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Preventative Dentistry

Prevention is Key – Routine dental exams & Hygiene visits twice per year

An ounce of prevention…The best way to maintain a healthy mouth and to save money on dental care is to have routine comprehensive dental exams. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that adults and children have a dental exam approximately every six months.

What is done in a routine dental exam?

At a routine exam (dental checkup) we examine the outside of your mouth (including the TMJ or jaw joint), and the inside of your mouth. We check to make sure that the tissues in your mouth are healthy, and we examine your gums to check for gum disease and/or periodontal disease. And of course, we check your teeth to make sure that all of your existing crowns and fillings are intact, and to make sure that you don’t have any new cavities present. And as part of our intraoral exam, we perform an oral cancer screening.

A Cleaning Every Six Months is Critical

The ADA recommends that you have a dental cleaning and exam every six months.

Brushing alone isn’t enough

Many people believe that they don’t need to have dental cleanings because they brush and floss their teeth regularly. And others think that they can skip brushing and flossing and that having their dental cleaning will “fix everything.” In fact, both assumptions are wrong.

As much as you brush and floss at home, you will get a buildup of plaque and hardened plaque (calculus) that you simply cannot remove with a toothbrush. Some people have light amounts of this type of buildup, and other people have extensive buildup. Regardless of the cause, only a professional cleaning can remove this type of debris on your teeth.

And if you don’t brush and wait until your cleaning to care for your teeth, the chronic inflammation you will likely have can lead to serious problems

What if I don’t have regular dental cleanings?

If you don’t have regular dental cleanings or if you don’t take care of your teeth in between cleanings, you may wind up losing teeth. You won’t lose teeth right away, but not caring for your teeth over a long period of time can lead to chronic inflammation and weakening of the gum tissues that hold the teeth in place. This condition is called periodontal disease (gum disease), and in many cases, it’s preventable.

Do I need x-rays at every visit?

Generally speaking, no. We do take a full set of x-rays the first time you see us as a patient, and after that we recommend a full set every 3-5 years. And although the levels of radiation used in dental x-rays are incredibly low (we use digital x-rays for the lowest exposure possible), we do need to take routine check-up x-rays when indicated.

Patients who have a history of extensive decay, or with conditions that can lead to decay such as dry mouth (xerostomia), often need x-rays more frequently than patients who have never had a cavity, and who have normal flow of saliva.

Contact us today to schedule your exam & cleaning – it’s never too late to get a fresh start with your oral home care.