GENERAL & PREVENTIVE DENTAL CARE
What is preventive dentistry?
Preventive dentistry is the modern way of helping you keep a healthy mouth. It helps you to keep your teeth, and means you need to have less dental treatment. The two main causes of tooth loss are decay and gum disease. The better you prevent or deal with these two problems, the more chance you will have of keeping your teeth for life.
When the dental team and patient work together, this can help to prevent the need for treatment - especially fillings and extractions. Your dental team may recommend a course of treatment to get your mouth into good condition, and then work out a ‘maintenance plan' to help you keep it that way.
Can everybody benefit from preventive dentistry?
Yes. Preventive dentistry will benefit anyone with some of their own teeth. People who don't have any teeth can also benefit, because conditions such as mouth cancer and denture stomatitis can be spotted during regular visits to the dental team and then treated. It is excellent for children and young people, but it is never too late to start.
What is involved?
Your dental team will first check your teeth and gums, and talk to you about any treatment you need. The main aim is to help you get your mouth really healthy. In a healthy mouth it is unlikely that decay or gum disease will continue to be a problem.
- The dental team will thoroughly remove all plaque and tartar from your teeth. This is often called a ‘scale and polish'.
- The dental team will show you the best ways to brush, and how to clean in between your teeth using interdental brushes or floss, to remove the bacterial ‘plaque' which forms constantly on your teeth. When you eat or drink something sugary, the bacteria in the plaque turn the sugar into acid, which may cause tooth decay. Plaque can also cause gum inflammation (swelling and soreness) if it is not regularly and thoroughly removed. The hard tartar (or ‘calculus') which builds up on the teeth also starts off as plaque.
- You will be told which oral care products are the best ones for you to use.
- The dental team will probably talk to you about your diet, and any habits you have such as smoking and drinking.
- Your dentist will also make sure that all your fillings are in good condition and that there are no rough edges to make cleaning difficult.
Will my dental team recommend treatment?
A ‘preventive dentist' will often recommend treatment to strengthen a tooth to make sure it does not break. For example, if the dental team see that a tooth is cracked, or is weak and in danger of breaking, they may advise a new filling or perhaps a crown or ‘onlay' to protect it. This is always better than waiting until the tooth breaks, and then dealing with it as an emergency.
CHECKUPS & CLEANINGS
By visiting Smiley Dental every six months, patients of all ages are able to keep their smiles whole and healthy for life. We are happy to offer preventive dentistry services for patients of all ages and stages of dental development. Our dentists and team have years of experience working with young patients to promote a lifetime of oral health and build positive associations with the dentist for children. At every checkup, we capture digital x-rays and carefully examine the smile screening for signs of common concerns including tooth decay, gum disease, bruxism (grinding and clenching teeth), temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), and oral cancer. Next, you will receive a thorough cleaning which will systematically remove all plaque and tartar from the hardest to access parts of teeth. Finally, one of our knowledgeable dentists will carefully review the findings, offer recommendations for the most effective homecare, and will partner with patients to create a plan for ongoing care.
People whose teeth have been subjected to years of wear because of too much grinding and acid reflux, Bite Reclamation are a procedure practiced which is done to change the vertical dimension of the teeth. Patients have a shorter and closed appearance after successful completion of this treatment. This is easiest of all the treatments and only a single visit is required and it will be done. To fill small cavities or protect the exposed root of the tooth, this treatment can be used. This process can be used as an alternative to, or as a replacement of silver or amalgam fillings.
Dental sealants offer patients of all ages a fast, effective way to prevent tooth decay and keep teeth strong, whole, and healthy. The process is quick and completely painless. We simply paint the liquid sealant material over the top of teeth where it seeps into the smallest pits and grooves on the biting surfaces. Then, we harden the sealant into position using a curing light. Once in place, sealants are completely clear, and with proper care, they will remain in place protecting teeth for years.
Dental Braces and Dental Bridges are other popular procedures, where the first option is used for correcting misshapen or crooked teeth, improve irregular bite, jaw joint disorders, or help in the proper positioning of the jaw. Dental Bridges on the other hand are also every so often called fixed partial dentures and are mainly used to close a gap between the teeth or replace missing teeth. The other procedures which are popular and frequently used is Dental Crowns, Dentures, Enamel Contouring and Shaping, Inlays/On lays, Gum Grafts, implants, dental veneers, teeth whitening and repairing crooked teeth, etc. Now as a customer you have to decide which process is required by you and will suit you the best. The ultimate goal is to enhance the appearance and not to have artificial looking plastic smile.
NIGHTGUARDS FOR BRUXISM
Bruxism, the unconscious clenching and grinding of teeth at night, may seem like a relatively harmless habit, but without treatment, patients can have excessive dental wear, chips, and cracks. Most patients only experience bruxism during sleep, so it’s difficult to adjust behaviour to change the habits. Luckily, we offer a comfortable, effective solution – night guards. Customized to fit individual smiles, these guards place a physical barrier between teeth allowing them to brush smoothly against the opposing teeth without causing damage.
There are a number of benefits that these night guards provide, some of which are mentioned below:
- Get immediate relief and have a great good night’s sleep, every night.
- Get rid of facial and jaw pain, headaches once and for all.
- Help alleviate jaw, facial pain and headaches
- There are harmful effects which result from tooth clenching and grinding, night guards will protect.
