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Prevention is always better than treatment. By actively preventing disease and decay through regular home care, professional dental cleanings and regular exams, you will maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.
In addition, effective prevention can help you avoid costly treatments in the future to remove decay, restore teeth and treat gum disease. Regular prevention is truly your best investment.
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Additional articles through the American Academy of Periodontology:
It all starts at home.
Adequate home care is imperative if you want to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile and prevent costly dental treatment in the future. The goal of home care is to regularly remove the sticky film of bacteria called plaque from your teeth.
Brush your teeth three times a day after meals using a soft tooth brush. Gently vibrate the brush in a circular fashion at a 45 degree angle to the gum line. Then move the brush in a circular motion, flicking the bristles away from your gums. You should also brush your tongue to remove the bacteria that cause bad breath.
You can use any soft bristled, ADA approved tooth brush. We also recommend the use of modern electric tooth brushes such as Sonicare and Braun.
Floss daily to remove plaque between teeth that you can’t reach with regular brushing. Take 12“ to 18” of dental floss and wrap it around the middle finger of each hand. Pull the floss tightly, and then use your thumb and forefingers to slide the floss gently between each set of teeth. Curve the floss around each tooth and move the floss up and down along the tooth, going as low as you can comfortably get under the gum line. Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth until you have flossed the entire mouth.
Always rinse thoroughly with water after brushing (or after meals if you are unable to brush.) You may occasionally use a mouthwash to rinse.
The prevention of disease.
Professional cleanings (dental prophylaxis) performed by a certified dental hygienist form the foundation for preventing gum disease and tooth decay. In a professional cleaning, your hygienist will do their best to:
Dental examinations help to diagnose disease before it becomes hazardous to your health. In addition, regular examinations can save you money by alleviating problems while they are small and before they become expensive to repair, or in some cases, impossible to repair. Your dental examinations generally include the following:
We cannot express enough how important it is to see your dentist regularly. Remember, preventing disease is always better than treating disease.
Metrowest Family Dental uses both digital radiograph technology and conventional radiographs in our office. Dental radiographs are very important. They allow the dentist to see things about your oral health that cannot be seen by the naked eye. These items include cysts (sacks of fluid that form on the roots of teeth), cancerous and non-cancerous tumors, invisible decay that occurs between teeth, and the location of teeth that haven’t grown all the way in.
By using digital radiography to diagnose these problems, we can help save you money in the long run from surgeries or other treatments that might become necessary if we didn’t find the problem. In some cases, where dental radiographs show the location of tumorous growths, radiographs can be responsible for saving your life.
Digital dental radiograph equipment is very safe. We use only state-of-the-art, low radiation machines. By using digital technology, patients are exposed to much lower levels of radiation. The amount of radiation exposure your body receives on an airplane flight from Los Angeles to New York exceeds the amount of exposure you will receive from a modern dental radiograph machine. Contrast this minimal exposure with the risk of not finding an illness until it is too late, and you can see why we prescribe regular diagnostic radiographs.
Digital technology is safe not only for our patients, but also for our community because there are no chemicals or lead wrapper waste to dispose of into the environment.
Protect the chewing surface of teeth from decay.
Normal pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth can trap food that can’t be removed by brushing or washed out by water or saliva. A sealant is a tough, plastic material designed to bond (stick) to tooth enamel. These clear or tooth colored sealants are painted onto the tooth surface to “seal” the pits and grooves and protect against decay. They are generally applied to children’s first permanent back teeth. The best time to apply sealants is when the tooth first erupts in the oral cavity. They can also be useful for adults in certain situations.
Dental Sealants are an excellent way to protect chewing surfaces of teeth from decay. They are a much better financial investment than treating decay after it has started.
Sealants are not permanent. They generally last about two to four years with normal wear, but can wear off or chip off earlier in certain instances. Also, dental sealants do not prevent decay between teeth or the onset of gum disease, so regular home care and dental visits are important.
There are no appropriate alternatives to dental sealants. If a tooth has decay, it will need a filling or other restoration.