What’s most important to us is that our patients are educated and informed about all of our treatment options, procedures, tools, equipment and technology. Once you’re comfortable and confident with the information we’ve provided, we’ll proceed with your preventive dentistry plan.
We feel strongly about patients understanding 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. When you’re educated about your treatment options, you gain the power & knowledge to make an informed decision about which option is most appropriate for you.
We have two types of digital cameras:
- Intra-oral camera – This is shaped like a wand and can be placed in your 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.
- Extra oral camera – This 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.
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 your teeth for extended periods of time. The primary purpose of dental cleanings is to remove those substances from the surfaces of your 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. We also polish your teeth to remove stains and make them smooth, so that plaque and tartar have a more difficult time adhering to the surfaces of your teeth.
Periodic Oral Exams
Each time you have your teeth cleaned, the dentist will perform 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, you can expect the oral cancer screening to be a routine part of that exam. The goal is to be able to identify signs of oral cancer early so that there is a higher chance of a cure.
When it is used properly, fluoride has been unequivocally proven to help prevent tooth decay. There are two methods of delivery of the fluoride:
- Pill Form – This is given to children whose teeth are still developing.
- Topical – 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.
These are used mostly in children’s teeth. It refers to 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.
If you share a bed with a snoring machine (whether it be dog or human), then you know how irksome it can be. But the bigger issue at hand is that it can also 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 may be possible to use a specially-designed mouthguard to alleviate the harmful condition.
Studies have shown that many 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 your teeth. Bruxism can also lead to temporomandibular joint disease, more commonly known as TMD. We can help you prevent damage through the use of an oral, mouthguard type of appliance that is designed specifically for bruxism. A night guard custom-made by your dentist is more likely to be effective in preventing bruxism damage, compared to store-bought options.
Is there another question that you have about preventive dentistry, or concern that you have regarding any of the items above? If so, just ask a question & we’ll be happy to assist you!
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Highland Dental Group