We are proud to provide you with the latest technology in digital radiography (x-ray) for the highest quality of dental care available.
Digital radiography (digital x-ray) is the latest technology used to take dental x-rays. This technique uses an electronic sensor that captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed and enlarged helping the dentist and dental hygienist detect problems easier. Digital x-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.
Dental x-rays are diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Even though digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, dentists still take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation. These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are necessary and using lead apron shields to protect the body.
How often will xrays be taken?
We will work within the limits of your insurance to determine how often xrays will be taken. Typically, most insurances allow bitewings every 6 months, every year, or every 2 years depending on the plan. Full mouth xrays (xrays of every tooth in your mouth) and Panorex xrays are typically allowed by insurance every 3 years but can range as high as every 5 years. Insurance typically allows xrays of individual teeth at any time.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
· Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
· Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
· Teeth polishing: Removes stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
Treatment of Periodonal Disease with Root Planing and Scaling (also known as deep cleaning)
Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment. Periodontal disease progresses as the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth.
Mild Periodontal Disease
If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, a full mouth debridement (a cleaning procedure that takes longer than a typical cleaning) will be performed. The full mouth debridement will then be followed by a regular cleaning 4-6 weeks later. You will also be given instructions on how to improve your daily oral hygiene habits. It is recommended that patients return for routine dental cleanings every 6 months to prevent mild periodontal disease from re-occurring.
Moderate to Severe Periodontal Disease
If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) will be recommended. It is usually performed on one quadrant of the mouth at a time while the area is numb. In this procedure, tartar and plaque are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planing). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and enables pockets to shrink back. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing. It is recommended that patients return every 3-4 months for routine periodontal maintenance (cleanings) after the deep cleaning is completed. If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planning, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean. Your dentist may also recommend that you see a Periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone).
A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.
Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years. Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or dental hygienist. The process is painless and takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.
The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light.
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
· Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
· Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
· Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.
· Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
· Inadequate exposure to fluorides.
· Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.
· Recent history of dental decay.