Each patient that is new to our office receives a comprehensive exam. At this appointment, we review your medical history and medication list. We chart all of your teeth, restorations, and decay. We do an oral cancer screening, a periodontal screening, a TMJ screening and assess your overall dental health. We also take intraoral pictures to help you see what we see. This is just another way we involve you in the treatment process.
In our office, we have digital x-rays. These are not only a valuable educational tool, but also a way to take necessary dental radiographs with less radiation. In fact, digital x-rays have been shown to have 90% less radiation that traditional dental x-rays. They can also be viewed on a large screen to help explain dental conditions and pathology to you, the patient.
Adult and Child Cleanings
When you have a dental prophylaxis at our office, you will experience a thorough but gentle cleaning, appropriate home care instructions, a periodontal screening exam and an oral cancer screening exam. We want you to leave with cleaner teeth, and also an education on how to keep your mouth and entire body healthy. We recommend that adults with healthy gums have a cleaning every 6 months, and the same for children starting around age 2. Some adults may need to have more frequent cleanings based on their periodontal health.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer is a serious problem that is on the rise. Each time you visit our office for an exam and cleaning you receive an oral cancer screening. At this screening, we inspect your lips, cheeks, gums, tongue and throat for any suspicious sores or bumps. If we suspect something is not right, we will send you to a specialist to have the area biopsied. Oral cancer can be treatable if detected early, and we consider it our mission to detect anything out of the ordinary.
Fluoride makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before the damage is even visible. In our office, we use topical fluoride varnishes, usually during a cleaning appointment. For patients with a high risk of cavities, we may prescribe a special toothpaste for daily home use, or a gel to be applied with or without a mouth tray.
A dental sealant is a thin plastic film painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent cavities. Studies have shown that sealants can be 100% effective in protecting these surfaces from decay. Everyone can benefit from sealants, but they are usually applied on the newly erupted teeth of children – these are the teeth most susceptible to decay.
Custom NightGuards (for those who grind their teeth – “bruxism”)
Bruxism is the technical term for grinding and clenching of the teeth that may cause facial pain. In many patients, this occurs at night when they are sleeping. We can make a plastic mouth appliance, such as a night guard, that’s worn to absorb the force of biting. This appliance can prevent future damage to the teeth and helps change the patient’s destructive behavior.