PREVENTIVE

 Preventive Dentistry

Preventive Dentistry

The standard oral care routine consists of brushing, flossing, and rinsing daily. While this regimen can help you maintain your oral health, there is a lot more involved to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. Since brushing is so critical, you need to be mindful of your technique and how often you brush. The same thing goes with flossing since there’s a right way to do it. You should also think about cutting out excessive sugars, which can lead to cavities and other oral issues. At Peabody Dental Care, we use state-of-the-art, non-surgical treatments, including the use of dental lasers, to treat your gums and bring them to optimum health.

Home Care

A good home care routine is critical to ensuring optimal oral health. Although each patient is different, you must practice good oral hygiene – which means brushing at least twice daily and flossing once a day. Based on your needs, Dr. Peabody might suggest additional steps you can take to improve your health.

Brushing

The first step of a healthy mouth is brushing. Regular brushing removes debris, plaque, tartar, germs, and acids that can build up and damage your teeth. Brushing also minimizes the appearance of stains to leave teeth whiter and brighter.

Flossing

Beyond brushing, flossing keeps your teeth healthier and cleaner and can go where bristles cannot reach. Dental floss effectively gets in-between teeth to remove even more food and debris that’s left behind.

Flossing Facts

  • Flossing before brushing is more effective since it releases more debris that you can brush away.
  • When you floss regularly, you can prevent plaque from hardening and becoming tartar.
  • You should never reuse a piece of floss since it contains bacteria.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a mineral that’s naturally-occurring in the teeth and bones. Dentists recommend fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities, minimize the accumulation of bacteria, and strengthen enamel.

During an exam, your dentist can also provide a topical fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth. Depending on your oral health, you might need fluoride every three, six, or 12 months.

Plaque

Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the teeth and appears clear or pale yellow. It forms on the teeth constantly despite regular brushing and flossing. The combination of germs, food, saliva, and acids build up on the gum line and can cause major oral health problems.

 

Plaque can damage and weaken teeth due to bacteria that can penetrate the enamel. As time goes on, the bacteria can affect the deeper layers of the tooth, which can lead to cavities and even gum disease. Left untreated, these issues can even lead to tooth loss.

Oral Exam

An oral exam is a comprehensive assessment of a patient’s entire mouth, including the teeth, gums, jaw joints, and supporting bone. During the exam, the dentist uses advanced diagnostic tools to determine if you have any underlying problems that require treatment.

Oral Cancer Screening

During an oral cancer screening, Dr. Peabody checks your mouth for the presence of any precancerous or cancerous growths. The earlier that cancer is discovered, the better your chances of having a favorable outcome. While the screening is usually performed during a routine check-up, it can be done whenever it is considered necessary.

Routine Dental Cleanings

During teeth cleanings in our office, we remove the plaque and tartar that normal brushing and flossing can’t reach. The more debris, food, bacteria, and acids that are eliminated from the mouth, the healthier the mouth.

Digital X-Rays

Digital x-rays are a modern version of traditional radiographs. Today, sensors are used instead of film. These images are clearer and more effective for accurate diagnoses. Additionally, less radiation is involved, which makes digital x-rays safer.

Tooth Polishing

To ensure your teeth look their best, tooth polishing is an effective procedure to leave them glossy and smooth. Not only does it improve the appearance of your teeth but can even make them healthier since it removes harmful, cavity-causing biofilm.

Digital Panoramic X-Rays

A digital panoramic x-ray captures the entire mouth, including the teeth, gums, and jawbone, in one single image. It can show the dentist if there are any tumors, cysts, infections, or impacted teeth.

Intraoral Camera

During your examination, your dentist might use an intraoral camera. This specialized diagnostic tool takes images while inside of your mouth. The camera produces clear photos to give the dentist a better view of your oral health.

 

 

Scaling & Root Planing

Deep Cleaning

Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning treatment used to remove plaque and tartar above and below the gum line. This is a common treatment used for patients with gum disease. Your dentist can measure the severity of the disease by measuring the depth of pockets in your gums. If the pockets are too deep, Dr. Peabody might suggest scaling and root planing.

What’s Involved With a Root Planing Procedure?

Scaling and root planing is a two-step procedure. First, the dentist administers local anesthesia to numb the treatment area. The first step is scaling where the dentist removes all the plaque and tartar that’s above and below the gum line down to the pocket. Next, your tooth roots are smoothed to minimize rough areas. Since bacteria, tartar and plaque are attracted to rough areas, smoothing the surfaces prevent germs from re-adhering. You will need to visit your dentist for follow-up appointments to check on how your gums are healing and to see if your pockets are reduced in size.

Sealants: Added Protection Against Tooth Decay

To protect against tooth decay, sealants provide a barrier against bacteria and debris. This simple procedure involves placing a thin coating on the surface of teeth. Sealants are typically placed on the back teeth since they can be more susceptible to cavities, and they can be harder to brush and floss effectively.

 

This quick procedure is painless and begins with the dentist cleaning and drying your tooth. A gel is then applied to your tooth to prep it. The gel is removed, and the dentist dries the tooth again before applying the sealant. Finally, a light hardens the sealant to complete the process and protect cavities from forming.

How Long Do Tooth Sealants Last?

On average, sealants can last up to nine years, but every patient’s experience varies. Since the treatment is common with children, they can fall out right along with baby teeth. Sealants can also loosen on their own over time and might require replacement to further keep your teeth protected.

Gum Disease

About Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection that affects the gums and is typically caused by the build-up of plaque, which can be caused by poor oral care habits. Bacteria and acids accumulate on the teeth and gums and erode and damage the teeth. Untreated gum disease progressively gets worse and can eventually lead to tooth loss.

 

Some of the symptoms include:

 

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen, tender, or painful gums
  • Pain when chewing
  • Red or purple gums
  • Receding gums

 

To minimize the chance of gum disease, it’s important to brush and floss daily. Patients also should visit their dentist regularly to evaluate the gums and overall oral health. As soon as Dr. Peabody sees any signs of the infection, he can customize a treatment plan to ensure you achieve the best outcomes.

Periodontal Health Effects

Gum disease is serious and can cause a variety of health issues, including loose and missing teeth. Several studies have linked periodontal disease with conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders like arthritis. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and affect other organs.

Stages Of Gum Disease

  • Gingivitis: This is the first stage of periodontal disease and is caused by too much plaque left on the teeth and gums. While there usually isn’t any pain associated with gingivitis, the gums might bleed. If you get treatment soon enough and maintain good oral hygiene, you can reverse this stage and prevent gum disease from advancing.
  • Periodontitis: Bacteria has become more prevalent and has reached the supporting bone, causing further damage. At this point, your dentist might want to perform scaling and root planing. When gum disease advances to this stage, the condition is manageable, but not curable.
  • Advanced Periodontal Disease: This is the last stage where the infection leads to pain, discomfort, bleeding gums, loosened teeth, bone loss, pus, and more. Patients might need surgery to get deep in the pockets of the gums to clean out the harmful bacteria.

 

Receive compassionate care from our Santa Cruz, CA dental team. Our doctors and hygienists are highly skilled professionals and will be an integral part of your ongoing oral health.

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