General dentistry services

Preventative Care

Simply put, preventative dental care is the practice of maintaining good oral health. Brushing at home and flossing daily are two measures of preventative dentistry. Ensuring that you visit the dentist for regular routine cleanings at least once every six months, getting dental x-rays, and treating small dental issues as soon as you notice them are also examples of preventative dentistry.

Why Is Preventative Dentistry Important?

On occasion, it may seem easier to skip brushing your teeth for a night or to postpone a routine cleaning appointment with your dentist. If you don’t care for your teeth properly, however, it may possibly turn into much more significant issues with your oral health. There are several important reasons to practice preventative dentistry.

It Prevents Worse Issues

Without proper care, you become more susceptible to developing dangerous oral health complications such as gum disease, which has been linked to heart health complications. Cavities and tooth decay could lead to more invasive procedures being necessary, such as tooth extraction or a root canal. If you ignore your routine dental check-ups, these complications can worsen over time and may begin affecting other aspects of your health.

You Save Money

Worse oral health complications will inevitably lead to more expensive procedures being required. By catching oral health issues early, you can save money on expensive treatments such as a tooth extraction or root canal. Your twice-a-year checkups will save you hundreds – or possibly thousands – of dollars in dental bills by catching problems early.

You’ll Require Fewer Visits

Going to the dentist can be an inconvenience, but practicing proper preventative dentistry will help avoid the need to visit more than two times a month. If you preemptively care for your teeth, and if issues arise, you will then less likely need to schedule procedures that may take multiple visits or even emergency trips to the dentist’s office.

Your Teeth Will Look Better

Proper oral care is the most important step to achieving a whiter and healthier-looking smile. If you are properly caring for your teeth, you will also be actively fighting against tooth stains. Stained teeth can lead to confidence issues when going out or hanging with friends, but a set of shining white teeth avoids these issues.

Routine Cleanings

Routine cleanings should typically take place at least twice a year in order to clean hard-to-reach areas in the mouth, such as the crevices in and between teeth. During your routine cleaning, you will first go through a brief exam to observe for cavities, tartar buildup, or signs of gum disease.

Following your examination, your dental hygienist will begin to remove tartar off the teeth and clean along the gumline. The experience is not meant to be painful and the length of cleaning will depend on the condition of your teeth.

After cleaning the surface of your teeth, your dentist will floss to clean the areas between them. This process helps to remove any tough-to-reach plaque that may remain on the teeth after cleaning.

Finally, your dentist may choose to provide polishing, which can help to whiten teeth to remove stains, or provide fluoride treatment in the form of either a rinse like mouthwash or a fluoride gel.

Routine cleanings are excellent opportunities where you can ask any questions about your dental health or about how to properly care for your teeth. Your dental hygienist can tell you how to properly floss or how to clean hard-to-reach areas in the mouth. Ignoring your routine cleanings leaves you more susceptible to tartar buildup, which can result in tooth decay, gum disease, receding gums and more as a result.

Annual Exams

Exams are routinely done at the same visit as the teeth cleaning. This includes the Dentist looking at all areas of your mouth for signs of cavities, gum disease and oral cancers. All of which, if spotted early are usually simple and easy to treat which is why twice yearly checkups are very important.

Digital X-Rays

Dental x-rays can help to identify problems that are not immediately visible through a visual examination.

Some problems that Digital x-rays can identify include:

  • Areas of decay, especially between teeth which may be harder to spot visually
  • Decay underneath a filling
  • Bone loss that may be associated with gum disease
  • Dental abscess (a gap between the tooth and gums)

The frequency of how often x-rays must be taken changes with age. In children and adolescents, x-rays should be taken every 6-to-12 months. For adults, the dentist may request x-rays to be performed every 12-to-18 months.

Under certain conditions, you may be required to have x-rays on a more frequent basis. For example, if you’ve had previous extensive restorative dental work, have a history of bone loss, dry mouth, or are a smoker, additional x-rays may be necessary.

Dental x-rays have become safer to undergo over the years, due to digital x-rays which are easier and better technology to work with. If you are concerned about the safety of x-rays and the frequency at which you receive them, speak to your dental team. Your dentist can help to relieve any fears you may have and can explain why they are needed.

Teeth-Colored Fillings

When an area of the tooth has been removed due to tooth decay (a cavity), a filling is used to fill in the area and protect it from bacteria or further decay. Modern day fillings are done with a resin composite that accurately emulates the color of your teeth, allowing them to naturally blend in and keep your teeth looking fresh.

Previously, fillings were given with gold, silver amalgam, or ceramic, which would leave a noticeable mark in the mouth where a filling had been placed. There are certain advantages and disadvantages across the different types of fillings. Your Dentist can discuss what different treatment options are and what is ideal for each patient and their particular situation.

