During a dental exam, your dentist or hygienist will also ask about any health problems you may have. This will include any medications you're taking. This is to discuss how they might affect your oral health. If you have diabetes, for example, you're at increased risk of gum disease. Any medication that contributes to dry mouth can increase your risk of tooth decay. For example, If arthritis interferes with your ability to effectively brush your teeth. Your dentist or hygienist might show you how to insert the handle of your toothbrush into a rubber ball for easier use. We may also recommend a powered or electric toothbrush. Some people have prosthetic replacements such as dentures or bridges. Your dentist or hygienist will examine how well they fit and discuss if they need adjustments. Dental exams might also include counseling about diet, use of tobacco products and other lifestyle factors that can affect oral health.
The dental x-rays we take in our offices are an important part of evaluating your overall oral health. We take x-rays during your visit, so your dentist can immediately see what is happening under the surface of your teeth and gums during treatment. Children require x-rays more often than adults because their teeth and jaws are still developing and their teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay. If you are a new patient, we may recommend a dental x-ray to see how you're doing now. This will also help identify changes that may occur later. Dental x-rays can help us identify problems that otherwise would not be seen. Finding and treating those problems early can save you time, money and unnecessary discomfort later on.
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. Fluoride is applied directly to teeth and absorbed by the surface of the teeth. Professionally administered topical fluorides such as foams, gels or varnishes are applied by a dentist and left on for a few minutes, usually during a cleaning treatment.
The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult to clean. This will make it difficult to get the bacteria and food out. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments.
Fillings may be used to address cracked or chipped teeth. However, fillings are most commonly used to repair cavities. Cavities develop when a substance called plaque, which forms from saliva, bacteria, acid, and food pieces, builds up in the mouth. Plaque tends to stick to teeth, where it slowly erodes the surface until holes, or cavities, are formed. Before inserting a filling, the decayed part of the tooth is removed. The filling is then added to fill the void created by the removal of the decayed area.
A pulpotomy/pulpectomy is the partial or complete removal of nerve tissue from inside the tooth that has been contaminated with bacteria from a deep cavity or as a complication from a traumatic injury. A soothing medication is placed inside the tooth before the final restoration is placed. The crown is then placed.
A space maintainer is an appliance that is custom-made by a dentist or orthodontist in acrylic or metal material. It can be either removable or cemented in a child's mouth. Its purpose is to keep the space open to allow the permanent tooth to erupt and come into place.
During dental visits some children may be given nitrous oxide/oxygen. It is also known as laughing gas. We use this to relax the child for their dental treatment. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask which is placed over the child’s nose, allowing them to relax. This does not put them to sleep. The gas is mild, easily taken, then with normal breathing. It is quickly eliminated from the body. It is non-addictive. While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes.