Good dental hygiene and habits are an investment in your long-term oral health. From infancy, brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are essential to ensuring that your natural teeth remain healthy and strong for the rest of your life. And, with all of the advancements being made in both dental and general medicine, you could very well live to 100 and beyond!
There are many forms of preventative care that we use to prevent decay, oral cancer, and dental injuries. These include:
Comprehensive Examinations and Cleaning
Every 6 months, the ADA recommends that you schedule a professional cleaning and dental exam to screen for decay and gum disease. Keeping these biyearly appointments could very well be the difference between keeping and losing your natural teeth.
Tooth decay is not always apparent to the naked eye. Sometimes cavities are located beneath the surface of the tooth and we need a little help to identify these problem areas. DIAGNOdent uses a laser to scan the teeth and identify even the tiniest level of decay.
You should make sure to brush your teeth a minimum of twice per day and floss daily. When brushing, always use a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride, a valuable mineral, has been shown to strengthen the teeth and greatly reduce the risk of cavities.
Fluoride treatments are also a common part of routine dental visits. The treatment is quick and painless and will often be repeated every 3 to 12 months depending upon the condition of your teeth. If you are still not receiving the proper amount of fluoride, we may also recommend a fluoride gel, rinse, or mouthwash.
An active and healthy lifestyle full of physical activity can sometimes lead to injuries that can damage your jaw, teeth, and gums. If you enjoy playing sports, we would be happy to talk with you about creating a custom mouthguard just for you.
Our practice offers top of the line Under Armour® Mouthguards which are custom-made to perfectly fit and protect your teeth and smile. Whether you participate in contact or non-contact sports, these mouthguards go a long way towards preventing both facial and dental injury.
Oral Cancer Screening
Not only are we interested in preventing decay and keeping your smile beautiful and healthy, our practice is devoted to your general health as well. This is why we spend some time during each routine exam to check for indicators of oral cancer.
As with other forms of cancer, the key to a successful treatment is early detection. We will examine your mouth for abnormalities in your throat and mouth tissue as well as look for more apparent symptoms such as lumps and sores. If we do happen to see or feel something of concern, we will perform a simple swab test where we collect some of the cells in the area and check for abnormal cellular activity.
Continued improvements in cancer screening technologies have brought us two very effective oral cancer screening systems, ViziLite® Plus and VELscope. ViziLite® Plus is a quick and painless method and utilizes a special mouthwash that makes abnormal cells more visible under low intensity illumination. The VELscope oral cancer screening system, also painless, uses a white light and special scope to allow us to better visualize the tissues in the mouth. Any abnormal areas will appear significantly darker than the normal tissue.
Remember that abnormal tissue does not necessarily mean that you have oral cancer. If we do find any signs of irregularity, we will likely schedule a follow-up appointment or a biopsy.
The chewing surface of the molars is one of the trickiest places to clean. Between their location in the back of the mouth and the ridges atop these teeth, food often becomes stuck, leading to decay and cavities. This is why we often recommend sealants for these teeth, particularly for our pediatric patients. Sealants are very simple to apply and can last for up to 10 years.