Cleaning and 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.
Prevention also includes 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.
What would you like to learn more about?
A comprehensive dental exam will be completed by Dr. Davis at your initial appointment. Thereafter, periodic exams (usually yearly) will be performed to evaluate your overall dental health. Dr. Davis and his team of hygienists will include the following:
- Diagnostic X-Rays — Radiographs may be taken periodically for diagnostic purposes for the detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. There are also helpful in determining tooth alignment.
- Oral Cancer Screening — Cancer screenings include an exam of the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, oral cavity and gums.
- Gum Disease Assessment — Gums and bone around the teeth are evaluated for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Tooth Decay Evaluation — All surfaces of the teeth are examined for signs of tooth decay using special dental instruments.
- Evaluation of Existing Restorations — All fillings, crowns, bridges, etc. will be examined for their integrity.
Our initial and periodic cleanings are performed by a Registered Dental Hygienist. Regular dental cleanings are important to maintain dental health. Dental cleanings include the removal of plaque and calculus (tartar) build up that cannot be removed with regular brushing.
Calculus can form above and below the gum line and requires special dental instruments for removal. Plaque build up provides an environment for bacterial growth. These bacteria form toxins that inflame gum tissue and can be the start of periodontal disease.
Regular 6 month cleanings remove plaque and calculus build up.
A good home regimen of brushing twice daily and flossing is important for maintaining good oral health. Your dental cleaning will be completed with teeth polishing to remove further stains or plaque not reached with scaling.
Dental x-rays give us a picture of the teeth and surrounding bone and are are an important diagnostic tool used to detect dental disease or abnormalities that might not be visible during examination. Some problems that might be revealed through x-rays are:
Caries (tooth decay) developing under or between teeth or under restorations (crowns or fillings).
Diseases in the bone
Periodontal (gum and bone) disease
Abscesses (infections that develop under your gums)
Tumors (cancerous and non cancerous)
Poor tooth and root position
Are dental x-rays safe?
According to the JADA (Journal of American Dental Association), “The amount of radiation used to obtain dental radiographs is very small. For example, bitewing radiographs - two to four images of the back teeth - expose a patient to about 0.005 millisieverts (mSv) of radiation. By comparison, because radiation is part of our environment, people in the United States are exposed, on average, to 3.2 mSv every year from background sources of radiation.”
We take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation by using a lead apron to cover the body and by using modern fast film equipment.
How often should x-rays be taken?
We evaluate the need for x-rays for each person individually as per your oral examination findings and symptoms. We also consider your dental and medical health history, age and risk of oral disease.
We recommend a full mouth set of x-rays on your initial appointment as a new patient. A full series of x-rays is recommended about every 3-5 years. Bitewing x-rays are normally taken once a year or more frequently if there is an indication of the need as seen on examination.
Brushing twice daily along with flossing between the teeth can remove daily build up of plaque and bacteria that leads to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
We recommend brushing with an ADA (American Dental Association) approved fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride application can make tooth enamel stronger. If you have sensitive teeth, we can recommend a special toothpaste.
Select a toothbrush that feels comfortable to you. Manual and electronic toothbrushes are both acceptable and it is a matter of personal preference.
Flossing daily is the best way to remove plaque and debris between the teeth where a brush cannot reach. Oral irrigating can be helpful especially for people with braces or dentures but should not replace regular brushing or flossing. Floss holders are recommended if you are having trouble reaching between teeth with conventional floss.
Make sure to rinse your mouth with water after brushing.
Dr. Davis and our hygienists are happy to recommend products for your special needs.