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Prevention

Prevention

A preventive program is a cooperative effort by the patient, dentist, and dental staff to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions.

Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet.  It is continued in the dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health.

Preventive services include regular dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Sealants and fluoride are also great preventive treatments that help protect the teeth.

Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy, confident, beautiful smile.

 

Comprehensive Dental Exams and Prophylaxis ( also known as dental cleanings)

Comprehensive dental exams and cleanings are recommended once every six months for all patients.These visits help identify any tooth decay or early signs of gum disease or oral cancer through diagnostic X-rays and physical examination. Early detection of these conditions can help ensure effective treatment and prevent permanent damage. Regular cleanings help keep gums healthy and teeth cavity-free. A dental cleaning includes removal of tartar and plaque, which can build up and cause inflammation and disease if left untreated. The teeth are also polished during a cleaning to remove stains and further buildups of plaque that may not be removed during regular tooth brushing.

 

Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural substance that helps strengthen teeth and prevent decay in patients of all ages. It is found in water sources, certain foods (meat, fish and eggs), and in toothpastes, rinses and professional treatments from your dentist. Sufficient fluoride treatment is most important for children, to ensure extra protection against cavities in their developing teeth.

Your dentist may use fluoride treatments for patients who are at an increased risk of tooth decay, including those with:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Active cavities
  • Eating disorders
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Poor diet
  • Tooth enamel defects

Fluoride treatments are administered at your dentist’s office.  It is applied to the teeth in gel, foam or varnish form either in a tray or painted directly on the teeth. Children may also be given fluoride supplements to take in small doses each day, especially if there is not a sufficient amount of fluoride in their regular water supply.  Children may also be given prescription fluoride gel to use at home to decrease tooth decay.

After most fluoride treatments, patients should not eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to increase the fluoride’s direct contact with the teeth. Fluoride treatments are often repeated every three, six or 12 months, depending on each patient’s individual needs.

 

Digital Dental X-rays

Dental X-rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam.  Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan.  Without X-rays, problem areas may go undetected.

Dental x-rays may reveal:

  • Abscesses or cysts.
  • Bone loss.
  • Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
  • Decay between the teeth.
  • Developmental abnormalities.
  • Poor tooth and root positions.
  • Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
  • keep track the progress of previous procedures

Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!

Are dental x-rays safe?

We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment.  The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of X-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.

New technologies now allow for digital X-rays, which reduce radiation exposure more than 50 percent, and produce instant, high-quality images.

Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental X-rays.  These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, digital x-rays that cuts down the exposure time of each X-ray.

Digital X-ray results are immediate and the diagnosis can be discussed between dentist and patient immediately after examination. Digital X-rays allow your dentist to easily share your X-ray results with other doctors, if needed.

Digital X-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. 

How often should dental x-rays be taken?

The need for dental X-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs.  Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.

 

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are applied to the surface of the tooth to protect the grooves of the teeth from decay. Decay often begins in these grooves because they are hard to clean and susceptible to a buildup of plaque. Sealants create a smooth surface that fills deep grooves and makes the tooth easier to clean.

Sealants are applied in children once the six-year molars are present, or any time between the ages of 6 and 16. Sealants are applied by cleaning the selected tooth and then painting the sealant onto the tooth enamel, where it will harden and bond to the tooth and protect it from decay. This procedure takes just a few minutes and is painless.  Baby teeth can be sealed as well for children, which are proven to prevent decay.

There is no one method for protecting your teeth from disease and decay. It is important to take care of your teeth each and every day, and to seek professional cleanings on a regular basis. With the help of an experienced dentist, many patients do not need further dental treatment and can successfully maintain their dental health with these simple steps.


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