preventative dental care

Preventative dental services are a key to a life of good health and hygiene. The best way to save your teeth from restoration, or worst yet, a dental emergency is to regularly practice preventative dental care. Alan G. Kline, D.D.S. and Associates perform preventative dental services at both the Bethesda and Annapolis Maryland locations.

Teeth Cleaning

A dental hygienist will typically do your cleaning. It will begin with a brief exam of the teeth. Any potential problems will be noted and communicated with the dentist. After tartar and plaque are scraped off with a scaler tool, and the hygienist brushes your teeth with gritty toothpaste. The procedure may feel scary, because the brush the hygienist uses is quite loud, but this polishes your teeth.
You will have professional flossing to get any residue in between the teeth. Then you will rinse your mouth, with a liquid fluoride rinse. Dentists recommend professional cleaning every six months.

Preventative Dental Tooth Sealants

If you want to prevent tooth decay, a sealant is a great help. A thin, plastic coat is painted on the surfaces of the teeth used for chewing. The focus is on the teeth in the back of the mouth (molars and premolars) since they are most at risk for decay caused by trapped food particles. The bonded sealant makes a shield, protecting the enamel of the teeth.

Preventative Dental Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride is usually applied last in the process of cleaning. The treatment is used to protect your teeth from developing cavities. Typically, a good fluoride application will be effective for several months. The fluoride gel gets inserted into a tray that fits over your teeth. You will leave it on for a minute, and then remove it. When fluoride comes into contact with saliva, it will harden!

Custom Night Guards

When teeth grinding (bruxism) is a concern, custom night guards can help. Grinding your teeth at night can cause considerable wear and damage to your teeth. It’s hard to control, since it happens when you’re asleep. Besides worn-down teeth, bruxism can lead to other symptoms, such as jaw pain, facial pain, or headaches. It can also lead to serious dental issues, like cavities, sensitive teeth, and enamel loss.
We’ll complete the evaluation and discuss a custom night guard with you. The guard will go over your teeth, either lower or upper, and prevent the teeth from grinding at night, alleviating many symptoms you may have.

Periodontal Disease Exam

Periodontal disease affects nearly 50% of people over 30 years old. Initially, the gum may swell and sometimes bleed when you floss or brush them. As time goes on, your gums will separate from the tooth. This causes pockets to form between the gums and the teeth. If it isn’t addressed early on, it may lead to the loss of teeth and bone.

A periodontal exam will help to find issues with gum disease and gingivitis. The pockets around each tooth are measured, noted, and tracked. This allows your dentist to identify and treat gum disease.

Plaque and Tartar Level Evaluation and Removal

Your Hygienist will use a tool called a scaler that helps to remove plaque and tartar that’s trapped between your teeth and around your gum line. This is done by scraping the tooth surface with the scaler. This process will require some time and may need to be completed in two appointments, depending on the amount of plaque and tarter you have. Proper flossing and brushing can help stop plaque from increasing and turning into tartar.

Elimination of Bacteria In the Mouth

We can talk to you about ways to eliminate harmful bacteria. Rinsing with an approved mouthwash is one of the most effective ways to reduce bacteria. Aside from proper brushing and flossing, rinsing your mouth with an anti-bacterial mouthwash is a great way to keep your mouth clean, even below the gum line.

Oral Cancer Screening

When your dentist performs an oral cancer screening exam, they will inspect the inside of your mouth, checking for white or red patches or sores. They will feel inside your mouth, checking for lumps or other suspicious abnormalities. The dentist will most likely examine your neck and throat as well.

Cavity Assessment

Your dentist will ask about tooth sensitivity and pain to check for tooth decay and cavities. As part of a thorough examination of your teeth and mouth, they will check your teeth with dental tools, looking for soft areas in the teeth. Dental x-rays are a diagnostic tool to show the extent of decay and cavities. Once the scope of your cavities is determined, a treatment plan will be made to address these issues. Steering away from food and drinks with high sugar content is key to preventative dental care.

Evaluation of Existing Restorations

You might wonder how a dentist evaluates the work previously done in your mouth. Generally speaking, we will form an assessment based on three criteria upon examining the work. We will look for functional, aesthetic, and biological integrity to ensure that the work is not broken, cracked, leaking, or fractured in any way.

Evaluation of Hard and Soft Tissues in the Mouth

Evaluating hard tissue in the mouth means that we do a complete check, going tooth by tooth, and detail our findings in a tooth chart. We document all information on the condition of the mouth and teeth. We maintain digital records of: Existing work done, any decay found, signs of leakage, recommended treatments, individual positions of teeth, and any impactions. We will also check for jaw bone growth that looks abnormal during this Hard Tissue evaluation.

The soft tissue exam evaluates the soft tissues in your mouth, including the gums, tongue, and throat. Performing both exams allows the dentist to make a more detailed chart of your mouth and look for future changes.

Evaluation of Your TMJ

This evaluates your temporomandibular and jaw joints to check health and function. Problems with your TMJ can present as earache, toothache, or headache… getting a verbal history from the patient is essential. Imaging is rarely needed. The narrative is critical and starts the evaluation. Your physical exam will examine your jaw’s range of motion, localized pain, and inspection for articular joint sounds. The prescription for these ailments usually focuses on orthodontic therapy.

Preventative Dental Care

Make an appointment with our office today, and we’ll be able to pinpoint areas that might need preventative dental services, so that together we can prevent future issues.