A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by the dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, the dentist and hygienist will include the following:
Prophylaxis (Teeth Cleaning)
A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning procedure performed to thoroughly clean the teeth. Prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for halting the progression
of periodontal disease and gingivitis.
Periodontal disease and gingivitis occur when bacteria from plaque colonize on the gingival (gum) tissue, either above or below the gum line. These bacteria colonies cause serious inflammation and irritation which in turn produce a chronic inflammatory response in the body. As a result, the body begins to destroy gum and bone tissue, making the teeth shift, become unstable, or completely fall out. The pockets between the gums and teeth become deeper and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body.
Here are some of the benefits of prophylaxis:
What does prophylaxis treatment involve?
Prophylaxis is generally performed in several stages:
A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars,
premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. More than
75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions
are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the
tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.
Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits.
What do sealants involve?
Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or dental hygienist and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.
The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light. Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.
Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It
is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods
and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50
years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.
Fluoride works in two ways:
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
Digital radiography (digital x-ray) is the latest technology used to take dental
x-rays. This technique uses an electronic sensor (instead of x-ray film) that
captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly
viewed and enlarged helping the dentist and dental hygienist detect problems
easier. Digital x-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low
exposure of traditional dental x-rays.
Dental x-rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage may save you time,
money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. Digital x-rays produce a significantly lower level of radiation compared to traditional dental x-rays. Not only are digital x-rays better for the health and safety of the patient, they are faster and more comfortable to take, which reduces your time in the dental office. Also, since the digital image is captured electronically, there is no need to develop the x-rays, thus eliminating the disposal of harmful waste and chemicals into the environment.
Even though digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, dentists still take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation. These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are necessary, and using lead apron shields to protect the body.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based upon the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease.
A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.
Panoramic s-rays are wraparound photographs of the face and teeth. They offer a view that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. X-rays in general, expose hidden structures, such as wisdom teeth, reveal preliminary signs of cavities, and also show fractures and bone loss.
Panoramic x-rays are extra oral and simple to perform. Usually, dental x-rays involve the film being placed inside the mouth, but panoramic film is hidden inside a mechanism that rotates around the outside of the head.
Unlike bitewing x-rays that need to be taken every few years, panoramic x-rays are generally only taken on an as-needed basis. A panoramic x-ray is not conducted to give a detailed view of each tooth, but rather to provide a better view of the sinus areas, nasal areas and mandibular nerve. Panoramic x-rays are preferable to bitewing x-rays when a patient is in extreme pain, and when a sinus problem is suspected to have caused dental problems.
Panoramic x-rays are extremely versatile in dentistry, and are used to:
All of us have suffered from bad breath at one time or another. But it is
estimated that millions of North Americans suffer from bad breath that never
goes away. The term for this condition is oral malodour. Surprisingly, most
people with oral malodour are not aware of their problem breath. That's because
our sense of smell has an amazing ability to adjust to odours. Unfortunately,
there's no cure for 90% of oral malodour. It requires long-term control and
management of this condition.
Most people think that bad breath is a result of what's going on in our stomachs. But that's not the whole story. Most often, actual odour is generated by bacteria that thrive in the mouth under the gums, and in the nooks and crannies on the teeth and the surface of the tongue. Left untreated these bacteria create volatile sulfur compounds that have a characteristic unpleasant smell.