Preventive care involves more than professional cleanings, exams and regular x-rays — it includes whole oral health wellness. Dr. Grote is committed to each individual's oral health, from the oral cancer screening at each exam, to thorough disease evaluation.
Every person gets one set of permanent teeth by the age of 12 or 13 and with proper care and attention, they can last 80 or 90 years. And yet, many people end up losing teeth or suffering from preventable dental disease. This to me, is tragic. In our office, we take pride in translating our extensive knowledge of the science of dentistry and maintaining health into terms that you can understand so that you can make your own decisions about how to attain a lifetime of optimal oral health. For too long, the dental profession has, in my opinion, done a poor job of helping people understand the disease process and too many times treated people like they were somehow flawed if they didn't floss properly or angle their toothbrush just right. The scolding and shaming that have long been a part of "home care instructions" do not help people understand and take ownership of their own health. In our office, we feel we can teach anyone who is willing how to prevent most dental problems with minimal effort. Knowledge is power!
Professional cleanings performed by a certified dentist or hygienist are just as important to your dental health as daily brushing and flossing. Using specialized tools and training, your hygienist will:
|Remove plaque build-up from the surfaces of teeth. Bacteria in the mouth form plaque, which collects on teeth and causes decay, gum disease and gingivitis
|Remove tartar from teeth surfaces. Tartar, or calculus, is plaque that has become so hardened on the teeth that its removal requires special procedures. Tartar below the gum line is also an indicator of gum disease
|Remove surface stains from teeth through polishing
Regular examinations help detect and prevent health issues before they become serious. Consistent dental check-ups help catch problems when they are small and easier to treat. Left unattended, small treatable problems become worse and may require more extensive, expensive procedures to repair. Dental examinations generally include the following:
|Gum disease screening
|Oral cancer screening
|Visual tooth decay evaluation
|Visual gum disease examination
|Gum pocket measurement and tracking
|X-ray examination to detect: tooth decay, cysts, tumors, problems below the gums and other hidden issues
X-rays are a primary tool for early identification of dental problems. Detecting issues with x-rays before they become problems can save you money in the long run. Early detection can help prevent the need for more extensive, expensive procedures or surgeries. X-rays are primarily used to detect:
|Internal tooth decay
|Cysts (fluid filled sacks at the base of your teeth)
|Tumors, both cancerous and non-cancerous
|Teeth that are still coming in
At Keith Grote, DMD, our dental team uses digital x-rays, which have several advantages over traditional film based x-rays. They emit up to 90% less radiation, are ready for viewing almost instantaneously, and do not require harmful chemicals to process.
Sealants are generally used to help prevent tooth decay on the biting surfaces of back teeth (molars). The natural grooves of these teeth can trap food that can resist casual brushing and rinsing. If left in place, the trapped food allows bacteria to multiply, eventually causing tooth decay and requiring costly attention.
Sealants are painted directly onto the tooth where they seal the natural grooves to help prevent tooth decay. While sealants are durable, they are not permanent. They can last up to 5 years of normal wear before needing replacement.
Sealants offer a cost-effective, preventative step to reduce the chances of tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of molars. However, they do not replace the need for regular brushing and flossing.
Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)
Gum disease accounts for approximately 70% of all tooth loss in adults. Early signs of gum disease include bleeding gums when flossing or brushing and gums that are red, inflamed, or swollen.
Gum disease and tooth decay are two different diseases. Gum disease starts to deteriorate the bone, and if deterioration is allowed to continue, "pockets" form in between the teeth and the gums. Pockets deeper than 3mm may require special treatment to remove the bacteria and plaque. Without treatment and continuous maintenance, gum disease will eventually decrease the bone levels and can lead to bone loss.
Gum disease is not curable, however, it can be kept under control with proper personal hygiene and regular visits to a trained dentist or hygienist.