A big part of preventive dentistry is patient education. Our mouths are full of bacteria, some of which can be harmful and play a role in the process of tooth decay. Whenever we eat or drink something that contains sugar or other simple carbohydrates, the bacteria feed and produce acids. When your teeth are frequently exposed to these acids, it can cause enamel erosion. This process is known as demineralization. These minerals are also replenished on a daily basis through the process of remineralization. When demineralization occurs at a faster rate than remineralization, the tooth will begin to decay. When the damage becomes permanent, it is known as a cavity. Our dentists and the rest of our team are experts on the matter and are happy to answer any questions you may have during your appointment.
While it can vary from patient to patient, most experts agree, one visit to the dentist every six months is ideal. During a routine appointment, you will experience a professional cleaning and dental exam. The exam itself is a form of preventative dentistry. During a routine exam our dentists will look for signs of decay, gum disease, and will determine the type of professional cleaning needed. Read more about Dental Exams.
While brushing and flossing helps to eliminate plaque and bacteria buildup from the surfaces of your teeth, there may be certain areas of your mouth that you may not be able to access very well, or at all. Even if you brush and floss every day, it is still possible to develop issues like cavities and gum disease. With professional cleanings, we can access the more difficult to reach places of your mouth. Read more about Dental Cleanings.
One way we combat the process of demineralization is fluoride treatment. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water and certain foods. At Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry we can apply fluoride to the teeth in a varnish form. Fluoride varnishes are painted directly onto the teeth using a brush. This treatment contains a much higher concentration of fluoride than toothpaste and other store-bought products.
While it is important for all patients to be exposed to fluoride, children and individuals with a high decay risk have the most to gain. Healthy gums and teeth are important to your oral and overall health. Fluoride treatments have been proven to significantly reduce the rate of cavities and strengthen enamel.
Cavities are a common issue for kids. They often struggle to thoroughly brush their teeth properly. They may rush through the motions to get back to something more fun. Alternatively, it may just be a struggle to get your kid to brush at all. Improper brushing can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria on the surfaces of their teeth. Read more about Sealants for Kids.
Dental sealants are another way we can combat tooth decay. A dental sealant is a plastic coating that is placed on the chewing surface of a child’s permanent molars and premolars. The chewing surfaces of these teeth can be difficult to clean, especially for children. The deep grooves can trap food debris and bacteria, leading to cavities. A sealant not only protects the tooth from the acids in bacteria, but it also fills the grooves and makes the tooth easier to clean. Read more about Sealants for Adults.
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If you are interested in our preventive services, call Tulsa: (539) 302-3266 Claremore: (918) 343-4300, and schedule your appointment today!