Preventive Care and Dental Cleanings
Regular dental cleanings and exams are an important part of your oral health care regimen. At Bowers and Oki Family Dentistry, we believe that prevention is the most important aspect of dental care. Today, we have the ability to reduce your risk of tooth decay and increase your chances of keeping your teeth and gums healthy for decades to come.
Dental Cleanings (Prophys)
Dental cleanings, or prophys, are normally performed by a dental hygienist in the dental office. The purpose of dental cleanings is to remove the plaque, calculus, tartar and stain that is not removed by regular brushing and flossing at home. Plaque is a sticky biofilm that forms on teeth, composed of bacteria and other material. When plaque is not removed, it will harden to form calculus or tartar and can no longer be removed with a toothbrush or floss. Left untreated, this buildup of bacteria can cause inflammation of the gums, bleeding, bad breath, cavities, and gum diseases including periodontitis. During your cleaning, the dental hygienist will remove this bacteria with special dental instruments. Your hygienist will also polish your teeth to remove remaining stain. Our gentle hygienists are skilled at providing a painless cleaning experience
As part of your preventive care appointment, we also complete a full exam in order to evaluate your oral health. Your exam will consist of a review of your general health, an oral cancer screening, evaluation of your jaw and muscles, periodontal check and a cavity check. We will examine your existing restorations and take any x-rays that may be needed. It is important to catch tooth decay, gum disease, cracking teeth, and worn out dental work early. Catching dental problems early allows us to do minimally invasive dentistry, whitle reducing the risk of complications and more costly dental treatment.
Dental X-rays (Radiographs)
Dental X-rays or radiographs are a diagnostic tool that allows us to see cavities between the teeth, infections, certain tumors and cysts, developmental and root abnormalities. At Bowers and Oki Family Dentistry, we use digital radiographs which allow us to see images quicker with much less radiation exposure to the patient. The need for dental xrays varies for each person based on their risk factors, such as oral hygiene, diet, and history of oral disease and cavities.
Caries Risk Assessments
As part of our goal of providing customized care for each patient, we conduct a caries risk assessment. These assessments allow us to identify each persons risk of getting a cavity, and can help create a plan of care. We ask a series of questions so that we may uncover factors that will increase your risk of getting cavities and personalized recommendations on how we can reduce this risk. In high risk cases, we will conduct a saliva analysis to further investigate your unique factors that may be causing your tooth decay.
Fluoride is generally offered to children and adult patients at moderate to high risk for cavities, as a part of your routine preventive care. Fluoride helps to reduce your risk of cavities, and can strengthen teeth that are weakened by acid, bacteria and small cavities.
At Bowers and Oki Family Dentistry, we believe that patient education is our primary duty. Prevention of oral disease is key and want to provide you with the tools to have a healthy mouth and avoid tooth decay. We are here to help you develop good habits, learn how to effectively clean your teeth, and decrease your risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay. We are here to answer your questions and be your advocate for dental health.
At your preventative care visit, your dental hygienist will evaluate your general and dental health. We will take your blood pressure, review your medical history, conduct an exam, take any needed dental radiographs, and clean your teeth. Your dental hygienist will review your home care and provide suggestions on how to better manage your oral health at home. We will answer questions you have about recommended treatment and assist you with any new goals you have for your mouth. We are excited to be your partner in oral health!