Dental Exams & Cleaning
Good Oral Hygiene is important, not only for looks, but for general health as well. Poor oral hygiene can lead to a variety of dental and medical problems such as gum disease, infection, bone loss, heart disease, strokes and more. Regular check ups and cleanings can prevent these problems as well as provide you with good oral hygiene.
Dental Cleanings & Exams are recommended every 6 months.
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by Dr. Biria at this visit. This exam also includes oral cancer screening, gum disease evaluation, and evaluation of TMJ & occlusion.
Digital radiography (digital x-ray) 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 and dental hygienist detect problems easier.
Dental x-rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists 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.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Bone loss
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Decay between the teeth
- Developmental abnormalities
- Poor tooth and root positions
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
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 and dental hygienist 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 (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.
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 have been endorsed by the American Dental Association(ADA) and the United States Public Health Service as being effective in preventing pit and fissure caries. Pit and fissure caries accounts for over 80% of active caries in children.
Sealants are a form of preventative dentistry.
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.
Fluoride works in two ways:
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. Dentists and dental hygienists generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.
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. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years. It is very important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments.
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.
If you suffer from chronic, severe bad breath, also known as halitosis, it’s important to identify the cause so you can determine an effective treatment.
Halitosis has many causes, including the following:
- Tobacco use. If you smoke, quit. Your bad breath may be due to other causes, too, but tobacco use is a guarantee of bad breath. If you are ready to quit, ask your doctor or dentist for advice and support.
- What you eat, or don’t eat. Certain foods, such as garlic, contribute to bad breath, but only temporarily. Once they are absorbed into the bloodstream, the smell is expelled through the breath, but the odors remain until the body processes the food, so there’s no quick fix.
- Dry mouth. If your mouth is extremely dry, there is not enough saliva to wash away excess food particles and bacteria, which can cause an unpleasant smell if they build up on the teeth.
- infections. Bad breath that seems to have no other cause may indicate an infection elsewhere in the body. If you have chronic bad breath and your dentist rules out any oral problems, see your doctor for an evaluation. Bad breath can be a sign of a range of conditions including respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis or bronchitis, diabetes, or liver and kidney problems, so it’s important not to ignore the problem.
The best way to improve bad breath is to follow a thorough oral care routine including twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing to remove the food particles and bacteria that can cause bad breath. Mouthwashes only improve bad breath for the short term, and if you have a chronic problem, your dentist may suggest an antimicrobial rinse to help keep bacteria at bay.
Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop and is much less painful, expensive, and worrisome than treating conditions that have been allowed to progress.
In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems.
- Brushing thoroughly twice a day and flossing daily.
- Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks between meals.
- Using dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste.
- Rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse if your dentist tells you to.
- Making sure that your children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if they live in a non-fluoridated area.
Proper Brushing Technique:
- Tilt the brush at a 45° angle against the gumline and sweep or roll the brush away from the gumline.
- Gently brush the outside, inside and chewing surface of each tooth using short back-and-forth strokes.
- Gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath.
There are a great many toothbrush types available. Electric toothbrushes are generally recommended by dentists because electric brushes are much more effective than manual brushes. The vibrating or rotary motion helps to easily dislodge plaque and remove food particles from around the gums and teeth. The same results can be obtained using a manual brush, but much more effort is needed to do so.
Manual toothbrushes should be replaced every three months because worn bristles become ineffective over time. Soft bristle toothbrushes are far less damaging to gum tissue than the medium and hard bristle varieties. In addition, an appropriate sized ADA approved toothbrush should be chosen to allow proper cleaning to all the teeth. Teeth should ideally be brushed after each meal, or minimally twice each day.
Proper Flossing Technique:
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
- Use about 18” of floss, leaving an inch or two to work with. Wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2-3” of floss between the hands.
- Gently insert floss between teeth and curve the floss around each tooth and guide under the gumline.
- Be sure to clean beneath the gumline, but avoid snapping the floss on the gums.
Oral Hygiene Aids
There are numerous types of oral hygiene aids over-the-counter, and it can be difficult to determine which will provide the best benefit to your teeth. If you have any questions about these products, please ask us.