Appliances. Snoring is not only annoying to the people who have to listen to it, but it can be detrimental to a person’s health. Diagnosis of the condition involves not only the dentist but also a physician who is trained in sleep medicine. In many cases it is possible to use a specially designed mouthguard type of appliance to alleviate the harmful condition.
  • Night Guards. Studies have shown that many if not most of us clench and/or grind our teeth periodically during the day and also while we are sleeping. The condition is called bruxism and the bottom line is that it damages the teeth. Prevention of this damage can be accomplished with the regular use of an oral, mouthguard type of appliance that is designed specifically for bruxism. A night guard that is custom made by the dentist is more likely to be effective in preventing bruxism damage, compared to store-bought types.