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You may have been putting it off. But deep down you probably realize that you need to see the dentist.
The state of your oral health can affect all aspects of your life: the way you feel, eat, speak and socialize. Don’t worry or be embarrassed if it’s been awhile since your last dental visit. No matter what condition you teeth are in, the goal of our team is to help you get your dental health back on track in a comfortable environment.
During your first dental exam at Towncare Dental of Altamonte Springs, your dentist will look for signs of:
- Tooth decay
- Teeth grinding
- Bone loss
- Oral cancer
- Periodontal (gum) disease
We welcome any questions you might have about our procedures and the cost of any treatment we recommend. We’ve spent years building trust with our patients and look forward to developing a comfortable relationship with you as well.
Teeth Cleaning in Altamonte Springs
Professional teeth cleanings encompass a lot more than just giving you a sparkling smile. They remove cavity-causing plaque and calculus.
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that builds on your teeth every time you eat or drink. The bacteria in plaque converts the sugars in food and beverages into acids that erode the tooth enamel. This erosion process is called dental decay. This is why you’ve been encouraged to brush and floss after every meal since you were a child. If left on your teeth, plaque will harden into calculus, also known as tartar, a substance that’s difficult to remove from your teeth.
While a good oral hygiene routine is important, brushing and flossing won’t remove all of the plaque and calculus on your teeth. Only a professional cleaning can do that.
Dentists recommend that you have your teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year. A prophylaxis cleaning removes plaque, calculus and surface stains on the surface of your teeth and those hard-to-reach places in between. This basic cleaning is also known as a “prophy” or a healthy-mouth cleaning. This procedure is covered by most dental insurance.
Cleaning Teeth Below the Gum Line
Unfortunately, the bacteria present in plaque and calculus doesn’t always remain on the surface of your teeth. It can make its way to the parts of the teeth that lie beneath the gum, causing an infection that can develop into chronic periodontal disease.
A prophylaxis cleaning doesn’t remove bacteria below the gum line. The dentist has other treatments to tackle this elusive bacteria.
Although periodontal, or gum, disease often has no symptoms, the first signs of the disease may be bleeding and red, swollen gums. These symptoms indicate the earliest stage of periodontal disease: gingivitis. This is the only stage of the disease in which the damage is reversible. The hygienist can treat it during your hygiene visit.
If you have an active infection and show signs of the later stages of periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend scaling & root planing. Scaling & root planing (SRP) is a non-surgical treatment that removes bacteria and smooths out exposed root surfaces. SRP may take more than one office visit to complete and may involve the application of an antibiotic. After the initial treatments, the dentist may prescribe a periodontal maintenance routine, including more frequent cleanings, to manage the disease.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, half of Americans over the age of 30 and 70 percent of people over the age of 65 have some form of gum disease. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Just as the bacteria in the mouth breaks down sugar to create acids that attack the teeth, the bacteria also attacks the ligaments, tissue and bone that hold teeth in place beneath the gums. That causes the gum tissue to pull away from the tooth, creating “pockets” around the tooth where more bacteria can gather.
As the infection becomes worse, symptoms may include bad breath, a receding gum line or teeth shifting out of position. Scaling & root planing and other periodontal treatments can remove bacteria, but they can’t repair the damage that’s already occurred. Periodontal disease is a chronic, systemic disease, similar to other chronic diseases like diabetes. It’s only reversible in the earliest stage, gingivitis. Once it progresses, it can be managed but not reversed.
If the disease is more advanced, the dentist may recommend you see a gum specialist called a periodontist for treatment.
Bad Breath Management
Your bad breath could be caused by those raw onions you added to your hamburger at lunch. But it’s more likely related to germs in your mouth. The medical term for bad breath is halitosis, and it affects 25 percent of the U.S. population.
When bacteria causes dental decay, the damaged cells can release an odor. Professional teeth cleanings and gum treatments coupled with brushing, flossing and rising with a mouthwash after meals will address this problem.
Oral Cancer Screening
During your first visit to our office, we will offer you a potentially life-saving oral cancer screen. Such screens are recommended for anyone over the age of 18. It is a quick, painless test allows the dentist to see signs of oral cancer that are not visible to the naked eye.
Oral cancer often has no symptoms in its early stages, which makes it particularly dangerous. By the time symptoms are visible, the disease is frequently in the later stages and has metastasized to another location. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of more commonly known cancers including cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, testicular cancer and thyroid cancer.
Early detection saves lives.
Teeth Grinding & Night Guards
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a common problem that affects up to 40 million Americans. In severe cases, it can wear down the enamel of your teeth. Our dentist will look for signs of teeth grinding and may ask you if you have any of these symptoms:
- Morning headaches
- A sore jaw when you wake up
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
Teeth grinding is often caused by stress. However, it can also be the result of crooked teeth or a “bad bite.” Our dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
Call Today to Schedule a Dental Exam
Call Towncare Dental of Altamonte Springs today at (407) 278-1210. We’ll schedule a convenient day and time for your initial dental exam with us. We look forward to helping you get your smile back on track.