Preventive dentistry ranges from the gums to the way your teeth come together. Regular dental cleanings and a doctor exam are critical, and allow us to evaluate any additional needs. Your bite can cause significant joint pain and can lead to teeth becoming loose or cracking – often leading to the loss of a tooth. We integrate these checks and more into every dental exam.
Here is a list of preventive dental services available to our patients:
Professional dental cleanings by your favorite hygienist
The cells in your mouth are the same type as the cells that make up the surface of your skin. So imagine if you get a cut on your hand and it gets infected. The area becomes red and swollen, hurts when you touch it, and may bleed. The same thing happens in the mouth when plaque is not cleaned properly. Plaque is soft and sticky and is made up of bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Calculus is hardened plaque and is an indication of poor hygiene. Your hygienist will give you detailed instructions on how to keep your mouth healthy after your cleaning. Since education is the key, we’re happy to give you tips and reminders any time you come in.
Quick, environmentally friendly, and with 90% less radiation exposure than conventional X-rays, digital radiographs are more accurate and clearer than processed films. Dentists can also easily email the x-rays to each other for better communication.
Exams and consultations
The goal is to find potential problems early so treatment is as simple as possible and less costly. This includes looking at the teeth, gums, bones, and the rest of the mouth. Dr. Sean Kennelly will evaluate all existing work done to make sure any bridges, crowns, fillings, or implants are all intact. No topic is left unanswered, so if it’s snoring problems or bad breath that’s bothering you, let us know.
Placed for children and teenagers on the chewing surface of the adult back teeth, sealants are clear plastic coatings that help prevent cavities. No injections needed!
We provide topical fluoride applications to reduce the chance of tooth decay. Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel, resists tooth decay and promotes remineralization of tooth areas affected by early decay.
Topical fluorides such as gels and varnishes are applied professionally, usually during the cleaning appointment. It is recommended for children and adolescents, for patients with extensive dental restorations and for patients with receded gums who are at a high risk of root decay.
Patients who are at a much higher risk of dental decay may need home-fluoride therapy, which is normally dispensed through our office.
Night guards and athletic mouth guards
For those that have a history of grinding or clenching that can cause them to wake up with sore jaw muscles and headaches, night guards are a preventive, comfortable, removable appliance that acts as a splint to protect the jaw joint. The concept is similar to a knee splint for a runner who doesn’t want to overwork his knee joint. It is worn either on the top or bottom arch and shields the teeth from scraping against each other. Most people who grind their teeth at night are not aware that they do it – it’s usually a significant other who hears the grinding going on. A dental professional will be able to tell you for sure by looking at the evidence inside the mouth. If needed, impressions are taken and a customized night guard is made. And don’t worry: night guards look and feel nothing like those bulky mouthguards football players and basketball players wear.
Facts about oral hygiene:
- Over 100 species of bacteria, fungi, and viruses take up residence in our mouths.
- Saliva contains 40 essential proteins.
- 50% of Americans do not receive regular oral health care.
- The average person only brushes for 45 to 70 seconds per day. The recommended amount of time is 2 minutes, twice a day.
- It is possible to have periodontal (gum) disease with no warning signs or pain.
A brief note on tongue cleaning
Tongue cleaning is becoming more broadly recognized and recommended by dental professionals as an essential step for proper oral hygiene. As bad breath concerns have become a focus, the tongue has been recognized as a source that harbors a large percentage of the bacteria in the mouth, even after brushing and flossing. Studies indicate that although brushing the tongue is an effective way to remove the bacteria, using a tongue cleaner/scraper with a specially designed shape that conforms to the surface of the tongue and has a ripple edge is the most effective means for cleaning the tongue.