How can we help you?
Preventive Care and Dental Cleanings
For most people, brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing once a day is ideal. This gets is enough to get off most of the bacteria before it hardens and has the chance to cause a gum infection or other dental problems. For those patients who are prone to cavities and heavy buildup on their teeth, brushing 3 times a day can help to minimize risk. We recommend waiting 30 minutes after eating to brush however, so the the pH of your saliva can return to a more neutral level.
Everyone is different and we personalize the interval time for each patient to meet his or her needs. For most people, getting a dental cleaning every 6 months is optimal to prevent the development of periodontal disease, remove buildup, and help keep the gums healthy. Those patients who are prone to periodontal disease, tend to develop heavy plaque and tartar buildup, have heavy stain, have difficulty brushing and flossing, or are at high risk for cavities or other disease of the oral cavity, it will typically be recommend that they get a cleaning every 3-4 months. For some patients with great home care or those that are at an extremely low risk for diseases of the oral cavity and periodontal disease, we recommend a cleaning every 12 months.
During your teeth cleaning appointment, we will do a complete exam to check for cavities and periodontal disease, do an oral cancer screening, take needed x-rays, and remove any plaque, calculus, tartar and stain from your teeth and gums. As with your general health, disease, risk and symptoms can change over time. You may go years without gum disease or cavities and develop them later in life or when lifestyle, medications, or general health conditions change. We make it our job to make sure your care and recommended protocols change along with you to address your needs at every stage. Your needs change over time and we make sure that we are treating you optimally and meeting your current needs.
The brand of toothpaste is a personal preference. The important feature you should look for is a fluoride containing toothpaste with the ADA seal of approval. The main purpose of toothpaste is to provide the fluoride your teeth need to help fight cavities.
Toothpastes advertised as whitening toothpaste often have abrasives in them for surface stain removal. Using these excessively can wear away the enamel, leading to sensitivity problems. Tartar control toothpastes often cause staining and are rarely recommended.
Sensitive toothpastes contain an ingredient to help reduce sensitivity to hot and cold. These work well for patients with sensitive teeth but generally need to be used regularly to have an affect.
Some people have a high risk for developing cavities. For these patients, we will prescribe a toothpaste with a different strength of fluoride. This will help to strengthen the teeth and decrease the chance of developing a cavity.
Tooth sensitivity can have several different causes. If you are noticing sensitivity in your teeth that you haven't had before, it is a good idea to have your dentist check for possible causes.
Sometimes sensitivity is caused by something simple such as gum recession or inflammation. Sensitivity can also be a result of tooth trauma (ie. biting on something hard, an accident, or grinding and clenching) or a developing cavity. There are times when sensitivity is a sign of something more significant such as an infection, a tooth fracture, or other oral pathology.
X-rays or radiographs are a useful diagnostic tool which allow us to see parts of the teeth and surrounding structures that are not visible during a simple oral exam. They help your dentist find areas of decay between teeth, decay under existing fillings and crowns, bone loss and other signs of periodontal disease, infections, cysts, and some tumors. In children x-rays help us evaluate growth and check for development of teeth, along with evaluating for dental decay.
Frequency of radiographs varies from person to person based on their risk factors and history of dental decay. In general, 4 bitewing radiographs are taken once a year and a full mouth series every 5-10 years.
At Bowers and Oki Family Dentistry, we use digital radiography which allows us to use a much lower dose of radiation. X-rays taken digitally are very safe.