Prevention is always better than treatment. By actively preventing disease and decay through regular home care, professional dental cleanings and regular exams, you will successfully maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.

  • Professional Cleanings
  • Dental Examinations
  • Home Care
  • Sealants
  • Digital X-Rays
  • Gum Disease

Professional cleanings (dental prophylaxis) performed by a Registered Dental Hygienist form the foundation for preventing gum disease and tooth decay. In a professional cleaning, your hygienist will:

  • Remove plaque from the teeth – Plaque is a sticky substance that forms in the mouth from food, saliva and bacteria. Plaque sticks to teeth and causes tooth decay and gum disease. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
  • Remove calculus (tarter) above the gum line – Calculus is plaque that has hardened (calcified) on the tooth surface, and is difficult to remove. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Polish and remove stains from teeth- Stain present on the teeth creates a surface that is easy for plaque and tartar to grow.

A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit to help diagnose disease before it becomes hazardous to your health. In addition, a regular examination will be recommended which will 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 will include the following:

  • Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
  • Visual examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays: To detect the presence of cysts, tumors, decay, bone loss and other problems that can't be seen by the naked eye.
  • Evaluation of existing restorations (fillings and others): Check for recurring decay or restoration leakage.

We cannot express enough how important it is to see your dentist regularly. Remember, preventing disease is always better than treating disease.

Achieving a beautiful smile starts at home. Adequate home care is imperative to being successful in maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile and preventing 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 at least twice daily using a soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Gently vibrate the brush in a circular fashion at a 45-degree angle to the gum line.
  • Gently vibrate the brush back and forth on each tooth surface until you have effectively cleaned the entire mouth.
  • Brush your tongue to remove the bacteria that causes bad breath.

Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job.

Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

  • 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. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.

Use other dental aids as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist: Interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, etc., can all play a role in good dental home care.

A sealant is a clear plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the permanent back teeth (premolars and molars), where decay occurs most often. Pits and fissures are depressions and grooves in the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. They are difficult to keep clean because toothbrush bristles cannot reach into them.

The sealant forms a thin covering that keeps out plaque and food and decreases the risk of tooth decay. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants usually last several years before a reapplication is needed. However, they need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits.

Reasons for sealants:

  • Children and teenagers – As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16.
  • Adults – Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions.
  • Baby teeth – Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and child is cavity prone.

How are sealants placed?
Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or dental hygienist and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.

The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light.

Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.

Digital radiography (digital x-ray) is the latest technology used to take dental x-rays. This technique uses an electronic sensor (instead of x-ray film) that captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed and enlarged helping the dentist and dental hygienist to detect problems easier. Digital x-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.

Dental x-rays or radiographs are very important. They allow the dentist and dental hygienist to detect problems that cannot be seen by the naked eye. These items include:

  • Abscesses or cysts.
  • Bone loss (periodontal disease).
  • Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
  • Decay between the teeth.
  • Developmental abnormalities.
  • Poor tooth and root positions.
  • Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.
  • The location of teeth that haven't yet erupted into the mouth.

By using an x-ray we make certain no pathology is present. We can help save you time, expense, pain, and money by possibly avoiding additional treatments. In some cases, when dental x-rays show the location of tumorous growths, x-rays can be responsible for saving your life.

Are dental x-rays safe?
We use the most modern x-ray technology available today. Because our x-ray machines are digital, your radiation exposure is reduced by about 90 percent! The amount of radiation exposure your body receives on an airplane flight from Los Angeles to New York exceeds the amount of exposure you receive from a conventional, non digital, dental x-ray machine. Contrast this minimal exposure with the risk of not finding a problem until it has become serious, and you can see why we prescribe preventive diagnostic x-rays.

Even though digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, dentists still take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation. These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are necessary, and using lead apron shields to protect the body.

How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based upon the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease.

A Full Mouth Series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-Wing X-Rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.

Periodontitis (Gum Disease) is responsible for about 70 percent of adult tooth loss. It is characterized by swollen, inflamed gums surrounding the teeth. Plaque, a sticky substance that forms in the mouth from food, saliva and bacteria gets inside the space between the gum line and the tooth. If not removed, plaque hardens into a substance called calculus or tarter that is very difficult to remove.

Eventually, the bacteria in the plaque and tarter eat away at the fibers that hold the gums to the teeth, creating deep pockets. As bacteria spread, the pockets become deeper until the bacteria finally eat away the bone that holds the tooth in place.

Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during a periodontal examination. This type of exam should always be part of your regular dental check-up.

A periodontal probe (small dental instrument) is gently used to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums. The depth of a healthy sulcus measures three millimeters or less and does not bleed. The periodontal probe helps indicate if pockets are deeper than 3 millimeters. Pockets that are greater than 3 millimeters in depth are considered hazardous and will generally require treatment. As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets usually get deeper.

Your dentist or hygienist will use pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, tooth mobility, etc., to make a diagnosis that will fall into a category below:

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Plaque and its toxin by-products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed.

Plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). As calculus and plaque continue to build up, the gums begin to recede from the teeth. Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and become filled with bacteria and pus. The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily.Slight to moderate bone loss may be present.

Advanced Periodontitis:
The teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed. Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and may be lost. Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present.

How is Periodontitis (gum disease) treated?
Gum disease is treated by carefully removing the bacteria and substances that form in the pockets around the teeth. The removal of this material occurs on a microscopic level and requires great skill. Our dental team has had advanced training regarding how to effectively remove all of the bacteria. This process of removing the bacteria usually requires several visits to our office. Once the bacteria have been removed, the pockets must be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis by a certified dental hygienist. Otherwise, the bacteria will return.

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