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Preventative

Dental Cleaning

A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Most dental cleanings take only between 25 and 30 minutes. Cleanings should be performed every six months to prevent excessive plaque buildup. Plaque left untreated can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay. A routine dental cleaning should include scaling, root planing and polishing.

Halitosis

Halitosis is sophisticated word for “bad breath.” Depending on the cause, bad breath may strike on occasional or may be a more persistent condition. The most common cause of bad breath is bacteria. Because the mouth is moist and warm, it creates perfect conditions for the millions of bacteria that live in the mouth. In fact, approximately 80% of bad breath is caused by something in the mouth.

Bad breath caused by bacteria in the mouth can easily be treated. Brushing your teeth, tongue and gums after meals as well as flossing and rinsing with mouthwash will usually take care of the problem. Regular visits to the dentist should be made for dental examinations and for professional teeth and gum cleaning.

Some types of bad breath, such as “morning mouth,” are considered fairly normal and are not usually health concerns. However, persistent bad breath may be a sign of more serious problems with the gums and teeth.

Bad breath may be caused by the following:

  • Poor dental hygiene – poor oral hygiene can leave food particles to decay in the mouth
  • Infections in the mouth such as periodontal (gum) disease
  • Respiratory-tract infections such as throat infections, sinus infections, lung infections
  • External agents including foods such as garlic, onions, and coffee, as well as cigarettes and chewing tobacco
  • Dry mouth caused by salivary gland problems or by breathing through the mouth
  • Systemic illnesses such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, sinus disease, reflux disease and others

Call our office promptly if you have bad breath with painful, swollen gums that bleed easily or loose teeth. We will perform a physical examination of your mouth to determine the cause. If we discover that systematic problems are the cause, we may refer you to your family physician. In severe cases of gum disease, we may recommend a doctor specialized to treat gum disease called a periodontist.

Velscope Oral Cancer Screen

Velscope is a quick, painless exam for the early detection of oral abnormalities that could lead to cancer. The key is early detection, before precancerous cells are visible to the unaided eye, and while they can still be addressed at their most easily treatable stage. To learn more about the Velscope technology go to www.leddental.com.

Sealants

Sealants are used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits that accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn’t brush, but because they’re too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These will develop cavities over time. To prevent this problem, the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.

Nightguards and Athletic Mouthguards

Custom designed mouthguards and nightguards are made of flexible plastic and molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouthguards are recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during physical activity and sports such as boxing, football, basketball, or other activities where your mouth may get hit. In addition, these guards protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Nightguards are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night as a way to protect their teeth and bite.

If you have decided a guard is right for you, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth which will then be sent to a lab to make a custom fit guard for you. In most cases you can choose from a variety of colors and styles for your guard. On average, guards last between 3 and 10 years.

Oral Hygiene Care

Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being.

Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop.

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. These include:

  • Brush thoroughly twice a day and floss daily
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks between meals
  • Use dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste
  • Rinse with a fluoride mouth rinse if your dentist advises you to
  • Make sure that your children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if they live in a non-fluoridated area
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months

The following are indications of good oral hygiene:

  • Your teeth are clean and free of debris
  • Gums are pink and do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss
  • Bad breath is not a constant problem