The best preventive dentistry is a partnership between you, Dr. Powell, and our dental team. Together, we can work toward two important parts of good dental care:
- Keeping your mouth healthy with general and preventive dentistry
- Addressing any oral health conditions that arise with general, restorative, and prosthetic dentistry
The first step, keeping your mouth healthy, has much to do with preventing dental disease and injuries. While some preventive dental tactics are important for patients of all ages, others target people in certain phases of life.
Thorough Dental Checkups
When children’s first teeth erupt, a visit to the dentist is in order. However, your little ones will only need yearly checkups until age three to five, unless you notice abnormalities in their oral health, in which case you should schedule a visit to our office. Everyone over age four needs to visit us twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
Before a cleaning, we conduct a thorough checkup, which is an evaluation of all the hard and soft tissues in your mouth, as well as an examination of your head, neck, and jaw joints. The dentist will look for decay, failing dental work, cracks/fractures, chips, or infection in teeth. She’ll inspect your gums for signs of disease or recession. Every year, we like to take x-rays, because they allow us to see potential dental problems that aren’t visible to the human eye. We can see tiny cracks on teeth, called crazing, that may contribute to toothaches and decay formation. In addition, x-rays allow Dr. Powell to evaluate the areas between teeth, teeth roots, the internal root canals, and the jaw. She can see infection and abscesses that would not be possible to view without x-rays.
A good conversation with you, about your dental habits, concerns, and any pain you have, will help Dr. Powell create a treatment plan that will suit your needs and accomplish your goals, while restoring optimal oral health and comfort to your mouth. If you’re interested in whitening, straightening, or changing the look of your teeth, ask about cosmetic dentistry when you come in for a checkup.
Comprehensive Dental Cleanings
If you do not have gum disease, the hygienist can clean your teeth following your appointment. Please be sure to schedule a cleaning when you schedule your checkup, so we can set aside time to accommodate you. A regular dental cleaning entails removing all plaque, tartar (calcified plaque), and food debris from on and between your teeth. Plaque is a naturally occurring substance made of bacteria and saliva, and it helps build up your immune system. We must control plaque, however, or it can get out of control and cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Dental cleanings allow us to remove the calcified plaque that you cannot remove at home.
Should we find that you have developed periodontal pockets, which are little envelopes of infection at the base of teeth, in the gums, you will need a deep cleaning, rather than a regular cleaning. Deep cleanings require more time and, in some cases, multiple visits to complete. Periodontal pockets indicate that you have gum disease. This chronic condition will only worsen without treatment, so if you need a deep cleaning, don’t postpone your appointment.
Fluoride & Sealants
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral with the superpower of attracting phosphorus and calcium, two important minerals that strengthen tooth enamel against bacterial decay. While children benefit from ingesting fluoride during childhood, adults whose teeth have fully developed gain no benefit from ingested fluoride. Topically applied, fluoride can help the cavity-fighting power of tooth enamel for both adults and kids.
Dental sealants are usually reserved for children. Kids have a tough time cleaning molars, because they’re so far back in the mouth. Food particles, plaque, and bacteria love molars, because they’re hard to clean and provide a warm, dark, moist environment. To reduce a child’s risk for tooth decay on molars, we can apply resin dental sealants. These safe, protective barriers will wear off naturally over time. The application process takes mere minutes, and sealants can keep your child from having to endure dental fillings or crowns for decayed back teeth.
Another way we work with patients to prevent dental problems is by providing custom-fitted mouth guards. We suggest anyone who plays a sport, regardless of age, wear a mouth guard during practice and games. Even gymnasts, cyclists, and cheerleaders should wear mouth guards to protect teeth and gums during activities. Some mouth guards also protect against concussions.
Mouth guards are also available to treat snoring, TMJ disorder, and teeth grinding.
Schedule Your Preventive Dentistry Appointment
If you don’t have a general dentist for preventive checkups and cleanings, or you’d like a dentist who’ll treat your whole family, give us a call today at 623-233-6236 to schedule your appointment. Located in Surprise, AZ, our family dental office is accepting new patients.