Dental Exams and Cleanings
PREVENTING PROBLEMS BEFORE THEY START
The health of your teeth and mouth is very important to the well-being of your entire body, and while routine brushing and flossing at home is necessary to keep your smile looking its best, visiting your dentist for a comprehensive exam and cleaning is essential. The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist every six months to ensure your teeth stay healthy and your smile stays beautiful.
By routinely seeing your dentist for exams and cleanings, you can:
- Prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath
- Save money by avoiding costly and extensive dental procedures
- Keep your teeth white by reducing staining from food and drinks
- Shorten the time spent in your dentist’s office
- Have a smile that will last a lifetime
During your exam, Dr. Minth will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other health problems. He may also want to take X-rays to see what is happening beneath the surface of your teeth and gums. These images provided will help Dr. Minth discover dental issues not visible to the naked eye.
Your dental hygienist, Sue, will begin your cleaning by exploring the surface of your teeth to determine if you have any cavities and to examine the quality of existing fillings. She will then perform a periodontal exam to make sure your gums adhere tightly to your teeth, and no periodontal disease or bone loss may be occurring.
Next, Sue will carefully clean your teeth with a variety of tools to remove any hard mineral buildup (tartar) from your teeth. Then your hygienist will floss your teeth, use a polishing compound, and apply fluoride. Cleanings usually aren’t painful, but if you have any anxiety about your dental exam, be sure to let us know. We offer several options to ensure your comfort. If Dr. Minth finds tooth decay or gum disease, he will talk to you about changing your brushing or flossing habits. In severe cases, they may recommend antibiotics or other dental treatments. If your teeth and gums appear to be healthy, he will probably recommend that you continue your brushing and flossing routine as usual.
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, your dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may schedule another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, your dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with your doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation.
Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.
Dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are usually used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important, but they can also be used on the back teeth depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay.
WHAT’S RIGHT FOR ME?
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and expense of dental restorations, including:
- The components used in the filling material
- The amount of tooth structure remaining
- Where and how the filling is placed
- The chewing load that the tooth will have to bear
- The length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth
Before your treatment begins, your doctor will discuss with you all of your options and help you choose the best filling for your particular case. In preparation for this discussion it may be helpful to understand the two basic types of dental fillings — direct and indirect.
- Direct fillings are fillings placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and composite (resin) fillings. The dentist prepares the tooth, places the filling, and adjusts it in one appointment.
- Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. They include inlays, onlays, and veneers fabricated with gold, base metal alloys, ceramics, or composites. They are used when a tooth has too much damage to support a filling but not enough to necessitate a crown. During the first visit, the dentist prepares the tooth and makes an impression of the area to be restored. The dentist then places a temporary covering over the prepared tooth. The 3D scan is sent to a dental laboratory, which creates the dental restoration. At the next appointment, the dentist cements the restoration into the prepared cavity and adjusts it as needed.
Advanced Dental Technology
Using the most advanced dental technology possible is just as important as staying up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques. Because our practice is dedicated to providing you with the safest and most convenient treatment options available, we utilize advanced digital X-ray technology in our office.
Digital X-rays provide several advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental photos, and expose patients to less radiation than traditional X-ray technology.
Our practice is focused on making your dental experience as comfortable as possible. At your next appointment, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about our digital X-ray technology.
You know the importance of prevention when it comes to your dental health, and we’re always looking for new, improved ways to help you achieve a healthy smile for life. While X-rays provide valuable information, they don’t give a complete view of everything that is going on inside your mouth. With the use of an intraoral camera, we can see every aspect of your teeth and mouth with incredible detail, uncovering cracked teeth, plaque deposits, cavities next to fillings, and excessive wear. When we can discover oral problems early on, your treatment is much less invasive and much more cost effective.
Our intraoral camera is small, about the size of the mirror we use during your regular hygiene appointments. You probably wouldn’t even notice we’re using it, except that with the intraoral camera, you have the opportunity to see everything we see on a monitor. This is a great tool to help you become more informed about your dental health, as it gives you a clear understanding of your teeth’s condition, and it allows you to make a more informed decision regarding your treatment options.
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