Alameda Dental Care Helps Patients Prevent Dental Disease
Prevention of dental disease is the most important element of your oral health. There is nothing better or healthier than your natural tooth structure. It is the mission of our entire dental team and our Tempe dentist to help you prevent decay and gum disease.
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): An important part of your comprehensive dental exam, dental x-rays allow your dental team to evaluation your oral health inside and out.
- Oral cancer screening: Using the latest technology we evaluate the soft tissues inside and outside of your mouth, as well as, your head and neck. Early detection of any abnormality provides more treatment options if something is found to be abnormal.
- Gum disease evaluation: Our hygienists are trained to evaluate the health of the supporting structures around your teeth. This periodontal screening is an essential part to the oral exam. Uncontrolled gum disease has been linked to systemic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Also, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in people over the age of 35.
- Examination of tooth decay: Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. However, it can decay when it is exposed to harmful bacteria by-products. Once a cavity starts, it will not go away on its own and it can spread to adjacent teeth. Your dentist will carefully examine your teeth and your dental x-rays for tooth decay.
- Examination of existing restorations: Even the best dental restorations can wear out over time. On average, a dental crown or filling can last up to 10+ years in the presence of good oral habits and regular professional care. We carefully check the integrity of each and every restoration and will let you know if/when it is necessary to replace or repair the restoration to maximize the functionality of the restored tooth.
Professional Dental Cleanings
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis, periodontal maintenance) are performed by a Registered Dental Hygienist. Your hygiene appointment with Alameda Dental Care will include the following:
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus (tartar) is the hard substance that forms on your teeth. It is plaque mixed with the minerals in your saliva and hardens onto the tooth structures. It forms above and below the gum-line. Your hygienist uses a combination of instruments to comfortably remove the build up from your teeth. Your toothbrush does NOT remove tartar from your teeth.
- Removal of plaque: Dental plaque is your worst enemy when it comes to dental health. It is a dangerous matrix of bacteria and debris. It is a living, invisible film that covers the teeth and can extend below the gum-line. It emits a by-product that is acidic in nature and causes tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque CAN be removed with a toothbrush and floss.
- Teeth polishing: Polishing the teeth is usually the final step of the routine dental cleaning your hygienist will perform for you. Polishing the teeth removes external stains and plaque and makes your teeth feel smooth.
Dental Radiographs (X-rays)
At Alameda Dental Care we proudly use digital radiography and all safety precautions to obtain necessary dental x-rays. This modern digital technology helps to minimize the exposure to unnecessary radiation for both our patients and our staff. We take safety seriously at Alameda Dental Care. Rest assured, we only take x-rays on our patients when we find it necessary to properly evaluate your dental condition.
Why do I need dental x-rays?
Dental x-rays can help your dentist see what the visual examination cannot reveal. Such as:
- Bone loss
- Missing or extra teeth
- TMJ problems
How often does Alameda Dental Care take dental x-rays?
Because every patient is different, we assess the need for dental x-rays on an individual basis. Your dentist and hygienist will work with you to determine the best care for your specific condition.
Generally speaking, Alameda Dental Care takes films according to the acceptable standard of care in the dental industry. We do not take x-rays based on insurance standards or frequency limits for payment.
A full set of radiographs or a panoramic x-ray is considered current if it has been taken within the last 3-5 years.
A check-up set, or “bitewing” radiographs are taken every 12 months, or, in some cases every 6 months.
What you do at home to care for your teeth is the most important part of your dental health routine. Yes, it is true, regular care with your dentist and hygienist are crucial. But, nothing is more important than your participation.
There are many tools available on the dental supply aisles of the store where you might be shopping. It can be confusing at times to know exactly what is best for your needs. Your hygienist at Alameda Dental Care will help you establish an individual dental care routine and guide you to the best tools for you! You are always the center of our care.
Tooth brushing – Most of us brush our teeth at least once a day. At Alameda Dental Care, we feel twice a day is best. Brushing in the morning and again at night is the most comprehensive brushing routine to prevent dental disease.
If you choose to use a manual toothbrush, please be sure it is a soft or extra soft bristled brush. Anything firmer can cause damage to your teeth and gum tissue that is difficult to repair. Gum recession and tooth abrasion are just two conditions that brushing with too firm of bristles can cause.
Electric tooth brushes are more effective in removing plaque and debris from your teeth and gum-line. Often, we find patient’s who use electric toothbrushes have fewer dental problems. If you have questions about which electric toothbrush would be best for you, be sure to ask us. We are always willing to help you.
Whichever toothbrush you choose to use, be sure you angle the toothbrush bristles 45 degrees towards the gum-line. This helps clean the gum pockets around the teeth as well as the tooth structure.
Flossing – We rarely meet patients who LOVE to floss. However, when we skip daily flossing we leave 35% of our tooth structure exposed to harmful bacteria. Flossing is essential to the prevention and/or control of dental diseases.
Cleaning between the teeth should be done at least daily. In addition to traditional floss, floss picks, floss holders, specialty toothpicks and inter-dental cleaners are available to assist in accomplishing complete tooth cleaning at home.
Be thorough when cleaning in between the teeth. “Hug” the floss tightly to the teeth and be sure to CAREFULLY take the floss or inter-dental cleaner under the gum tissue. If you need instructions, or if you have questions about the best dental tools for you, just ask our team.
Rinsing – Mouthwashes can be a very helpful part of your home care routine. However, it is important to remember what the mouthwash is doing for you.
Antimicrobial mouthwashes help to reduce the bacteria counts in your mouth. This means LESS harmful plaque formation not total elimination of plaque. Mouthwashes do not eliminate the need to brush and floss. Plaque is like pancake syrup. It is very sticky and cannot be removed by rinsing alone.
Fluoride rinses are used to expose your teeth to the benefits of fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that has been found to strengthen teeth and help enamel resist dental decay. Be sure you follow the directions on the fluoride product you purchase.
We always encourage open conversation with your dental health providers when you have questions about your treatment recommendations. We believe YOU should be an active participant in your care.
Call (480) 351-0105 today, to schedule your preventative care dental appointment.