• Preventative Dentistry

  • PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY

     

    Preventive dental care is extremely important in maintaining a healthy mouth and beautiful teeth. Having regular preventive care is the best way to make sure your teeth last your lifetime. This saves money as well by helping you avoid having to undergo major dental procedures as things will be caught early, keeping your teeth, gums and mouth healthier. On your own you can regularly brush and floss your teeth as well as clean your tongue to keep your smile bright and healthy between visits to the dentist.

    Scheduling regular dental check ups with your dentist in Thornton is vital so that anything problematic can be found early and any tooth decay can be prevented if possible. Parents should teach their children at an early age how to take care of their teeth and get them used to visiting the dentist on a regular basis. This will enable the dentist to find any potential problems and take care of them early so that children and teens can develop a beautiful smile and have healthy teeth and gums as they grow into adulthood.

    Preventive Prophylaxis

    Prophylaxis consists of a thorough examination of your teeth and gums. This is a preventive measure to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. The procedure also involves a thorough teeth cleaning removing tartar build up in hard to reach areas of the mouth. The latest equipment is used to provide scaling, polishing and debridement when needed. Our Thornton dentist recommends very strongly that patients have their teeth professionally cleaned every six months.

    Dental Sealants

    A dental sealant is a very thin invisible plastic coating applied on the grooves on the surface of the back teeth where chewing occurs. This sealant protects them from decay. Some teeth have very deep crevices and grooves, which tend to collect germs and food particles unless they’ve been covered with a sealant. Most kids and teenagers who get cavities at an early age get them because of these food particles sticking to the surface in areas that are hard to clean.

    When our dentist in Thornton applies the dental sealant it takes very little time, is easy and pain free. First the tooth is thoroughly cleaned then a gel is applied on the chewing surface of the tooth for just a few seconds. The tooth is now washed and dried before the sealant is simply painted on the surface of the tooth. To help the sealant to harden a light is shined on it. The result is a shield on the tooth that protects it.

    Fluoride Treatments

    Fluoride is a natural mineral existing in food and water. Fluoride treatments help in the prevention of tooth decay as well as protecting the surface enamel of the teeth. Our dentist offers fluoride treatments as part of providing excellent dental care for our patients. The fluoride treatments carried out in our dental office in Thornton contain a higher concentration of fluoride to make it more effective in fighting decay and in strengthening the enamel.

    A dental sealant is a very thin plastic coating which is applied to the grooves on the surface of the back teeth where chewing occurs.

    Oral Cancer Screening

    About 37,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Only 57% of those will be alive in 5 years. The reason that oral cancer has such a low survival rate is due to it being diagnosed in late stages. It is usually found after it has metastasized. This is not because it is difficult to find but because people are not being checked for it.

    You are the most important factor in early detection of oral cancer. Although we screen for cancer when you have your teeth cleaned or when you come in for a complete exam, sometimes you will notice changes in between visits which should be evaluated.

    Signs and Symptoms

    Things to look for at home

     
    • Sore that doesn't heal in 2-3 weeks
    • Red, white or blue patch
    • Lump or thickening in cheek
    • Numbness in mouth that didn't used to be there
    • Swelling that causes dentures to fit poorly (not to be confused with a denture sore)

    These symptoms could be caused by problems which are less serious but should be checked to rule out oral cancer.

    Risk Factors

     
    • Alcohol and tobacco use
    • Human Papilloma Virus
    • Unknown (5%) -- Genetics suspected
     

    Historically, nearly 75 percent of oral cancer was related to alcohol and tobacco use and was found in the 50+ age group. Recently, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has started to change the trend. Younger, non-smokers are the fastest growing group of oral cancer patients. This means that people ages 20 and up are at risk even if they don't smoke.

     

     
    • Check face for assymetry, swelling, discoloration, ulceration
    • Palpate lymphatic chains
    • Evaluate lips (inside and out)
    • Evaluate cheeks (inside and out)
    • Evaluate tongue (both sides, and underneath)
    • Evaluate floor of mouth
    • Evaluate soft palate
    • Check tonsils
     

     

     

     

    TMJ

    TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint which is the jaw joint. It is located just anterior to the ear and connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull. Problems with the joint, referred to as TMD or temporomandibular disorder, affect many people in the United States. TMD affects more women than men.

     

    Signs and Symptoms

     
    • Sore or tight muscles of mastication (muscles used to chew)
    • Frequent headaches
    • Jaw locking open or closed
    • Clicking or popping of joint when opening or closing mouth
    • Limited opening of mouth
    • Pain when chewing

     

    TMJ Exam

     
    • Thorough history
    • Palpate muscles of mastication (chewing muscles)
    • Palpate joint (check for clicking, popping, grating)
    • Joint Loading test
    • MRI
     

    A TMJ screening is done routinely with check-up exam. We perform the complete TMJ exam on patients who suffer from TMD symptoms.

    Treatment

    Treatment is decided upon on a case by case basis but may include one or more of the following:
     
    • Occlusal Splint
    • Occlusal equilibration (adjusting bite) after a thorough occlusal evaluation
    • Medications
    • Physical therapy
    • Surgery