Preventative Dentistry

Professional Dental Cleanings and Examinations
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria, commonly known as plaque, accumulate on the surfaces of teeth. These bacteria feed on the sugars in food and produce acid as a byproduct. This acid can start to dissolve the enamel or outer surface of teeth. If plaque continues to accumulate and is not removed, cavities can develop over time. Preventative dentistry can prevent the process of tooth decay, the routine removal of plaque by a dental professional is recommended every 4-6 months.

Fluoride Treatments
A professional dental application of fluoride is highly recommended for patients of all ages. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that makes teeth less susceptible to decay. Fluoride can even reverse the early stages of tooth decay by remineralizing enamel. When applied topically to the outer surface of teeth, fluoride adds a protective shield that helps counter the acidic breakdown of sugars by bacteria.

In children, fluoride is incorporated into the structure of developing teeth making them stronger and less susceptible to cavities. Over 90% of Ohioans are serviced by a fluoridated community water system. If your home is serviced by well or spring water, be sure to have it tested for fluoride content to ensure your family is receiving an appropriate amount of fluoride.

Your oral health depends on several factors, preventative dentistry can help identify these. Fluoride intake from toothpaste, mouthwash, water, food, and professional dental applications can affect your dental health. Drinking bottled water with no or low fluoride content can contribute to tooth decay if you are not receiving adequate amounts of fluoride from alternative sources. A professional dental cleaning and fluoride application will help remove plaque and protect teeth from decay.

Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a “deep” cleaning that thoroughly removes calculus and plaque that has built up on the surfaces of teeth due to periodontitis. Periodontitis is inflammation of the tissues around teeth and can cause the gums and bone to recede leading to the loosening of teeth. The goal of scaling and root planing is to reduce the inflammation of the tissues around your teeth so that you can prevent tooth loss and better maintain a healthy mouth.

Periodontal Maintenance
Periodontal maintenance is a more frequent cleaning typically following scaling and root planing. Periodontal maintenance is recommended every 3-4 months to ensure the proper health of the tissues around your teeth. The root surfaces beneath the gums are difficult to keep clean so a periodontal maintenance program will help keep these areas free of calculus and plaque deposits.

Dental Radiographs or X-rays
Periodically, dental radiographs are requested to ensure the proper health of the teeth, gums, and bone. “Bitewing” radiographs are useful to detect cavities that are not easily perceptible when the dentist does an oral examination. Decay often occurs where adjacent teeth touch and these are more readily detected with bitewing radiographs.

The roots of teeth and surrounding bone are examined by “periapical” radiographs. These are useful during root canal therapy or when examining for an infection in the tooth or gums.

“Panoramic” radiographs provide the dentist with a great deal of information that can significantly impact your dental and overall health. In children and adolescents, a panoramic x-ray is used to assess the timing, eruption, or absence of permanent teeth as well as information about the 3rd molars or wisdom teeth. Panoramic radiographs also provide essential diagnostic information in terms of oral pathology and malignancies of the oral cavity.