- Our Dentists
Dental cleanings are recommended every six months for patients without active periodontal (gum) disease. For patients with gum disease, please see the Periodontal Disease page for guidelines. During the cleanings the hygienist will clean plaque, stains, and calculus/tartar off your teeth using a combination of ultrasonic instruments, hand instruments, and a handpiece driven polisher. This is an excellent time for the hygienist to review your brushing and flossing techniques at home to ensure that you aren't missing any critical areas.
The examination performed by your dentist is a very critical part of your appointment. You will notice that the doctor will look at all the soft tissues in your mouth, including the cheeks, lips, tongue, and palate. This is the Oral Cancer Screening part of the exam. We always looks for oral cancer because early detection is critical to ensure a high cure rate. The dentist will also examine all the teeth to ensure the integrity of any existing dental work and to detect decay at an early stage. Detecting decay when it is very small is beneficial, because it can often be fixed with a simple filling. When decay is large, it may cause pain and will require more expensive dental treatment. This is why we recommend examinations every six months with the cleaning.
Radiographs are extremely useful to detect gum disease as well as cavities forming between the teeth. We are not able to see between the teeth during the examination, so radiographs are the only way to see cavities forming between the teeth. We recommend x-rays be taken once per year on the back teeth and once every two years on the front teeth.
Studies show that topical application of fluoride is the best way to prevent decay in primary (baby) teeth and permanent teeth. The American Dental Association recommends fluoride be applied twice yearly at a six month interval.1
High strength fluoride toothpaste is often recommended to prevent decay in patient who have active decay or are at high risk of decay. Risk factors include dry mouth, poor hygiene, multiple restorations, diabetes, and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Fluoride supplements are recommended by the American Dental Assocation for children up to 16 years of age if they are high risk of decay and/or they live in a community without fluoridated water.2
As children's permanent teeth come in, they can be at an increased risk of decay on the chewing surfaces. The American Dental Association and our dentist recommend placing dental sealants to prevent decay, a thin plastic barrier over the deep grooves.3 Decay in these grooves is the number one form of decay. They are a very thin coat than wears off after a few years and may require reapplication through the teenage years.