Exams and Cleaning
For the majority of our patients we recommend having an oral examination and dental cleaning (prophylaxis) every six months. The exam allows us to screen for decay and other oral diseases. Our hygienists use scalers and other instruments to remove plaque, tartar and stain that you are not able to reach with a toothbrush or floss. Once the cleaning is complete, the surfaces of your teeth are polished smooth to discourage the adherence of new deposits of plaque.
Topical fluoride treatments help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay. We have also had good results brushing fluoride on sensitive areas near the gumline to alleviate the sensitivity. In our office we use fluoride varnish, which is simply brushed on to the teeth and left for several hours to allow the fluoride to continue working. Until the fluoride is brushed off, the patient can eat and drink, although we caution against indulging in hot beverages or crunchy foods that may remove the varnish.
A sealant is a plastic resin which is placed into the deep grooves of the chewing surfaces of back molars. It is difficult to completely clean food particles and plaque out of these grooves with a toothbrush, leaving the surface vulnerable to decay. The resin "seals out" the food and plaque, protecting the enamel from decay. Children and teenagers are the best candidates for this procedure. Sealants usually last several years, getting children through their most cavity-prone years.
By taking digital x-rays, we obtain high quality images with reduced radiation risks (See our Common Dental Questions page). The images are immediately accessible on a computer monitor, and allow the patient to see teeth that require treatment and better understand the recommended plan of care.
Home Care Instruction
We partner with our patients to inform you of the best strategies to keep your teeth and gums healthy in the long term. Good home care is the most important tool you have to prevent decay and periodontal disease. Our staff will discuss with you the best toothbrushes, floss, dental aids and techniques for you to maintain a healthy smile.