Dental fillings are typically performed with local anesthesia and do not require the use of nitrous oxide or other sedation medication. If you suffer from dental anxiety or have a hyperactive gag reflex, dental sedation options are available. An ignored cavity can possibly worsen and lead to the need for an inlay or onlay, which is considerably more expensive. If an infection is able to reach the root of a tooth, a root canal will then be required in order to remove the infected pulp. Some studies have shown that infection in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body and cause heart complications. This can be avoided with early detection and treatment, which is why it is important to receive fillings as soon as a cavity is noticed.

After receiving a filling, you may notice sensitivity around the tooth. This is normal and should go away after a couple of weeks. If sensitivity after a filling continues longer than four weeks, reach out to your dentist. Over time, your dental filling will need to be replaced. Normal wear and tear alone can create weaknesses in your filling. Your dentist will be able to identify if you need to replace your dental filling during a routine checkup.

Dental Crowns

A dental crown is a type of cap that covers the top of a damaged tooth to restore its function, shape and look. Crowns, like fillings, can be made from several different types of materials such as metal, ceramic, porcelain, and resin composites. Dental crowns can be made to look as natural as possible by blending in with the color of your teeth. When choosing a material, your dentist may also consider:

  • The location of the tooth
  • The condition of the surrounding gum tissue
  • The color of your teeth

During your dental crown procedure, the tooth is first shaped in order to properly and comfortably fit the crown. Any tooth decay is also cleaned out during this time. Then, an impression is made in order to perfectly fit your tooth. Once the mold is made, your dentist will place a temporary crown over the tooth to keep it protected while the permanent crown is made.

Like your normal teeth, dental crowns need to be cleaned and cared for. Although dental crowns are strong, they are still susceptible to breaking or cracking if you constantly grind your teeth or bite down on hard foods or objects, such as ice or pens. It is also possible for cavities to get underneath the crown, causing infection and discomfort. It is important to brush your teeth where crowns have been placed twice a day and floss – just as you would your normal teeth. Postoperative instructions should be provided by your dentist to ensure that your crowns remain strong and your mouth stays healthy! If you notice any discomfort a couple of weeks after the procedure, call your dentist and ask questions!

Dental Bonding & Contouring

When you experience small cosmetic flaws in your teeth such as chips, gaps, or discoloration, dental bonding and contouring can be used to correct the issue.

Dental bonding and contouring are non-invasive techniques that can be used to create a more attractive smile through the making of small adjustments. Dental bonding typically uses a resin composite (the same material used in dental fillings) to fix up minor issues such as a crack, a worn edge, discolored teeth, and gaps between teeth.

During the dental bonding process, your teeth will be “roughened,” and a special bonding liquid is applied to them. This is to help the bonding process with the resin material that will be used to improve your smile. Next, the resin is applied, shaped, molded and then hardened to bond to your teeth. The process of dental bonding is completely painless since the dentist will not be working around the nerves in your mouth. All work is performed directly on the teeth, so there is minimal discomfort during dental bonding. Dental bonding takes about 30-to-60 minutes to complete. Depending on the amount of bonding that’s required, it is possible that you may need multiple visits.

Dental bonding, while a fast and convenient procedure, does have some disadvantages. For example, the resin that’s used in dental bonding is not as strong as the porcelain for dental veneers or crowns. Bonding and contouring are also meant to be used for small cosmetic fixes. For a more dramatic change to your smile, you may need to speak to your dentist about other available options.

Tooth contouring is a similar process, but instead of applying a material to your teeth, part of the enamel is removed in order to sculpt your teeth to create a more attractive smile. Like bonding, dental contouring is a painless procedure where even local anesthesia is not needed. Both dental bonding and contouring also have no downtime after treatment. As with your normal teeth, those that have been treated with bonding or contouring still require daily oral care including brushing and flossing regularly.

Tooth Extraction

Tooth extraction is necessary when a tooth becomes compromised either through infection, trauma to the tooth, or decay that is so severe it cannot be repaired or treated. Tooth extraction falls into two different categories: simple and surgical.

Simple extraction

A simple tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth that is above the gumline. A simple tooth extraction is typically performed by loosening and lifting the tooth before removing it with forceps. Also, a simple tooth extraction is usually performed under local anesthesia, which numbs the area around the tooth. This is a quick process with a shorter recovery time when compared to surgical extraction.

Surgical extraction

A surgical extraction, compared to a simple extraction, is performed when the tooth is not fully erupted or may even be beneath the gum line. Surgical extractions are most commonly performed for procedures such as wisdom teeth removal. Surgical extractions require an incision in the gum line so that the tooth can be removed. Surgical extractions require longer recovery times and can take longer in contrast to a simple extraction. Patients may also opt to undergo some form of dental sedation, which may depend on the amount of tooth getting removed, a patient’s pain tolerance, and if he or she has a fear of the dentist.

Our dental teams use tooth extraction as a last resort. Your dentist will try to find a way to save or preserve the original tooth before resorting to a tooth extraction. Tooth extractions can be performed in one day and are a common and safe procedure. Your dentist will discuss post-procedure instructions during your visit.

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