Preserve Your Smile’s Health with Preventive Dentistry
It’s certainly true that there are many amazing restorative dentistry procedures now available — from natural-looking tooth-colored fillings to same-day crowns to dentures (way better than grandpa’s!) to dental implants. But while these procedures are critical to saving your smile and your health when you need them, nothing is as important as preventive dentistry.
Excellent preventive dentistry is the best thing you can do to keep your smile naturally healthy for life. It will save you from costly, uncomfortable, and time-consuming restorative procedures. If you have children, it’s essential to model good preventive dentistry practices: both how to take care of your teeth at home and the importance of twice-yearly dental visits.
Preventive Care at Home
How conscientious are you about using proper brushing and flossing technique at home? When you do something every day, it’s easy to get complacent and just go through the motions. But to keep your teeth and gums healthy and disease-free, it’s essential to brush and floss correctly.
- Brush your teeth at least twice every day for two minutes each time (use a timer if you must). Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and use short back and forth or circular strokes. Be sure to reach all parts of your teeth: the fronts, chewing surfaces, and backs. Always use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Medium- and hard-bristled brushes may damage your enamel and gums.
- Replace your toothbrush every few months or whenever the bristles get frayed. A worn-out toothbrush won’t clean your teeth well!
- While we appreciate enthusiasm for oral hygiene, it’s possible to go overboard by brushing too hard. You want to be thorough, but gentle. Using too much pressure will not only get rid of bacteria and plaque, but it will remove tooth enamel too! And that makes you susceptible to sensitivity and decay. You may also end up damaging the gums and cause them to recede from the teeth.
- Floss at least once every day. Use about 18 inches of floss each time, wrapping it around your middle fingers and leaving an inch or two to work with. Keep the floss against the teeth as you go up and down between them. This removes stuck food particles as well as plaque and bacteria clinging to the enamel. Curve the floss around the base of each tooth and gently clean under the gumline. Switch to a fresh section of floss every time you move to a new tooth.
Preventive Care at the Dental Office
Visiting us at Dores Dental every six months is just as important as taking good care of your teeth and gums at home. A dental visit is much more than just a teeth cleaning. We examine the health of your entire mouth, looking for decay, disease, and other problems.
- One of our hygienists will give your mouth a professional cleaning. We have the expertise and special instruments that enable us to remove damaging plaque and tartar that’s impossible to reach at home. We can even get below the gumline.
- Dr. Dores or Dr. Kim will thoroughly examine your teeth, gums, and mouth as a whole. We can see problems that you may not be aware of, like early signs of gum disease. We will screen you for oral cancer and examine your neck, scalp, the floor of your mouth, and your salivary glands.
- We may take digital X-rays. These expose you to far less radiation than conventional X-rays, and enable us to see issues not visible to the naked eye. X-rays are useful for detecting hidden cavities, abscesses, impacted teeth, cysts and tumors, and jawbone problems. You will be able to see your digital X-rays on one of our computer screens, where they can be enlarged or sharpened as needed.
- If you have young kids, you may want to consider sealants for their teeth. A sealant is a painted-on coating that protects the back molars from cavity-causing acids. This painless procedure has been proven to reduce cavities in children and is effective for several years.
- Fluoride works with calcium and phosphorus to strengthen teeth and make them resistant to decay. You get some fluoride from most municipal water supplies and from toothpastes and other dental products. At Dores Dental, we offer fluoride treatments to ensure you and your family are getting enough of this vital mineral.