When our patients come for their first appointment with us, we give them a comprehensive dental examination. If you are a new patient, we want to be thorough in learning about your dental history and your family health history so we can ensure our exams are taking your unique oral health into consideration. Our dental hygienists will give you an oral cancer screening and spend time inspecting your mouth – making a note of any fillings, dental crowns, dental bridges, etc.
Of course, we’ll also thoroughly clean and polish your teeth, so you leave with a brighter, whiter smile. This treatment is a part of every exam.
After your first comprehensive exam, we’ll schedule you for periodic dental exams so we can continue to keep an eye on your oral health and make sure if you have any oral health problems that we catch them early, before they turn into more extensive, costly issues.
Chances are if you’ve been to the dentist, you’ve had an oral cancer screening and may not have even known it. At our dental office, we check your mouth for signs of oral cancer during every visit. During these visual screenings, we check your tongue, floor of your mouth (under your tongue), the inside of your cheeks, gums, palate, and lips for signs of oral cancer.
Oral cancer is just one of the reasons it’s important to have regular checkups with a dentist. Having regular checkups gives us the opportunity to find signs of oral cancer early, so we can begin treatment immediately, and reduce your risk of having extensive damage to your mouth.
If you use tobacco products – cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, pipes – or drink alcohol frequently, or your lips have had excessive exposure to the sun, you have an increased chance of developing oral cancer.
X-rays help us get a deeper look at your smile. All of our x-rays are digital, so when they’re taken, they’re attached to your patient file and are readily available for us to review with you immediately. We also use panoramic x-rays, which means we can capture a view of your entire mouth in just one shot.
What will your x-rays show? They give our dentists a full view of your teeth below the gum line and in the jaw. That way they can see any impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts, tumors and, over time, any changes in your teeth density that could be an early indicator of disease. X-rays won’t be done at every visit, but they are an integral part of our comprehensive care.
Why does your mouth need a deep cleaning, if you’re a dedicated brusher at home? Plaque and tartar on your teeth provide an environment that allows bacteria to thrive and multiply. It’s impossible to keep it all off of your teeth on your own, so a trip to the dentist for an exam gives you the deep cleaning you need to keep your teeth free of bacteria. If you don’t, the bacteria continues to build up and eventually causes swollen gums and gum bleeding. These are the first signs of gingivitis, a generative gum disease that, if left untreated, causes significant tooth and gum deterioration. The treatment for this is a simple visit with our hygienist and her Cavitron Scaler.
Hygiene is a big part of maintaining optimum oral health – not only in the office, but also at home. Our dental hygienists work with each patient to develop an individual plan for maintaining oral health between visits. In order to keep your oral health in its best shape, it’s essential to have regular checkups and be thorough with your dental hygiene at home.
Fluoride treatments provide extra protection against tooth decay. While we do use these treatments as needed with many of our adult patients, we recommend children have fluoride treatments every time they come in to the office.
Why do we recommend this treatment so frequently for children? Combine the fact that they have new teeth growing and developing, with the fact that it’s hard to ensure all areas are reached and brushed thoroughly, and you understand that children are extra susceptible to tooth decay. Fluoride treatments make the tooth cavity stronger and more resistant to acid that forms from bacteria and sugar in the mouth. When the tooth cavity is stronger, there’s less of a risk of tooth decay and a greater chance of maintaining oral health.
There are several reasons for you to consider being fitted for a mouthguard. The first, and most common is for athletes. Regardless of what contact sport you play, wearing a mouthguard protects your teeth, jaw, cheeks, tongue, and lips. They’ve even been shown to help decrease the risk of concussions!
In addition to athletes, many people grind their teeth (bruxism), either during the day, or at night. While some may solely be grinding their teeth, for others, there is a larger problem – sleep apnea.
Regardless of whether you’re an athlete, suffer from sleep apnea, or simply grind your teeth, bruxism can damage teeth and gums and irritate your jaw. The dental night guard, or mouthguard worn by athletes, provides a barrier between your top and bottom teeth on the field or while you sleep – preventing that damage. But not just any mouthguard will do. All of our dental night guards are created tailored to your mouth for optimum comfort and proper breathing. We take an impression of your teeth and a dental lab uses that to create your custom mouthguard. Our custom dental guards are durable – lasting many patients up to ten years.
In addition to routine general and preventive dentistry services, sometimes there are emergencies. We know that emergencies can’t wait, so we see patients with dental emergencies the same day.
In case of a dental emergency, we recommend that you bring any pieces of a broken tooth or a tooth that has been knocked out with you, wrapped in a wet paper towel. Do not attempt to replace a tooth that has fallen out and may be dirty, as it could lead to infection. If you’re suffering from an injured or broken jaw, or a bitten tongue or lip, apply a cold compress to the area to reduce swelling. If trauma is the reason for your dental emergency, it may be best for you to go to an emergency room.
Part of offering thorough, gentle dental services is investing in technology. Our office embraces technology and is constantly looking for better ways to help our patients comfortably achieve their oral health goals.
The intraoral camera is just one example of a piece of technology that helps us in our general dental care. This camera, with a built-in light, is an alternative to using the traditional small mirror to view your mouth. Think of it as the piece of dental technology that gives you the opportunity to go on a video tour of your mouth. We can zoom in on a particular area and take pictures and video footage of different parts of your mouth. As a bonus, the images we take give such a clear view of your mouth that we can often use them to get procedure acceptance from insurance companies.
No matter how diligent you are about brushing, sometimes it’s difficult to get those hard-to-reach spaces in the back of your mouth absolutely clean. This is especially true of your molars. These unique teeth contain deep grooves that can be an attractive spot for cavity-causing bacteria to live and multiply. Sealants give you a powerful layer of protection against bacteria and acids to help prevent future tooth decay. Sealants are made up of a plastic resin that’s easily and painlessly applied to the surface of your teeth in just minutes, forming a durable, protective coating. They are especially important for children under the age of 12, but older kids and adults can get sealants too. Sealants generally last anywhere from a few months to a few years. They save you money and time in terms of future dental work.