A preventive program is a cooperative effort by the patient, dentist, and dental staff to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions.
Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. It is continued in the dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health.
Prevention also includes regular dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Sealants and fluoride are also great preventive treatments that help protect the teeth.
Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy, confident, beautiful smile.
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
|Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
|Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
|Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
|Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
|Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
|Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
|Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
Professional dental care is a crucial part of your child's oral health. Be sure to schedule your child's first appointment by the time their first teeth erupt, or before their first birthday. Scheduling regular appointments allows us to monitor the development of their oral health. Developmental problems are easier to treat in the beginning stages. As your child grows older, we can establish a strong foundation for their oral health, one that will ensure a lifetime of healthy, beautiful teeth.
Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.
A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.
Your periodontal (gum) tissues are just as important as your teeth. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. Periodontal disease is the result of an infection in the gum tissues, connective ligaments, and eventually the alveolar bone.
The disease is characterized by gums that are swollen, red, and tend to bleed during brushing and flossing. Luckily, periodontal disease is easy to prevent and treat if it is caught early enough. If we notice signs of advanced periodontal disease, we may recommend a scaling and root planing procedure. The goal is to return your gums to a pink, healthy state.
Contact sports or sports with moving objects can be a very dangerous environment for your teeth. One extreme tackle or a ball hit into the mouth can do serious, sometimes permanent, damage to the jaw and mouth. If you participate in physical activities that put you at risk for dental trauma or injury, we strongly recommend a custom made sports mouthguard.
The terms "mouthguard" and "night guard" refer to the same basic appliance, a plastic covering that is worn over the teeth for protection. There are three major types of mouthguards: stock protectors, boil and bite protectors, and custom-fit protectors. The first two options are store-bought and inexpensive. However, they are usually bulky, uncomfortable, and less effective than the custom-fit alternative. At Jason Widner DMD Family Dentistry, we specialize in custom-fit mouthguards because we believe they are the ideal solution, whether you need one for physical activities or to combat bruxism.
Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMJ is characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears. The vast majority of TMJ sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist can effectively treat.
The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with every day life. The comfort and general well being of the patient is at the heart of the dental practice, so pain relief is the first consideration of the dentist. The dentist is able to test, diagnose, and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMJ disorder.
Sleep apnea is a serious, sometimes fatal medical disorder that affects around 10% of American men over the age of 40, and 6% of American women of the same age. Sleep apnea sufferers completely stop breathing during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times in a single night. Normal breathing ceases because the airway becomes obstructed, causing a serious reduction of airflow to the lungs.
There are a number of dental devices that can be used to alleviate this condition. The goal of most of these devices is to separate the jaws and push them forward slightly.
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