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Oral Health | Check-ups | Cleaning | Fillings | Extractions
Adequate, general dental care is a lifeline for a healthy smile. When you see your dentist at least twice a year for exams and cleanings, you will be taking important steps to maintain your smile and to detect any potential problems in their earliest stages when they are most treatable. Not only will you be working to minimize potentially harmful oral bacteria, but routine exams can even help to spot oral cancer before it has the opportunity to spread.
These general dental care appointments usually take no more than an hour and involve minimal, if any, discomfort for patients. It also gives you a chance to check in regularly with your dentist if you have any concerns or any questions. The investment of time goes a long way to protecting your smile’s longevity. A healthy mouth is truly the gateway to a healthy body.
We recommend that patients schedule routine check-ups and cleanings at least every six months. Some patients may benefit from cleanings on a more frequent schedule if they accumulate plaque or tartar more quickly than the average person. When your dentist is monitoring your smile at such regular intervals, it is easier to identify problems like a cavity or gum disease in their earliest stages, when they can be treated less invasively. Additionally, your dentist will screen you for signs of oral cancer at each of these visits, and oral cancer has a good prognosis when it is diagnosed before it has the opportunity to spread. Regular oral cancer exam screenings offer your best chance to catch this disease early and get treatment.
You may think that if you’re brushing twice a day and flossing daily, it should suffice for keeping your smile healthy. Unfortunately, however, oral bacteria found in plaque and tartar can still accumulate in your mouth despite daily oral hygiene practices. It can be hard for you to reach all of the surfaces of your teeth, particularly along the gumline and in the rear of the jaw. Dental hygienists can use specialized tools, and they have better angles to reach those areas than you do yourself. Therefore, professional dental cleanings are an important component of an oral hygiene regimen that strives to reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Patients can take a number of steps to reduce their risk of cavities, which are caused when oral bacteria begin to eat away at the enamel of a tooth. The key to cavity prevention is minimizing the presence of oral bacteria, which are found in plaque and tartar. This effort begins with brushing your teeth twice each day for two minutes in each session. Be sure to use proper technique. Our knowledgeable dental hygienists can give you pointers if you are wondering if your brushing is on the right track. You should also be sure to floss once per day, as this task dislodges bacteria that has built up between the teeth or along the gumline. If you tend to have rapid plaque and tartar build up, you may also want to add an anti-bacterial mouthwash as another safeguard. Limiting sweets, especially sticky candies that leave residue on the teeth, is also important for cavity prevention, as the bacteria feed on that sugar. Of course, professional dental cleanings are necessary to eliminate cavity-causing bacteria.
We prefer to save a patient’s tooth whenever possible. Small to medium-sized cavities can be repaired with fillings. The dentist will remove the decayed enamel in order to make room for the filling. Patients can choose tooth-colored fillings to minimize the effects of the filling on the smile’s appearance. The composite materials are then placed in the space and “cured’ to harden the material. Larger cavities may require restoration with a crown, or possibly a root canal if the decay has reached the tooth’s core. Extraction can be recommended as a last resort if a decayed tooth is beyond salvaging.
Most dental insurance plans do cover exams and cleanings twice per year. Other services, such as fillings and extractions, may be covered at least partially, as well. You should check with our billing staff to determine your plan’s coverage and any out-of-pocket costs that you might expect to be your responsibility. We accept a variety of payment methods for the convenience of our patients.