As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is particularly true when it comes to ensuring the long-term health of your teeth, gums, and mouth. We are aware that most people dread dental visits due to the fear of the needle or the drill and hence procrastinate going to the dentist. However, patients can minimize their visits to the dentist as well as costs involved with extensive dental work by practicing preventive dentistry. At “Only Smiles Dental”, we take pride in our preventive procedures.
Our preventive services include:
- Oral Hygiene
- Fluoride treatments & Remineralization
- Nightguards and Athletic Mouthguards
- Oral Cancer Screening
- Tobacco Ceasation therapy
a) Oral Hygiene:
The #1 reason why people lose their teeth is undiagnosed periodontal disease. The periodontal disease begins without warning, and in early stages causes gums to bleed easily and contribute to bad breath. Moreover, researchers have found that advanced form of periodontal disease is linked with other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and bacterial pneumonia. Likewise, pregnant women with periodontal disease may be at increased risk of delivering preterm and/or low-birth-weight infants. Each individual’s oral health varies depending on their oral hygiene regimen, medical history, dietary habits and of course genetic factors! For this reason, we incorporate a personalized gum evaluation into each visit. Our goal is early diagnosis of any existing disease and to offer an opportunity for you to minimize bone loss and preserve your smile for a lifetime through our Soft Tissue Management (STM) program which is designed to create a custom regimen for your condition that will include treatment at the office as well as specific home care.
b) Sealants:Teeth often have deep pits and fissures that can trap food particles and cause cavities if not cleaned. A toothbrush bristle is often too large to reach inside these grooves so cleaning these grooves is very difficult. A sealant forms a thin resin covering over these grooves to keep out food and plaque, thus reducing the risk of decay. Placing sealants does not require anesthetic or drilling.
c) Fluoride Treatments and Remineralization:
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It also reverses early decay thus aiding in remineralization. In children under six years of age, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth. At “Only Smiles Dental”, every patient is assessed for their RISK of developing caries (the bacterial infection that causes cavities). We prefer to treat early, superficial cavities with topical solutions that help your teeth remineralize, hopefully avoiding the “drilling and filling” . Recent scientific evidence is conclusive that not only is this therapy conservative and tooth saving, but cost saving as well. We recommend fluoride varnish application to our patients with moderate to high risk and a prescription fluoride toothpaste to our high risk patients with personalized homecare instructions and regular follow-ups thus reducing the bacterial load and hence their risk for getting more cavities overtime.
d) Custom-made Nightguards and Athletic Mouthguards:
Night guards are custom fit and used to treat bruxism (teeth grinding) and clenching. Bruxism and clenching are often nocturnal parafunctional habits and can be caused by stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, abnormal bites, or teeth that are missing or crooked.
Symptoms of bruxism or clenching include:
- Sore jaw
- Painful, loose or fractured teeth and restorations
- Ear aches and sore facial muscles
We fabricate customized night guards that protect your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), prevent further tooth damage, aid in stabilizing your bite, and help relax your chewing muscles .
Due to the high incidence of sport-related oral injuries, the American Dental Association and the Academy of Sports Dentistry have compiled the following list of sports and activities where they recommend the use of a mouthguard.
We take impressions of your teeth to create a model of your teeth and then design a mouthguard to fit over the model. Because they are customized to fit your mouth, they are more comfortable and less likely to interfere with speech or breathing unlike most store bought mouthguards.
e) Oral Cancer Screening:
One person in America dies from oral cancer every hour. Late detection of oral cancer is the primary cause that both the incidence and mortality rates of oral cancer continue to increase. As with most cancers, age is the primary risk factor for oral cancer. Tobacco and alcohol use are other major predisposing risk factors but more than 25% of oral cancer victims have no such lifestyle risk factors. Although the annual occurrence rate of oral cancer has increased, the survival rate for oral cancers that are discovered in the early stages is very high. . At every comprehensive examination visit, Dr Bale examines your neck, tongue, and all other soft tissues in your mouth for any unusual lumps, sores, or discolorations. A Vizilite examination is also offered to all our high risk patients as an adjunct to the conventional clinical exam. This is a FDA approved screening tool that allows us to see abnormal changes in the oral mucosa.If these preliminary screenings warrant additional investigation, a biopsy is advised.
f) Tobacco Ceasation Therapy:You know smoking is injurious to your health, so it should be no surprise that cigarettes and chewing tobacco are also harmful to your oral health. For one, tobacco products can cause bad breath, but that’s only the beginning.
Other possible oral health impacts of smoking and all tobacco products include:
- Stained teeth and tongue
- Dulled sense of taste and smell
- Slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery
- Difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems
- Gum disease and bone loss
- Oral cancer
Quitting is the only way to decrease your risk of these and other tobacco-related health problems. The addictive quality of nicotine, which is found in cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco, can make this especially difficult. That’s why it’s important to have a plan and a support group to help you stick to your plan. Talk to us for any help and to see if the medications available would help you to stop using tobacco.