We offer preventive dentistry to help kids and adults alike maintain good oral health and avoid the onset of problems like tooth decay and periodontal disease. But what does preventive dentistry involve, and when do you need treatment? In today’s blog, your Richardson and Dallas, TX, family dentist talks about why all smiles need preventive care, and the treatment options we offer. Everyone benefits from routine preventive care, and you find out why in our blog!
For kids, an initial knee-to-knee lap exam should happen with six months of the first baby tooth’s arrival. Starting at age, two, there should a be a checkup every six months. And these twice-yearly exams are necessary for older kids, teens, and adults too. The checkup is a chance for our team to take a very close look ta your smile with advanced digital x-rays and intraoral camera technology, so we can make an examination with precision and accuracy. The sooner we uncover a sign of trouble, the quicker we can offer relief before the issue can grow more complex and threaten smile stability. For example, during these procedures our team could look for indicators of decay, infection, gingivitis, and gum disease. We could screen for oral cancer too, and watch for signs of TMJ disorder and bruxism (teeth grinding). For kids, we can make sure baby teeth fall out on schedule and that permanent teeth can erupt properly to help prevent misalignment. Don’t skip these visits, be sure you see our team every six months to keep your smiles strong, healthy, and bright.
In the same general visit as a checkup is also the dental cleaning. When you brush and floss at home, this limits how much plaque can accumulate on the surfaces of your teeth. But only a dental cleaning can completely remove plaque and tartar to protect smiles from not only bad breath and teeth stains, but cavities and even gum disease. The process is simple. Our team will use an ultrasonic scaling device and a manual tool to gently break up and remove all plaque and tartar. We then polish the teeth for a smoother feel and a brighter appearance. If you have the warning signs of gingivitis and gum disease, such as sore, red gums that bleed easily, we could use a scaling and root planing to also remove buildup from the roots too, so we can either even signs of inflammation or begin managing the disease with regularly cleanings every three to four months. We also have other periodontal treatments to help manage the disease and prevent the later stage, which ah been linked to the onset of adult tooth loss.
Silver Diamine Fluoride
What if you have the early stages of demineralization, or the weakening of the enamel that could lead to tooth decay? You may not need a filling yet, but we could halt the rate of decay to protect the smile. For kids and adults alike, we could apply Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF), a special material that protects the weakened enamel to avoid the onset of a cavity. This is a unique general procedure! We typically reverse this for the side and rear teeth, as this does darken the areas with decay.
Fluoride Gel and Dental Sealants
Our team also has two unique preventive treatments to avoid the onset of a cavity in smiles of all ages. During each checkup visit, we may discuss the application if a topical fluoride gel. This mineral occurs naturally and has been shown to strengthen the outer enamel to prevent cavities. You also help by using a fluoride toothpaste when brushing teeth. Kids three and younger should use a rice-sized amount, everyone else needs a pea-sized amount. We also have dental sealants. Kids often have trouble reaching the area teeth when brushing and flossing, as do those with special needs or limited dexterity. With a sealant, we place a plastic coating on these hard-to-reach teeth, where cavities tend to form. The layer prevents food particles from being trapped on or between these teeth. The sealants take minutes to apply and can last for up to ten years in some cases, wearing away gradually with time. As they wear away, they cling the longest to the most vulnerable portions of the tooth. We can re-apply as needed too.
Oral appliance therapy means we use custom-made oral appliances, which look and fit like a simple mouthguard, to address a variety of serious oral health issues. Each one is designed and crafted based on detailed digital images we take of the smile, which we use to create a 3D computer impression. The device will fit comfortably and offer improvement for serious issues. For expel, we can treat TMJ disorder to prevent painful headaches, jaw pain, and other uncomfortable symptoms. For those who grind their teeth, this can ease tensions and put a barrier between the teeth to prevent further damage to the teeth. Our oral appliances have also helped kids, keeping airways open and avoiding restrictions that prevent good rest and cause them to act out during the day. Sleep apnea can also be addressed, as these keep airways open so teens and adults can breathe without restriction and feel more rested and alert during the day.
If you have any questions about our preventive treatment options, or if you would like to schedule a checkup and cleaning visit for you or a member of your family, then contact our team today to learn more. We want to help people of all ages in our comity maintain good oral health, and avoid painful complications that threaten the stability of their smiles.
Your Richardson, TX, Dentist Provides General Dental Care
We would like to help protect smiles of all ages from developing problems due to issues like cavities and gum disease. For more information on the best options for safeguarding smiles, then please schedule a consultation by calling the Viva Dental Family Dentistry office nearest you at (214) 337-7800 (Dallas) or (972) 437-6000 (Richardson). We want to help smiles of all ages stay free of serious oral health concerns.