Preventative Dental Care
We believe that preventive care is key to optimal dental health. Regular cleanings, current xrays and annual checkups, are critical components. Our highly skilled clinicians are informed on the latest dental techniques, and trained to identify indicators of related medical issues.
We use the latest tools and dental technology to conduct a thorough oral examination and assess the current health of your teeth and the surrounding tissue and bone structure of your mouth. We specifically look at your head/neck, jaws, mouth, teeth, gums, intra-oral/extra-oral soft tissues, and pay close attention for signs of mouth cancer.
Fluoride is the most effective agent available proven to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. Fluoride works in two ways:
Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. We generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups. Our method of fluoride application is Flouride Varnish – see description just below.
Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years. It is very important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.
We may recommend professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
- Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
- Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
- Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.
- Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
- Inadequate exposure to fluorides.
- Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.
- Recent history of dental decay.
Fluoride Varnish is a coating that is painted on teeth. It helps to prevent new cavities and help stop cavities that have already started. It is sticky so it stays on the teeth longer than other kinds of fluoride treatments. It makes the outside of the teeth harder and helps to prevent decay. Because fluoride varnish slowly soaks into the teeth, it is a good way for the tooth to take in fluoride. Fluoride varnish has been found to reduce decay on tooth surfaces by 50% to 70%. Fluoride varnish is completely safe. It has been used successfully since the 1960’s. The varnish is painted on the teeth and does not have a bad taste. There is no pain. Teeth may look yellow after the fluoride varnish is painted on. The color will come off the next day when the teeth are brushed.
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. 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. Reasons for sealants:
Children and teenagers – As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16.
Adults – Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions.Baby teeth – Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and child is cavity prone.
Sealants are easily applied in a few minutes by your dentist or dental hygienist.
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.
1 – Place toothbrush bristles along gum line at a 45 degree angle. Gently brush in a circular motion along the inner and outer tooth surfaces.
2 – Brush each tooth individually. Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth; use the front half of brush in a gentle circular motion.
3 – Place brush against biting surface of teeth and use a gentle back and forth motion. Brush the tongue (or use a tongue scraper) to remove odor-causing bacteria.
Wind approx 18” of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving 1”-2” length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth. Use index fingers to guide floss in between lower teeth.
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that supports the teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, and is hard to detect because it is usually painless. Periodontal disease is serious because over time it can destroy supporting bone. At Angwin Dental, we check early and often, and make sure plaque does not remain on your teeth that could lead to gum disease.
Remember, fluoride and/or sealants alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.