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All too often, we take our dental health for granted. We don’t realize until we begin experiencing problems how important our teeth are to the way we socialize, to our physical health and to the way we feel about ourselves.
The condition of your teeth can impact the way you speak, the way you eat, even the way you laugh.
If you’ve been putting your dental health on a back burner, our team at Towncare Dental of Pinecrest is ready to help get your smile back on track.
Whether it’s been a few months or several years since you last saw a dentist, we’re looking forward to helping you restore your smile and improve your quality of life. We offer a comfortable, nonthreatening environment in which you are encouraged to ask questions. Many of our patients have been coming to us for years because they trust us to keep their mouth, teeth and gums healthy. We look forward to building that same relationship based on trust with you.
During your first dental exam at Towncare Dental of Pinecrest, your dentist will look for signs of:
- Tooth decay
- Teeth grinding
- Bone loss
- Oral cancer
- Periodontal (gum) disease
Teeth Cleaning in Pinecrest
Most of the calls to our office are from people seeking a professional teeth cleaning. It’s one of the few dental procedures people actually look forward to receiving.
However, professional cleanings aren’t simply for vanity. They are vital to your dental health because they remove the plaque and calculus on your teeth that cause tooth decay.
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that builds on your teeth every time you eat or drink. The bacteria in plaque use the sugars in food and beverages to produce acids that erode the tooth enamel and cause cavities, which are literally holes in the teeth.
In less than 24 hours, plaque hardens into a substance called calculus, known as tartar. This bacteria-filled substance is even more difficult to remove from the surface of your teeth.
That’s why dentists stress the need to brush and floss your teeth after every meal. However, at-home dental care can’t eliminate all of the plaque and calculus. Only a professional teeth cleaning can remove plaque and calculus from the surfaces of the teeth and in hard-to-reach places between the teeth.
The type of professional cleaning that removes the plaque and calculus from the surface of your teeth is called a prophylaxis, or “prophy.” Dentists recommend you get a prophy twice a year. During the prophy, the hygienist will remove the plaque, calculus and surface stains on your teeth down to the gum line. This type of cleaning is often covered by dental insurance.
Cleaning Teeth Below the Gum Line
While a prophylaxis cleaning will remove plaque and calculus above the gum line, bacteria also can attack the teeth beneath the gum line, causing gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease.
Signs that you may have a gingivitis infection include red, puffy gums and gums that bleed after brushing and flossing. Gingivitis is the only stage of gum disease that is reversible. If you show signs of gingivitis, the hygienist or dentist will provide additional services to remove plaque on the teeth and just below the gum line.
People who are diagnosed with an active gum infection (periodontal disease) need treatment both above and below the gum line to remove the harmful bacteria. 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 recommend more frequent professional cleanings to help manage the disease.
Half of Americans over the age of 30 and 70 percent over the age of 65 have some form of periodontal disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 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 under the gums. This causes the gum tissue to pull away from the tooth, creating “pockets” around the tooth where more bacteria can gather.
Often, periodontal disease has no symptoms. In other cases, you may notice blood when you brush or floss your teeth. As the infection becomes worse, you may notice bad breath, the gum line receding, or the teeth shifting out of position.
Scaling & root planing and other forms of periodontal treatment remove bacteria, but those kinds of treatment can’t repair the damage. Periodontal disease is a chronic, systemic disease, similar to other chronic diseases like diabetes. It’s only reversible in the earliest stage, which is gingivitis. Once it progresses, it can be managed but not reversed.
If it’s more advanced, the dentist may recommend you see a gum specialist called a periodontist for treatment.
Bad Breath Management
If you frequently pop breath mints to control bad breath, you may have halitosis. This is a condition that affects 25 percent of the U.S. population.
While bad breath be caused by the garlic and onions you ate at dinner, it’s more commonly related to the germs in your mouth. When bacteria cause dental decay, the damaged cells can release an unpleasant odor.
A committed regimen of brushing, flossing and rinsing with a mouthwash after meals combined with professional teeth cleanings and gum treatment will help keep bad breath under control.
Oral Cancer Screening
As part of your first visit to our office, we offer an oral cancer screening. This is a potentially life-saving screening recommended for all adults over the age of 18. The quick, easy and painless test allows the dentist to see signs of oral cancer that are not visible to the naked eye.
Oral cancer is especially dangerous because it often has no symptoms in its early stages. By the time symptoms are visible, the disease may have advanced to later stages and 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 condition that affects up to 40 million Americans. If it’s severe enough, 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
- Wake with a sore jaw
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
Teeth grinding is often caused by stress but 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
To schedule your first comprehensive dental exam, call Towncare Dental of Pinecrest today at (305) 403-9711. We look forward to finding a convenient day and time for you or a family member to come in for a comprehensive dental exam.