Preventive dentistry is the most effective way to keep your teeth healthy and is an easy way to save four things:
- Your teeth
- The supporting bone structure
The goal is to prevent problems before they begin, avoiding emergency procedures. Healthy teeth benefit not only your mouth but the well-being of the whole body. Oral disease is associated with body diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease and pregnancy complications. These are the most common co-factors, to name a few, though there are many others. Treating the underlying medical condition is necessary to successfully managing oral disease.
Two methods to keep teeth all your lifetime:
- First, the American Dental Association recommends flossing daily and brushing your teeth for two minutes at least two times a day. For fresh-smelling breath, remember to brush your tongue. This keeps your mouth healthy and clean by removing the bacteria that causes dental plaque. Use fluoridated toothpaste and a soft brush, preferably a powered toothbrush as studies suggest powered brushes remove more bacteria. Replace you brush every three months or more frequently if you have been ill. Rinse you brush with hot water after each use and allow to dry to reduce the number of germs on your brush.
- Secondly, maintaining your smile requires professional dental care by visiting Dr. Riehl regularly for check-ups and professional teeth cleanings. The Riehl practice works hard to provide complete dental care for you and your family.
Professional Preventative Dental Care
Routine dental visits are an important part of maintaining oral health. They check for problems that you may not feel or see.
- Oral cancer screening is an important part of you exam because any type of cancer can be life threatening without early detection and treatment. For more information, see this link.
- Prevent tooth decay and reduce sensitivity with the removal of decay causing bacteria, topical agents like fluoride or calcium phosphate paste, application of plastic resin sealants to protect the deep grooves sealing out decay causing bacteria.
- Tooth Decay – Caries, or tooth decay, is a preventable disease that may negatively impact your quality of life. When your teeth and gums are consistently exposed to large amounts of starches and sugars, acids may form that begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Carbohydrate-rich foods, such as candy, cookies, soft drinks and even fruit juices, make the acid attack worse. The resulting damage creates tooth decay. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque forms acids that can damage the mineral structure of teeth, with tooth decay resulting.
- Fluoride – Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Regularly drinking water treated with fluoride and brushing and flossing regularly ensures significantly lower cavities. We can evaluate the level of fluoride in a primary drinking water source and recommend fluoride supplements (usually in tablets or drops), if necessary.
- Sensitive Teeth – Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages and cause discomfort or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and irritating nerve endings. Just breathing cold air can be uncomfortable for those with extremely sensitive teeth. To better understand sensitivity see this short video.
- Sealants – The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean out bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way. Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments.
- Replacing worn restorations is an important part of preventive dentistry. Cracked, stained, separated fillings are often unhealthy, weakening the tooth and risking fracture or new cavities.
- Dry mouth
- Whiten teeth by removing surface stains through professional cleaning or tooth whitening
- Avoid costly and extensive dental procedures by early detection, keeping treatment conservative.
- Shorten time spent in our office with less treatment necessary.
- Patients in orthodontic treatment particularly need regular dental visits to remove bacteria caught in places toothbrushes can’t reach. Untreated gingivitis and cavities are a common occurrence. A bite that does not meet properly (a malocclusion) can be inherited, or some types may be acquired. Some causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth or misaligned jaws. Accidents or developmental issues, such as finger or thumb sucking over an extended period of time, may cause malocclusions.
- Using current technology like, lasers is important. The DIAGNOdent Laser Cavity Detector detects cavities for early intervention, and the CO2 Laser treats periodontal disease and is used during oral surgery.
- Check-ups are an opportunity to hear about new treatments that might benefit your smile.