- The night guards that we provide will fit perfect as they will be tailor made.
- All are made by manufactured in the USA by greatly expert dental technicians.
- You won’t have any reason to complaint as the night guards are non bulky and stable.
- They will outlast any store bought dental guards as they are stronger and more durable.
- We provide cost effective and convenient night guards which are customized to serve your specific needs.
MOUTHGUARDS & SPORTSGUARDS
If you’re an athlete, or the parent of one, don’t forget athletes need to wear a mouth guard during any athletic competition where smiles could come in contact with other players, hard surfaces, or sports equipment. Many patients know this means sports like hockey and football, but we also recommend sports guards for swimmers and cyclists. We create custom, comfortable mouth guards that offer superior protection compared with the bulky, one size fits all varieties available in sporting goods stores.
The matter of the fact is that a player should use a mouth guard if he or she is a participant in any sports that requires the contact with another player or an ingredient of the sport. Some of these sports can be as varied as lacrosse, rugby, soccer, martial arts, polo, hockey, basketball, water football and boxing. Even unlikely sports like bicycling, gymnastics, and tennis can injure an open mouth or teeth and hence these players should also use mouth guards.
We make these mouth guards from a type of plastic that is resilient but at the same time not extremely hard and is able to cover the sports practitioner's gums, teeth, and bones. The teeth, lips and cheeks are protected when the guard is worn. It actually absorbs the force of the blows that may come to the mouth or teeth. The custom made mouth guards that we provide are the best as they are able to offer the best protection to whoever uses them. What we will provide you will be the best in the class and will have a great fit that will be comfortable also.
ORAL CANCER SCREENINGS
Of the patients who are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, less than half will survive more than five years after their diagnosis. The truly unfortunate part of this statistic is that, when diagnosed in early stages, oral cancer responds well to treatment. With startling statistics like these, it’s no surprise that the Oral Cancer Foundation recommends early diagnosis as the best way to diminish the number of annual oral cancer related deaths. At Smiley Dental, we include screening for oral cancer as part of every six month dental checkup.
Generally speaking, screening is a process through which doctors look for cancer before there are any symptoms of the disease. The purpose of screening is to find cancers earlier, when they are more effectively treated. Indeed, by the time symptoms of cancer appear, there is a good chance that the cancer has already started to spread. Through screening, doctors can gain valuable information about which people are more likely to be diagnosed with particular kinds of cancer. We can study the activities and environments of different people and try to determine which activities and environments are associated with different cancers. Patients should be careful to remember that if a doctor is screening for cancer, this does not mean you have it nor does it mean s/he believes you have cancer. Screening occurs when there are no obvious symptoms of cancer.
More specifically, oral cancer screening involves looking for signs of cancer in the lips, oral cavity, and oropharynx. In addition to the lips, oral cancer may be found in these areas:
- The front of the tongue
- The gums
- The lining of the cheeks
- The bottom of the mouth, under the tongue
- The palate at the front of the mouth (hard palate)
- Behind the wisdom teeth
- The pharynx
- The back of the tongue
- The palate at the back of the mouth (soft palate)
- The side and walls of the throat
- The tonsils.
As such, oral cancer screening involves diagnostic tests that screen these regions. During routine medical or dental check-ups, your doctor or dentist will start by searching for lesions in the oral cavity and oropharynx. Oral cancers usually start in the thing, fat cells that line these oral regions. Abnormal white patches of cells (leukoplakia) and abnormal red patches of cells (erythroplakia) that form on the mucous membranes may become cancerous; so if your doctor finds these lesions the tissue will need to be tested.
There are four basic methods of testing oral cells to determine if they are cancerous.
- Toluidine blue stain
- Fluroescense staining
- Exfoliative cytology
- Brush biopsy
For young patients who are still developing their primary or adult teeth, we may recommend an ingested fluoride supplement. It’s important that patients have adequate fluoride to develop strong, healthy teeth. Once teeth erupt, topical fluoride is necessary to keep the tooth enamel strong and free from decay. In most cases, fluoridated toothpastes and mouthwashes are adequate to support healthy smiles, but for others, we may recommend professional-grade topical fluoride applications as part of six month dental checkups.
Infants usually start teething when they are about 6 months of age. From then on, they keep growing new teeth every few months. After about the age of 6 years, children start losing their baby teeth and the permanent teeth start to come in. During these years, getting sufficient fluoride is crucial so that the teeth will stay decay free.
While earlier it was believed that only infants and younger children really needed this additional boost, recent studies have shown that adults can benefit from it too. Getting a professional treatment done is especially important for those individuals who have certain health conditions.
These could include:
- Gum disease: When you have gum disease or gingivitis, your teeth and their roots get exposed to the bacteria in your mouth, increasing the odds of tooth decay.
- History of cavities: If you find yourself going to the dentist at least once every year to treat a cavity, the additional fluoride could help.
- Dry mouth conditions: If you do not produce sufficient saliva, it is harder for the food particles to get washed away so they stay on the teeth for a longer amount of time.
The lack of saliva also obstructs the neutralization of the acids. Both of these processes together promote tooth decay.
In all three of the above cases, fluoride treatments can be tremendously beneficial.
Why wait till tooth decay sets in before going to see your dentist? It is far better to take appropriate preventive measures.
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