Preventive Dentistry, Diagnostic & Periodic Care
Preventive dental care provides the opportunity to identify the potential for problems in order to prevent tooth decay, early tooth loss, gum disease, and local or systemic infections. Radiographs or “x-rays” allow us to view structures, disease and defects between the teeth and under the gums and are recommended to repeat yearly. Also known computerized digital radiography, it requires 90% less radiation than conventional film techniques. The image is then viewed on a computer monitor and is easier to interpret than conventional x-ray film. The sensors record images instantly without waiting for film to develop and is environmentally friendly. Developing cavities, destruction inside the tooth including the nerve/pulp/root, gum disease, ligament attachment and bone disease can be visualized for diagnosis and treatment planning.
Daily brushing and flossing will help to keep harmful plaque and calculus formation to a minimum, but it won’t completely prevent it. The average adult has 32 permanent teeth including wisdom teeth. Impacted teeth that have never erupted into the oral cavity must be carefully evaluated by a dentist as other pathology may develop inside the gums or jaw that remains nonvisible. Children have 20 primary teeth that must be carefully maintained. They allow for mastication of food, development of speech and a pathway for permanent dentition to follow for proper eruption. Infected teeth can cause significant pain and illness. The American Dental Association recommends a professional dental cleaning at least twice a year is necessary to remove calculus and plaque from places your toothbrush and floss may have missed. The purpose of flossing is two-fold: to clean between teeth and to remove debris from under the gum line as well as identify other disease entities that may be developing. If you’re like most people, you neglect the necessary tooth task of flossing and leave behind more than 300 types of destructive bacteria that make up plaque and tartar.
You probably know by now that excessive plaque will cause gum disease, known as gingivitis. And this inflammation isn’t limited to the mouth. High levels of bacteria seep into pockets between the teeth and gums which produces toxins that continue to promote the disease, both externally and internally.
This chronic infection facilitates the bacteria’s journey to your arteries, where it can hang out and cause further inflammation and a different kind of plaque accumulation – a dangerous combination that often results in atherosclerosis. Studies demonstrate that including flossing as part of your oral care routine can actually help reduce the amount of periodontal disease-causing bacteria found in the mouth, therefore contributing to healthy teeth and gums. While there’s no study that can definitively prove how many years can be added to your life by flossing, some believe a full 6 years is an accurate estimate.
So, the moral of the story: massive amounts of oral bacteria can lead to serious heart disease, so floss, be healthy and visit your dentist & hygienist twice per year.