Preventive Services

Routine cleaning and examination

A cleaning is done on a 3, 4, or 6 month schedule. Ultrasonics, hand instrumentations, and polishing are used to clean teeth of buildup, plaque, and stains. If it is determined you require more than 2 cleanings a year, your hygienist and dentist will make that recommendation. At this time an exam will also be done to determine any changes with your teeth or oral tissues since your last visit. It is important to keep these appointments for healthy teeth, bone, gums, and oral cancer screenings so that any changes can be noted and needed treatment is promptly completed.

Periodontal Maintenance

A cleaning is usually done 3-4 times a year after your initial periodontal treatment has been completed. This is for patients with periodontal disease or bone loss. These cleanings help keep your bone and gums healthier and help prevent further bone loss around teeth by removing any calculus and plaque.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, oral mucosa, and gums will be checked for any signs of oral cancer. Most cases of oral cancer are linked to cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol use, but using both poses a much higher risk. HPV (human papillomavirus sexually transmitted HPV 16 type), age (over 40), sun exposure (on your lips), and a diet low in fruits and vegetables can all play a role in oral cancer development. We check every patient at their initial exam and recall examinations for oral cancer.

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride is the most effective agent for prevention of cavities. We recommend children get a fluoride application during their routine cleaning appointments. Although most people receive fluoride from drinking water, it is still recommended to have topical application. Fluoride applications are recommended for those with deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth, poor oral hygiene, frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake, inadequate saliva flow, and a history of dental caries or cavities, or inadequate exposure to fluoride in water.

Sealants

This is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth with deep pits and grooves. They protect the decay-prone areas from plaque and bacteria that cause cavities. They can protect the teeth for many years, but they will need to be checked for chipping and wear at regular dental visits. Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your sealants.

Oral Hygiene Instructions

What is the correct way to brush my teeth?

Brush your teeth at least twice a day, morning and night. Place the brush at a 45 degree angle on the tooth and use a small, circular motion. Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth. You should brush for a minimum of 2 minutes each time. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and buildup that may cause bad breath.

How do I know if I'm flossing properly?

The best way to clean between the teeth is to floss daily. It helps to disrupt plaque that cause cavities, gingivitis, and bone disease. Take some floss and wrap it around your fingers, leaving about 2 inches of floss between the fingers. Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, inserting it between your teeth, curving it into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Move the floss gently up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth. It is important to rinse with water thoroughly after brushing and flossing.