How Preventive Appointments Keep Your Smile Healthy
Preventive hygiene appointments (every six months) elevate your and your family’s oral health and total well-being and are the foundation of preventive care. The perfect complement to twice-daily brushing and flossing, prophylaxis (also known as teeth cleanings) brightens your smile, prevents cavities, and detects potential issues—like tooth decay, gum disease, fractures, and oral cancer—in their earliest stages.
At each preventive appointment, a dental hygienist will carefully remove plaque buildup on and between your teeth to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Each one of your teeth will then be polished to lighten stains and create a brighter sheen.
From missing or discolored, chipped teeth to more procedure-intensive dental issues, Dr. Monroe can offer you a variety of options to remake your smile.
A topical fluoride treatment is a concentrated dose of fluoride that is held in the mouth for a few minutes before spitting and rinsing. By being absorbed directly into the tooth’s surface, topical fluoride treatments promote remineralization and make teeth more resistant to the acidic byproduct that causes tooth decay. Treatments are especially beneficial for children, adults with crowns or recent cavities, and anyone experiencing dry mouth or gum recession.
After your professional cleaning, Dr. Monroe will thoroughly examine your teeth, gums, and soft tissue and screen for tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, fractures, and oral cancer. Dr. Monroe will also offer practical advice on at-home dental hygiene and advise you of any necessary dental treatments you may need to ensure the best health of your mouth and teeth.
Optional Cosmetic Assessment
If you desire to improve the appearance of your smile, Dr. Monroe is happy to listen to your goals, understand your concerns, and offer potential treatments that can help you achieve the beautiful smile you seek.
Prevent Dental Issues at Every Age with General Dentistry
No matter what age you are, your oral health is directly connected to the health of your whole body. Poor oral health has been linked to serious health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer. Prioritizing good oral health with at-home oral hygiene and routine preventative dental visits is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and your family. By preventing dental issues and detecting problems early, visiting the dentist every six months can help ensure you and your family experience great oral and overall health at every age.
To set the stage for a lifetime of oral health, preventative care is essential for children of all ages. Following the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Monroe recommends bringing your child in for their first dental visit by their 1st birthday, or within six months of cutting their first tooth.
- Baby Teeth. Preventative care helps preserve baby (deciduous) teeth, which are essential for your child’s health and development. Baby teeth help your child chew, enunciate and speak, in addition to holding space in the jaws for permanent (adult) teeth. When a baby tooth is lost prematurely due to damage or decay, permanent teeth are more likely to be crooked or crowded.
- Permanent Teeth. Preventative dental care can help keep your child’s permanent teeth strong and healthy through adolescence and into adulthood. Though tooth decay is largely preventable, it affects up to two-thirds of adolescents and is one of the most common diseases of childhood. Preventative treatments such as topical fluoride and dental sealants can help prevent cavities and tooth decay, while age-appropriate dental education can help inspire and inform your child to care for their oral health every day.
For a lifetime of good oral health benefits, make preventative dental care a regular part of your and your family’s regular self-care strategy. In addition to maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine, contact our office today to schedule your next regular dental checkup and preventive appointment.
Preventative dental care ensures that you have healthy teeth, gums, and jaws throughout your entire lifetime. Neglecting preventative care can lead to a host of dental issues and health concerns that are largely avoidable through routine care.
- Tooth Decay. After the common cold, tooth decay is the second most prevalent disease in the world. More than 90 percent of adults between 20 and 64 years old have had at least one cavity, while 27 percent have untreated tooth decay. Untreated tooth decay can lead to serious consequences including pain, severe infection, poor overall health, tooth loss, and the need for more extensive restorative procedures.
- Periodontal (Gum) Disease. If early stages of periodontal disease (gingivitis) are left untreated, a more serious infection (known as periodontitis) may develop, causing jawbone damage, loose teeth, and tooth loss. Affecting over half the adult population in the United States, gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults over 35.
- Oral Cancer. Almost 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with cancers of the mouth or throat every year. Oral cancer is best treated when it’s caught early. As your primary oral health care provider, Dr. Monroe offers this potentially life-saving screening as part of your regular oral health exam.
- TMJ Issues. Bite irregularities and bruxism (tooth grinding or clenching) can cause issues with the joints of your jaw (the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ). If left untreated, TMJ issues can cause a long list of uncomfortable and disruptive symptoms, including jaw pain, broken teeth, difficulty chewing, headaches, and locking of the jaw.
- Fractures. When undetected or left untreated, hairline fractures or worn-down fillings can cause painful breaks that make your tooth more vulnerable to more extensive tooth decay. This compromised tooth structure may require invasive restorative procedures, such as root canal treatment and full-crown placement.
Bite Guards & Night Guards
Your jaws are capable of producing tremendous force. In fact, your second molars have an average bite force of 270 pounds! While this force is very useful for chewing food, grinding or clenching your teeth (known as bruxism) when you’re stressed or sleeping can lead to many undesirable symptoms, including:
- Worn-down or fractured teeth
- Broken crowns or fillings
- Tooth or bite sensitivity
- Facial pain
- Pain, stiffness, or soreness in the jaw joints (temporomandibular joints, or TMJs) or jaw muscles
- Disrupted sleep
If left untreated, the disruptive effects of bruxism can wreak havoc on your oral health, stress levels, and daily functioning. Dr. Monroe is devoted to detecting bruxism early to prevent future tooth wear and possible cracks that can lead to temperature sensitivity and biting sensitivity.
Bite Guards for Bruxism Relief
A bite guard is a cost-effective solution for finding relief from bruxism symptoms, protecting your teeth from future damage, and addressing bite issues without the costly commitment to an irreversible orthodontic treatment. Bite guards also decrease joint compression in the temporomandibular joint. Based on your unique situation and needs, Dr. Monroe may prescribe one of the following custom-made dental appliances:
- Acrylic Bite Guard. Made of clear, durable plastic, an acrylic bite guard is a removable dental appliance that reliably protects your teeth and dental restorations from the damaging effects of clenching and grinding.
- E-Appliance (Eubank Laboratories). Designed to stabilize the structures of the masticatory (chewing) system, an E-Appliance is a removable bite guard that is used to help relieve jaw and facial pain, prevent orthodontic relapse, and protect teeth and restorations from damage, wear, and breakdown.
If you are experiencing or think you’re experiencing bruxism, contact our office to schedule an appointment, find relief, and protect your one and only set of teeth.