Checkups and Cleanings
Preventive dentistry describes the procedures used to detect and treat tooth decay and other diseases in the earliest stages. Our goal is to keep you as healthy as possible, maintain your natural teeth for life, and give you a BRIGHT and HAPPY smile.
Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. Another component starts in the dental office, with the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health. A preventive program is a cooperative effort by you, the dentist, and our hygiene staff to prevent the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions.
Preventive dentistry procedures include the most basic services and advanced technological innovations. These procedures can include:
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by the dentist at your initial dental visit. Part of your ongoing care includes regular check-up exams where your dentist and hygienist will perform the following:
- Examination of X-rays: Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Oral Cancer Screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum Disease Evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examination of Tooth Decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
- Examination of Existing Restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Professional Dental Cleaning: (Dental Prophylaxis)
Simply known as teeth cleaning, these are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease.
- Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
Depending on the severity of tartar building and plaque, you may need what is known as a “deep teeth cleaning” or scaling and root planing. Deep cleanings are used when there is a large amount of tartar and bacteria under the gums.
Other treatments that fall under preventive dentistry include:
- Flouride: Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay. Fluoride treatments are provided in dental offices, and dentists recommend using fluoride toothpastes, and mouth rinses at home. Flouride is even added to public drinking water. Fluoride can even reverse tiny cavities that are starting to form.
- Mouthguards: Mouthguards are custom made and prescribed by your dentist to provide a better fit. They are typically worn during sports activities to help protect against broken teeth. Mouth guards also are used to treat teeth grinding (bruxism), which can wear down teeth and contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
- Sealants: Sealants are invisible plastic coatings that fill the tiny grooves in the teeth in the back of your mouth so bacteria doesn’t have a place to settle. They help prevent cavities from forming and the need for fillings later on
Taking preventative steps with your oral hygiene and keeping up to date with your dental visits help avoid serious and costly dental problems, and is the key to having a healthy, confident, beautiful smile.