Cleaning & Prevention
Keeping your smile strong and healthy is an ongoing effort on the parts of both dentist and patient. At Mark W. Gilbert Family Dentistry, we will always do what we can to preserve the tooth’s natural structure, and prevent the onset of dental diseases and other problems, but our work must be supported by consistent dental hygiene at home. Failure to care properly for one’s teeth could result in more serious problems later, which would require more costly dental procedures to fix.
To prevent such problems from developing, Dr. Gilbert offers a variety of prophylactic dental care. Regular examinations and cleanings are a necessity for healthy teeth, and the application of sealants and fluoride treatments will help greatly in maintaining the health and beauty of your smile.
Digital radiography is the cutting edge of dental x-ray technology. Rather than the x-ray films that were once used, digital x-rays use an electronic sensor that immediately saves the image to a computer, where they can be quickly viewed, and problem areas can be easily focused on, identifying any issues with your teeth faster and more efficiently. X-rays are an essential part of regular dental examination, because they reveal internal problems that could otherwise not be detected with even the most thorough exam.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that already exists in most foods and sources of water. Its incredible effects in fortifying teeth against decay have been well documented and supported by experts for over 50 years. Although your teeth will gain some fluoride simply from eating and drinking, it is important that this is supplemented with professional applications and other sources. Generally speaking, there are two types of fluoride application:
This type of fluoride is applied through the use of toothpastes, rinses, gels, and other such dental products. Topical fluoride strengthens the enamel of teeth that have already emerged, and greatly fortifies the tooth against the effects of decay.
Most dentists recommend that children receive a professional application of topical fluoride at least one a year.
Sealants are another useful tool in fighting tooth decay. A thin coat of plastic is applied over chewing surfaces, pits, and fissures, where more than two thirds of tooth decay grows from. Sealants protect your teeth against decay not only directly, but by giving the tooth a smooth surface that is significantly easier to clean. Regular dental visits should include an examination of these sealants to ensure that they don’t wear down and become ineffective.
Dr. Gilbert, and the hygenists will give you a complete and thorough dental examination as part of your regular check-up. Typically, these examinations will include the following procedures:
- Digital x-rays will be taken and examined for signs of decay, cysts, or tumors, as well as careful examination of tooth and root positions.
- An oral cancer screening will be conducted, examining the patient’s neck, lips, tongue, gums, throat, and tissues for any signs of cancer.
- Gums and bone around the teeth will be examined and evaluated for signs of periodontal disease.
- The surfaces of the patient’s teeth will be examined through the use of dental equipment designed to detect tooth decay.
- Sealants, crowns, fillings, and other restorative dental work will be checked to ensure that they are still intact and functioning correctly.
Another important part of maintaining your dental hygiene is to schedule regular cleaning appointments. Such a visit will typically begin with an examination, and will be followed by:
- The removal of plaque. Plaque is a film comprised of bacteria, food particles, and saliva that adheres to the teeth and releases toxins that cause inflammation in the gums, which will lead to gum disease if left untreated.
- The removal of tartar, or calculus, a form of plaque that has been left on a tooth for too long without being treated, and has affixed itself to the tooth’s surface, becoming thick and hard. Tartar cannot be removed through normal means once it forms, and requires the use of dental equipment designed for this purpose.
- The teeth will be polished and cleaned of any stains or remaining plaque that was not removed during the brushing and scaling process.
Your appointment will conclude with a review of the condition of your teeth, and problems that need to be addressed, what you can do to keep your teeth healthy, and what treatment is recommended going forward. Dr. Gilbert places the utmost priority on helping you to find the smile you have always wanted. In the interests of that goal, it is important that you, the patient, pursue it at home with regular, thorough dental hygiene.