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Keep your natural teeth healthy with regular preventative care. Visiting the dentist every six months, brushing your teeth at least three times and day, and flossing each day are all preventative steps you can take to ensure that your smile stays healthy. During routine, preventive dental visits, your dentist can also check for any irregularities, and if treatment is needed you’ll receive it as soon as possible.
Regular teeth cleanings by a dental hygienist is recommended to remove any tartar that may build up, even with brushing and flossing at home. Without the removal of tartar, more serious dental issues may arise, such as cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. The American Dental Association recommends that you visit the dentist every six months for regular checkups and routine teeth cleanings.
A professional cleaning may include tooth polishing and removal of tartar, as well as a fluoride treatment to make your teeth stronger and lessen the likelihood of tooth decay. Your dentist may also take X-rays to make sure there aren’t any hidden cavities or other structural problems that cannot be seen during a visual examination. Preventive dental includes sealants, practicing good oral hygiene, replacing dental restorations when needed, visiting the dentist regularly, and protecting your teeth all day, every day!
Sealants are placed on teeth to help prevent dental decay. Teeth that have deep grooves are susceptible to decay because the bacteria that causes decay can hide in the grooves of the teeth and cannot be easily removed with brushing or flossing. Most commonly, sealants are placed on the biting surfaces of molar teeth. This picture shows a molar tooth in a young child. The tooth has very deep grooves, and is at the back of the mouth, making it difficult to clean. It is a good candidate for a dental sealant.
A dental sealant has been placed on the biting surface of the molar tooth. A sealant is a plastic coating which fills the grooves of the tooth and is bonded into place. It seals the tooth and helps to prevent decay. Sealants are recommended for molar teeth in young children and can also benefit teeth in some adults. Generally, sealants are placed once the tooth has erupted into the mouth. It is a simple and quick dental procedure which can help prevent the need for a filling.
Oral Hygiene Instruction
A soft bristle brush is recommended for cleaning your teeth. Placing the brush along the gum line helps to remove plaque that settles around the gum tissue. plaque contains bacteria which can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
The biting surfaces of the teeth accumulate food and debris which settles into the grooves on the the teeth. Brushing these surfaces helps to prevent decay which can start in the grooves of the teeth.
In areas where your regular toothbrush cannot fit or in areas that are difficult to reach, smaller cleaning tools can be used. In this example, a tuft end brush is being used to clean the inside surfaces of the lower front teeth.
Flossing is a vital component of your daily oral hygiene routine. Floss helps to remove plaque which settles into the gum pockets around each tooth. Removing this plaque keeps your gums and teeth healthy.
Three Ways to Clean a Milled Bar
Hygiene for Orthodontic Patients
When teeth have braces, extra care must be taken in brushing and flossing to make sure that all areas are properly cleaned. A soft bristled brush is used to clean the teeth below the brackets.
The brush is then used to clean the teeth over the brackets and around the gum line. This is an area where food and plaque (sticky substance filled with bacteria) become trapped around the brackets.
A small brush can be used to clean underneath the wire, in between the brackets, and in hard to reach areas.
The teeth must also be flossed. A floss threader is used to pull the floss underneath the wire. This must be done between each tooth.
Cleaning a Bridge
Why Recall Appointments Are Important
Regular recall appointments are important to help detect problems that may exist in your mouth. This abscess which is not painful was found. If left untreated, the infection may spread causing loss of teeth.
Recurrent decay (decay around existing fillings) can be detected during recall exams. If left untreated, the decay will spread underneath the filling and the tooth may require extensive treatment.
Regular x-rays help to find problems that may not be visible. Decay has been found underneath this bridge (yellow arrow). If left untreated, the tooth and the entire bridge may be lost.
Bone loss around an implant may also be found on an x-ray (yellow arrow). This type of bone loss is not painful, but if left untreated, the implant may be lost.