Over time bacterial material called plaque collects on and between your teeth. If this plaque is allowed to sit undisturbed for a period of time it hardens and becomes tartar. In its simplest form a dental cleaning consists of using an instrument called a scaler to remove the bacterial plaque and tartar from the teeth, flossing and polishing then follows.
Your hygienist is specially trained to evaluate your mouth and provide the cleaning that is customized to your needs. A dental cleaning is essential routine maintenance to maintain a healthy mouth usually provided minimally every 6 months.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring ion that can be found in most lakes and streams and springs. For the past 70 years fluoride has been added to most public water supplies to help prevent dental decay or cavities.
As children the fluoride that we receive from our drinking water, foods or other sources incorporates into our un-erupted teeth making their outer surface, enamel, harder and more resistant to decay. Once we have all our teeth, we can only benefit from fluoride topically from toothpaste, mouth rinse, or professionally applied fluoride from your dentist. While a healthy low sugar diet is key, fluoride is an excellent tool in the prevention of dental decay.
Oral Cancer Screening
Provided once a year, usually in concert with your dental cleaning or exam, the oral cancer screening is an important tool in the early detection of oral cancer and other pathologies. This screening is provided by the dentist and includes visual inspection of the structures of the head and neck with focus on the oral cavity. During this screening the dentist will also palpate or feel around the floor of the mouth, salivary glands and lymph nodes as well as the thyroid.
Good diet, brushing and flossing are key in the prevention of dental decay. Sealants are a great addition for prevention. Food and bacteria get trapped in the grooves in the chewing surface of back teeth. The grooves are cleaned out, inspected for decay and sealed with a resin which stops food impaction, helping to prevent cavities.
We have many different brands and styles of electric toothbrushes, water flossers, prescription strength toothpastes and whitening products to enhance your home oral care routines. Ask your dental provider about their favorite products at your next visit!
Dental radiographs are images of your teeth and the surrounding supporting structures. X-rays allow us to see tooth decay, bone loss, un-erupted teeth and pathology like cysts, and tumors. Dental x-rays provide especially important information for detecting and preventing the progression of disease.
Once or twice a year, the dentist will do a full evaluation of your X-rays, a clinical evaluation of your teeth and gums, tongue, cheeks and pharynx as well as an oral cancer screening. These exams are key in the detection of decay, gum disease, and other issues.