We now have new equipment that uses soothing warm water and gentle vibrations to make your cleanings pleasant and comfortable. Our hygienists have taken special training in the use of the Comfort Cleaning machine. For most people we don't need to do any picking and scraping with the traditional instruments. Here is what some of our patients have said:
- It's hardly noticeable!
- Best cleaning I've ever had!
- Like a massage for my mouth!
- That was so much better than the picking and scraping!
Head, Neck and Oral Cancer Screenings
Regular screenings are important.
At your new patient exam and at each oral health visit with one of our hygienists, a thorough head, neck and oral cancer screening will be performed. This includes the dentist or hygienist palpating the areas on your head, neck and face where lymph nodes are present, and also a visual examination of your head, neck and face. Then your hygienist or dentist will do an oral cancer screening to check the inside of your mouth, tongue, gums and palate.
What is Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer?
Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer is a broad term that includes malignant tumors occurring in the mouth or oral cavity, which includes lips, tongue, gums, lining inside the lips and cheeks, and the floor or roof of the mouth; the oropharynx, which includes the back one-third of the tongue, the back of the throat, and the tonsils; the nasopharynx, the area behind the nose; the hypopharynx, lower part of the throat; and the voice box. Head and neck cancer is often easily treatable if detected early, but often it is not. Treatment can include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Common Signs and Symptoms:
A lump in the neck - cancers of the head and neck usually spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. A lump that last more than two weeks should be seen by an ENT as soon as possible.
Change in the voice - most cancers in the larynx cause some changes in the voice. Any hoarsness or vocal changes lasting for more than two weeks should be evaluated.
A growth in the mouth - Most cancers of the mouth and tongue cause a sore or swelling that doesn't go away.
Swallowing problems - Cancer of the throat or esophagus may make swallowing solid foods and even liquids difficult.
Changes in skin coloration and texture - The most common head and neck cancer is skin cancer.
Persistent earache - Constant pain in or around the ear when you swallow can be a sign of infection or tumor growth in the throat.
It is important to note that the symptoms described here can occur with no cancer present, but having a thorough examination regularly is important in early detection.
A sealant is a tooth colored composite material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay occurs most often. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting the decay-prone areas of teeth from plaque and acid.
Is sealant application a complicated procedure?
Sealants are easy for your healthcare provider to apply, and it takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. The teeth that will be sealed are cleaned. Then the chewing surfaces are roughened with an acid solution to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. The sealant is then 'painted' onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. A special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.
Because we are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal oral health, we offer you this pledge of continuing care: If needed we will repair and/or replace your sealants at NO CHARGE for 10 years!
This means that after we place a sealant, we will repair and replace it at no charge for 10 years, as long as the patient returns for the recommended oral health visits. Since most children receive their first sealants at around age 8, this program protects their teeth until they are age 18.
Who should have sealants? Children should have sealants placed as soon as their permanent molars erupt. However, patients of all ages can benefit from sealants. Adult teeth can have deep grooves that can trap cavity causing bacteria. Sealants can protect adult teeth as well.
Why live with sensitive teeth? Today, there are many options to help with this painful and annoying problem. We have several products that reduce and stop sensitivity to cold, air, touch, and sensitivity when you get your teeth cleaned. Just let us know when you are here and we can recommend the product that is right for you!
Three steps to Cavity Prevention
1. Destroy cavity causing bacteria
2. Re-mineralize and strengthen the enamel
3. Proper oral health care and nutritional counseling
As part of our cavity prevention program, we recommend using an anti-bacterial rinse, along with products containing Xylitol to reduce levels of cavity causing bacteria, and special toothpastes to help strengthen the enamel. Ask your hygienist for helpful tips and healthy eating suggestions.
Non-Surgical Gum Disease Therapy
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a bacterial infection of the supporting structures of the teeth, in other words, an infection of the gums and bone. If left untreated, periodontal disease can result in tooth loss. It's the main reason that people end up wearing dentures. The severity of the disease can be affected by many things, including the host response - diabetics and smokers are much more likely to develop gum disease, and if they do, have a more difficult time controlling the infection. The disease can also be greatly affected by a person's oral hygiene. The bacteria that cause gum disease will start to form colonies and produce toxins if left undisturbed for long periods of time. These bacteria live under the gums and in tartar (calculus).
What Are the Warning Signs?
- Gums that bleed during toothbrushing
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
How Is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Most cases of gum disease can be treated with non-surgical periodontal therapy. First, we must perform a thorough periodontal debridement (cleaning) of all the affected areas around the teeth. This is accomplished with gentle ultrasonic instrumentation and hand scalers, more commonly known as root planing and scaling. This debridement should remove all biofilms containing bacteria, and any hard and soft deposits around and underneath the gums. Most people do not need to be numbed for this procedure, but some may need it or want it. Also, some pockets may be treated with a localized antibiotic at a later date if they do not respond to initial therapy. Home care instructions are given at these appointments to help the patients achieve a healthy mouth. Electric brushes, plastic toothpicks, Water Piks, floss aids, etc. can be very helpful in accomplishing this for patients. The goal is to get the patients disrupting the bacteria frequently enough that the bacteria will not form colonies. This is accomplished through good homecare and regular visits with the dental hygienist. Research shows that it takes an average of 15 weeks for the colonies to start forming. This is why it is important for some people to stay on a 3-4 month recall interval in order to control their disease. Periodontal disease can be managed very successfully if patients follow homecare instructions and come for regular visits to see their hygienist.
Bleeding gums are an indication that the patients immune system is responding to high levels of bacteria. If you look at the gum tissue under a microscope in an area of disease, the blood vessels will look like they are full of ragged tears, this is to allow the white blood cells to come out and fight off the bacteria. Once the bacteria levels are under control, these blood vessels will "close off" and then when the patient brushes or flosses or get his teeth cleaned, the gums will no longer bleed.
Periodontal disease has been shown to contribute to diabetes, heart disease, heart attacks, COPD, per-mature and low birthweight babies.
Smokers, particularly heavy smokers (a pack or more a day) are very susceptible to perio disease, and if they have it, it can be much more difficult to achieve and maintain oral health. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, thereby shutting off the blood flow to the gum tissue, and not allowing for the white blood cells to fight off the bacteria that cause the disease.