Why Are Cleanings and Preventive Dentistry Important?
Keeping a happy, healthy smile is a lifetime effort, and it is a pleasure for our team at Westfield Dental to be your trustworthy partners. Jason Derr, DDS will help you improve and maintain good oral health. Routine preventive cleanings and exams are designed to protect your teeth from decay and detect dental problems at their beginning stages.
Early discovery allows us to correct dental damage, infection, and sources of discomfort as soon as possible. This helps us simplify treatment and protect you from harsher problems along the way.
If you have not seen a dentist in over six months, we invite you to schedule an appointment at Westfield Dental today.
Dr. Derr recommends that patients visit us twice per year. Patients with more severe cases of gum disease or other health problems that affect oral health should come more often.
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What Is Preventive Dental Care?
Preventive dental services include routine oral exams every six months. Insurance benefits will often cover the cost of these exams to minimize the need for future coverage. Our staff will help you understand your insurance benefits and submit the forms on your behalf.
If you have concerns about dental anxiety or have cosmetic goals for your smile , share those with Dr. Derr during this appointment so he can include address them in your treatment plan.
Are Professional Dental Cleanings Necessary?
Everyone develops plaque. We all have bacteria in our mouths which use saliva and ingredients found in our diet to grow and multiply. When left alone, the plaque will eat away at the enamel creating cavities or settle at the base of the gum line hardening into tartar.
Once tartar is formed, only professional cleaning tools can remove it.
During a regular dental cleaning, the plaque and tartar are removed from the surface of your teeth and at the gum line. If not removed, the plaque and tartar will continue to move under the soft tissue causing gum disease. Once removed, we then polish your teeth for a smooth, fresh finish.
Even the best brushers will need professional dental cleanings to ensure that the destructive bacteria are fully removed from in-between teeth, crevices, and gum line.
If you have been treated for gum disease, we encourage you to visit the dentist three to four times a year for preventive dental cleanings.
What Does A Dental Exam Consist Of?
During your exam, Dr. Derr will carefully inspect your mouth thoroughly. Dental x-rays and a trained eye will help explore changes to your teeth, gums, bite and existing restorations.
- We look for signs of tooth damage like decay, cracks, and chips
- We check for alignment problems and early wear and tear.
- We examine the soft tissue for signs of gum disease.
- We look for signs of damage to preexisting fillings, crowns, and bridges.
- We inspect the structure of your jaw bone
- We look at your inner cheek, tongue, and lips for signs of oral cancer
When there are changes detected, a treatment plan is developed to correct the issues before they become complex problems. This saves you from unnecessary discomfort, money, and time spent in the dental chair.
X-rays Help Detect What the Eyes Can’t See
Dr. Derr uses traditional and digital x-rays to help detect areas of concern. These images capture details that can be missed by eyes alone. They also help identify areas of concern under the gums and failing existing restorations. We can look at jaw bone, roots and emerging adult teeth. This is especially helpful as your third molars (wisdom teeth) try to grow in.
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What Are Preventive Services?
Besides keeping your teeth free of plaque and tartar, we want to prepare your smile to withstand damage between visits.
Are Fluoride Treatments Necessary?
Fluoride contributes to cavity prevention by strengthening your enamel. At every visit, we recommend professional fluoride treatment. In the dental office, professional fluoride therapy contains a higher percentage than mouthwash or toothpaste for home use.
Professional fluoride treatment will not hurt or stain your teeth.
Fluoride is proven to strengthen enamel by helping to remineralize what the oral bacteria in your mouth demineralized. Oral bacteria produce acid that breaks down tooth enamel making your teeth weaker and increasing the chance of decay.
How Fluoride Helps Adults
Fluoride treatment is not just for kids. Professional fluoride therapy will help adults, especially those who:
- Have high risk for cavities like genetic concerns or medication side-effects
- Struggle with at-home oral hygiene as with some elderly patients
- Patients with special needs
- Anyone with tooth sensitivities
Sealants were developed to help protect the irregular surfaces of back teeth from decay. The sealant acts as a barrier between the chewing surface of the tooth and bacteria and the food you eat. They are an effective way to defend your tooth from tooth decay.
Sealants are first applied to the newly erupted molars of young patients. Over time, natural wear and tear can breakdown the barrier creating an opportunity for adults to have sealants reapplied on teeth that do not contain existing restorations.
After a dental cleaning is the best time to have sealants applied. Air abrasion is used to clean the tooth improving the retention of the sealant. Once the targeted teeth are further cleaned and rinsed, the sealant is applied.
The sealant material is painted on the tooth, and a special light is used to speed up the hardening process. Once dry, Dr. Derr will make sure that it fits comfortably with your bite.
5 Benefits of Dental Sealants
- Inexpensive with excellent results
- Long-term protection from decay
- Eat and drink immediately after treatment
- No ‘shots’ required for treatment
- Comfortable dental procedure
Professional Cleanings and Preventive Dentistry Minimize Dental Costs
Regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and prevention services will help keep your need for additional dental work at a minimum. From the early detection of tooth damage and decay to catching gum disease at the beginning stages, your dentist wants to protect you from needing more invasive restoration procedures.
We look forward to seeing you twice a year for routine cleanings.
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