PREVENTIVE SERVICES & DENTAL CLEANINGS
Bi-annual Routine Visits & Check Ups
What is a Dental Exam?
- Examination of digital diagnostic x-rays: taking these x-rays is essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss.
- Oral cancer screening: we will check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: we will check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examination of tooth decay: we will check all tooth surfaces for decay with special dental instruments.
- Examination of existing restorations: we will check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Professional Dental Cleaning
- Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during teeth brushing.
- 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!
What are Digital X-Rays?
Digital radiography is the latest technology used to take dental x-rays. This technique uses an electronic sensor (instead of x-ray film) that captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed and enlarged helping the dentist detect problems easier. Digital x-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.
Every exam includes dental x-rays which are essential to providing valuable information the dentists cannot see during a regular dental exam. They use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
These x-rays may reveal abscesses or cysts, bone loss, cancerous and non-cancerous tumors, decay between the teeth, developmental abnormalities and problems inside a tooth or below the gum line. By detecting and treating a dental problem while it is in its early stage, it can help you save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. Digital x-rays produce a significantly lower level of radiation compared to traditional dental x-rays. Not only are digital x-rays better for the health and safety of the patient, they are faster and more comfortable to take, which reduces your time in the dental office. Also, since the digital image is captured electronically, there is no need to develop the x-rays, thus eliminating the disposal of harmful waste and chemicals into the environment. Even though digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, dentists still take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation. These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are necessary, and using lead apron shields to protect the body.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist will recommend necessary x-rays based upon the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease. A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems
What is Fluoride Treatment?
Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations. At Sherwood Family Dentistry, we generally recommend that children and some adults have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental checkups.
Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels.
Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.
What are Sealants?
A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface. Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits.
Children and teenagers are the most common patients requiring sealants. As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16.
What does Sealant Treatment Involve?
The dentist applies the sealants, taking only a couple of minutes per tooth. The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions. The material set with a special curing light. The life of your new sealants can be extended through proper home care, eating a balanced diet, and regular visits to your dentist.