A dental cleaning, also known as prophylaxis, is recommended a minimum of two times each year. During this visit your hygienist will remove dental plaque and tartar from your teeth that has formed despite your normal brushing and flossing. Without regular dental cleanings, dental tartar can build and form under the gum line. This can lead to periodontal disease.
X-rays are taken once per year to look for signs of tooth decay and other abnormalities. Your dentist will review the x-rays and do a thorough exam. The dentist is not only looking for decay but also for signs of tooth and enamel wear. An oral cancer screening is also done during this visit. The use of our Diagnodent and VELscope technology may be utilized during the exam.
It is recommended that children receive a fluoride treatment at each visit and sealants for permanent molars as they erupt to prevent caries.
Based upon the exam, your dental team will provide a comprehensive treatment plan to address your immediate restorative dental needs, including recommendations for ongoing preventative care and desired cosmetic treatments.
A sealant is a thin plastic coating applied to the grooves on the chewing surface of the back teeth to prevent decay. Most dental decay begins in these deep grooves where bacteria and food debris are trapped. It is important to seal the permanent 6 and 12 year molars as soon as they erupt in your child’s mouth to help prevent this kind of decay.
The hygienist or assistant will thoroughly clean and isolate the tooth to be sealed prior to etching the enamel and applying and curing the light cured sealant. The white sealant can be evaluated for effectiveness at subsequent dental checkups. Sealants have proven very effective as a preventive technique in patients of all ages.
Fluoride is often added to drinking water to help reduce tooth decay. Studies have repeatedly shown that when fluoride is added to a community’s water supply, tooth decay decreases in both children and adults. The American Dental Association, the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association have endorsed the use of fluoride in water supplies because of its effect on tooth decay. If you are unsure of the level of fluoride in your specific water supply, you can contact your city or town for this information. For patients with private water supplies, we can provide you with the tools to have a sample tested through the State of NH.
Fluoride concentrates in the growing bones and developing teeth of children, helping to harden the enamel on baby and adult teeth before they emerge. This is key to preventing decay. We recommend that all children receive a topical application of concentrated fluoride varnish every 6 months during their cleaning appointment. We may also recommend the use of fluoride tablets or drops based upon the results of your water supply fluoride analysis.
Fluoride is not just for children. Adults having a high incidence of decay or tooth sensitivity due to root exposure and gum recession benefit from the application of concentrated fluoride varnish. The varnish coats the roots, closing the dental tubules, and reduces sensitivity and helps to prevent root caries.
People who wear orthodontic appliances or suffer from dry mouth due to medical conditions or prescriptions should also discuss the value of fluoride treatments with their hygienist or dentist. Without saliva to neutralize the acids in your mouth and wash away food particles, you’re more susceptible to tooth decay. Braces and other oral appliances can trap bacteria that can lead to cavities.
We may also recommend prescription strength fluoride toothpaste for these patients.
Every year approximately 34,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. 75% of all oral cancer patients are tobacco users, but everyone should be screened. We perform a comprehensive oral cancer examination on all of our patients. This exam includes a visual and tactile exploration of the inside of your mouth as well as the underside of your jaw and neck area.
A VELscope is a visualization-enhancement device that augments your doctor’s visual and palpation exams to assess potentially abnormal tissue in the oral cavity. This hand-held instrument provides a painless scanning of the oral soft tissue using fluorescent light and direct visualization and is indispensable in helping to detect oral cancer.
A nightguard is an acrylic mouthpiece used to protect the teeth from the effects of night time grinding (bruxism). Most people are not aware of their bruxism habit and only find out when tooth wear is discovered upon dental examination. Bruxism can result in fractured teeth and increased sensitivity of teeth and facial muscles. We custom make each nightguard in our office to insure that it is comfortable and effective. A flat bite plane allows free movement of the lower jaw to minimize muscle tenderness and increase comfort.
Creating and evaluating the fit of a nightguard takes two visits to our office. On the first visit, we make impressions of the upper and lower teeth to form the design of the nightguard. On the second visit, we evaluate and adjusted the nightguard as necessary. Most patients acclimate to the nightguard quickly and wear it nightly.
Sportsguards buffer impact that may otherwise cause broken teeth, jaw injuries, cuts to the lip, tongue or face. An athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. An impression of your upper teeth is taken in our office and we fabricate your custom sportsguard on site. You can choose the color and design for a unique look. A custom fabricated sports guard is guaranteed to stay in place during activity and doesn’t restrict speech or breathing.