Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is particularly true in dental health. Our hygiene department concentrates on preventing both tooth decay and gum disease for a lifetime of good health.
That starts with regularly removing plaque from teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that covers teeth. After eating, that bacteria converts sugar to acid. The acid then attacks the tooth’s hard outer shell (enamel). Repeated attacks eat through the enamel, causing a hole or cavity. Brushing and flossing correctly twice a day, along with routine dental cleanings, can prevent this from happening.
Dr. Vessel and her staff advocate seeing patients at least every six months, starting around three years of age. This timeframe enables our team to spot unhealthy trends and habits before any disease has time to cause major destruction. A dental cleaning every six months can prevent gum (periodontal) disease, among many other issues and diseases.
A large part of every teeth cleaning is education, and our hygienist specializes in oral hygiene instruction. For example, when treating children, she uses a disclosing agent that temporarily changes the color of plaque so the young patient can see where it is on his or her teeth.
To help prevent cavities in some patients, our office often uses a fluoride varnish after the cleaning. Fluoride is a mineral found in water that protects teeth from cavities. Though fluoride is in water, everyone benefits from a biannual application of the varnish. In addition to fluoride varnishes, we sell specialty fluoride products, including ClinPro Paste and PerioMed mouth rinse (.63% stannous fluoride). In older adults and in patients undergoing chemotherapy, we may fabricate custom fluoride trays with prescription-strength fluorides.
In addition to fluoride as well as brushing and flossing correctly, our office may recommend a sealant(s). Sealants are a clear plastic or resin coating placed on the chewing surfaces of back teeth, where decay most often occurs. This coating acts as a barrier to the plaque and acid that cause cavities.
Our office also fabricates custom athletic mouthguards, which reduce damage from sports-related trauma. In people who have extensive dental work, our office may recommend and fabricate a custom, hard night guard to reduce any grinding and clenching that may destroy dental restorations.