Fluoride is one of the greatest tools we have in preventing tooth decay. Fluoride is available in several different delivery methods to help protect our teeth. A fluoride treatment in the dental office is appropriate for children and adults, and is usually applied during a cleaning visit.
Other ways fluoride can be delivered include through the use of a fluoridated toothpaste or mouth rinse, through the community water supply, and sometimes through the use of specific filling materials.
Each patient has different dental needs and the use of specific fluoride modalities will be recommended to you by your dentist and hygienist.
A dental sealant is a quick, non-invasive procedure that uses a thin, flowable, resin-based material that is applied to the deep grooves of your teeth to block out bacteria and their food sources, stain, and decay. Sealants are another paramount treatment in the prevention of tooth decay.
Treatment of teeth with dental sealants is usually recommended in children when their permanent teeth begin to erupt. This is a delicate time for kids because a brand new tooth is coming into the mouth and being introduced to the oral environment, which includes food and bacteria. The surrounding gums are usually sensitive and smaller mouths tend to have bigger gag reflexes, so getting a toothbrush to do an adequate job of plaque removal is more challenging for little ones.
Placement of sealants can be accomplished in one visit. The teeth are cleaned, dried, and isolated away from saliva. The sealant material is flowed onto the grooves of the teeth and hardened with a blue curing light. Patients can immediately use their teeth after the procedure. Sealants tend to last several years, however it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood.
Periodontal Disease and Periodontal Therapy
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and bone that surround and support your teeth. This is caused There are two phases of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis begins when dental plaque is not removed through brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings. During the gingivitis stage, the gums become red and swollen and will often bleed easily when brushing or flossing. The good news, however, is that gingivitis is a reversible process with proper oral hygiene techniques and habits. If you have gingivitis, we can help you manage it at your regular exam and check-up appointment.
As plaque builds up over time, it hardens onto the tooth surface, becoming tartar. Once tartar is present, you are unable to remove it from your teeth at home. These bacterial deposits continue to grow and advance along the tooth root, damaging your gums and bone along the way. As gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, bone loss occurs and teeth become mobile and possibly painful. Your dentist and hygienist will assess for signs of periodontal disease during your regular exam and check-up appointment. I’ve been diagnosed with periodontal disease, what’s next?
The most conservative therapy to effectively treat periodontal disease is a procedure called scaling and root planing. During this treatment, your tissues may be numbed with a local anesthetic and the bacterial deposits surrounding your teeth and below the gumline are removed. Over time, the gums begin to create a new attachment to the tooth surface. With regular continuing care appointments, periodontal disease can often be managed through this non-surgical treatment. Your dentist and hygienist will discuss what treatments are recommended to help you manage this disease so that you can keep your teeth for a lifetime!