A preventive dentistry program is truly a cooperative effort by both our patients and dentists to preserve the patient’s natural dentition 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. Prevention continues in our dentist’s office as our team works to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health. Prevention includes regular X-rays, dental exams and cleanings. Fluoride and sealants are also great preventive treatments, which help protect the teeth. Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy, confident, beautiful smile.
Dental X-Rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without X-Rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental X-Rays may reveal:
Abscesses or cysts
Cancerous and non-cancerous tumours
Decay between the teeth
Poor tooth and root positions
Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental X-Rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of X-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources. Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. At our office, we take the necessary precautions to limit your exposure to radiation when taking dental X-rays. We use lead apron shields to protect your body and also modern, fast film that reduces exposure time.
How often should dental X-rays be taken?
The need for dental X-rays depends on your individual needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary X-rays based on your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease. A full mouth series of dental X-rays is recommended for new patients and is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing X-rays (X-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect any new dental problems.
Dental Exams & Cleanings
At your 1st dental visit, a complete dental exam will be done by one of our dentists. At that time and at following regular check-up exams, your dentist and assistant may include:
Diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): to find decay, tumours, cysts, bone loss and tooth positions.
Oral cancer screening: to check your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Gum disease evaluation: to check your gums and bone around your teeth for any signs of periodontal (gum) disease.
Examination of tooth surface: to check for decay with special dental instruments.
Examination of existing restorations: to check your fillings, crowns, veneers etc.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Your professional dental cleaning appointment at Coast Dental Centre will include a dental exam by the dentist and dental assistant and:
Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has formed on the tooth and will be firmly attached. Calculus forms above and below the gum line, and can be removed with appropriate 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 produces toxins that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease and can affect your general health!
Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
Flouride treatment to complete dental cleaning.
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.
Fluoride works in two ways:
Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We gain topical fluoride by using a fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dentists and dental hygienists generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.
Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years. It is very important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental assistant may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
Recent history of dental decay.
Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.
Inadequate exposure to fluorides.
Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.
Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit our team at Coast Dental Center regularly.
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.
Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits.
Reasons for Sealants:
Children and teenagers – As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16.
Adults – Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions.
Baby teeth – Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and child is cavity prone.
What do Sealants involve?
Sealants are easily applied by our dentists and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth. The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light. Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.
A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal at Coast Dental Center. Your home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. It starts at home by being mindful of your sugar intake and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with a CDA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to ask our dentists or dental assistants whether it’s right for you.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing cleans spaces and prevents plaque colonies from building up.
Other dental aids may be recommended by our dentists or dental assistants:
rubber tip stimulators
If you have any questions or concerns regarding Preventative Dentistry or want to make an appointment contact us today!