Rachel Johnson dentist

Preventative Care

One of the most misunderstood aspects of dentistry is the preventative aspect. Usually a patient comes into the office with pretty, white healthy teeth and no uncomfortable feelings in his or her mouth. When decay (a cavity) is found and the patient has not had sensitivity, our staff has achieved our goal for preventative dentistry.

Detection of decay is not always easy, especially between the teeth, which is why diagnostic x-rays are necessary. When sensitivity or pain is noticed and there is no prevention, it is too late. Pain is usually the indicator that decay has grown into the center of the tooth and reached the nerve. At this point, the only option available is a root canal or extraction. After a root canal, the tooth needs to be crowned, or if extracted needs to be replaced with an implant or bridge.

When a nerve is removed, the life and integrity of the tooth is affected. The best way to prevent this is for routine preventative dental prophylaxis appointments, which are normally every six months, but can be every three to four months. Our goal here is to catch any dental issues at an early stage in order to prevent or delay long term effects with minimally invasive procedures, such as fillings, fluoride treatments, or sealants.

Routine preventative dental prophylaxis appointments consist of scaling (removing soft and hard deposits, known as plaque and tartar) and polishing teeth. This appointment should be carried out regularly in order to prevent and control periodontal and other diseases, as well as monitor and detect any decay. During a cleaning appointment, the hygienist will examine the tongue, gums, teeth, and all other areas in the mouth. The hygienist will also measure and record the attachment of the gums to your teeth (probing), in order to determine periodontal (gum) disease.

X-rays will be taken to see any decay that is between the teeth, under an existing restoration, or just not in plain view of the naked eye. The dentist will do an exam that consists of screening for oral cancer, checking for decay, then checking notes and viewing x-rays to decide what, if any, treatment needs to be performed. Any finding or concerns will then be discussed and the best treatment for each individual patient will be scheduled.

services
Periodontal Care

Advantages include:

Keep your teeth a lifetime
Protection from future discomfort and infection
More affordable dental care
Fresher breath
Improved appearance for patients and their family

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Your gum tissue is not attached to the teeth as high as it may seem. There is a very shallow v-shaped crevice called a sulcus between the tooth and gums. Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket; generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket.

Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease. Gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums. However, gingivitis may lead to more serious, destructive forms of periodontal disease called periodontitis.

More importantly, studies have shown an increased risk of heart disease and stroke in patients with periodontal disease. In addition, diabetics with gum disease are twice as likely as those without it to die from either heart disease or kidney failure. Furthermore, expectant mothers with periodontal disease are seven times more likely to deliver prematurely. It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why routine dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important.

Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good oral hygiene at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule routine dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.