Preventative dental treatments, also known as prophylaxis, are intended to maintain your oral health by taking specific actions to prevent common oral health conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease. The ultimate goal of preventative dental care is to minimize the occurrence of dental problems and to avoid the need for invasive dental procedures. Preventative dental care consists of regular dental checkups, cleanings, fluoride treatments, laser-assisted soft tissue screenings, for both benign and malignant lesions, laser-assisted hard tissue screenings, for early identification of initial decay, fractures within the tooth or existing restoration, and addressing problems such as tooth sensitivity, bleeding gums, and discolorations on the teeth. We take preventative procedures seriously, in our office we are constantly searching for new and innovative products and technologies that can help our patients stay healthy.
Sensitive teeth produce a sharp, deep pain when exposed to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages. Two common causes of sensitive teeth are worn enamel or exposed tooth roots. Depending on your individual case, your dentist may recommend one or more of the following treatments for sensitive teeth:
- Desensitizing toothpaste: is a specialized toothpaste that exists in OTC, prescription, or professional grade forms. It contains specific ingredients that help to reduce tooth sensitivity or address other oral discomfort.
- Fluoride: fluoride is used to strengthen the tooth enamel and may be applied to certain areas of worn enamel to reduce pain. You may also receive a prescription for fluoride treatments to apply at home.
- Dental bonding: in the case of exposed tooth roots, your dentist may suggest a treatment known as dental bonding, which bonds composite resin to the exposed tooth roots in order to prevent tooth sensitivity.
- Surgical gum graft: some cases of exposed tooth roots can also be treated by taking gum tissue from another area of the mouth and grafting it to areas where gum recession has occurred.
Discolorations on the Teeth
White chalky spots on the surface of your teeth are signs of demineralization or excessive fluoride content inside the enamel. Demineralization is the earliest sign of tooth decay. Known as incipient cavities, these white spots are areas on the enamel that have been damaged by decay-causing bacteria but are not yet decayed. At this stage, fluoride can often be used to remineralize the enamel and reverse the damage. Additionally, your dentist may recommend one or more of the following:
- ICON: this is a new, revolutionary approach to treating incipient cavities that works by filling and reinforcing demineralized enamel without the need for drills or anesthesia. After the surface of the tooth has been slightly etched, the resin infiltrant is applied and left to soak into the tooth for about 3 minutes. This resin infiltrant is designed for rapid penetration into the enamel and will remineralize the surrounding structure.
In most cases, bleeding gums are caused by infections, bacterial overload on mucosal surfaces in groves between teeth and surrounding gum, or periodontal pockets of inflammation as the body responds to persisting bacterial presence. Gingivitis can be severe, while periodontitis can be mild. Therefore gum-related conditions can be located entirely in soft tissues, which is reversible. However, with the involvement of the bone underlying, infected, and inflamed soft tissues it’s often irreversible. This can cause bone loss and also loss of teeth support inside the jaw. Gum disease is characterized by a number of progressive symptoms such as bleeding gums, deep gum pockets, gum recession, bone loss, and eventual tooth loss in its most severe forms.