Dentistry has come a long way over the past several years. Today’s restorative and cosmetic procedures are truly amazing, able to transform damaged and worn-down pearly whites into gorgeous smiles that look totally lifelike.
However, one thing has not changed. And that is the importance of preventive dentistry: practicing good oral hygiene at home and keeping a schedule of regular dental visits. For all the wonderful procedures we now have for fixing dental problems, the ideal scenario is still keeping your natural teeth in tip-top shape. This saves you money, time not spent at the dentist’s office, and untold hours of pain and discomfort.
We Catch Problems Early
You brush your teeth carefully twice a day and floss each night before bed. If you do everything right at home, why do you have to see us for checkups anyway? Even if you are a brushing and flossing superstar, it’s still important to stick to a twice-yearly schedule of dental visits for a number of reasons.
- You will receive a thorough (but gentle, we promise!) professional cleaning by one of our skilled hygienists. No matter how well you clean your teeth at home, you won’t be able to get rid of all of the bad stuff that’s built up on your teeth. We have the training and tools to remove plaque and tartar that’s not accessible by your toothbrush, including under the gumline. We will also give your pearly whites a meticulous flossing and expertly polish them.
- Dr. Shepherd or Dr. Rasmussen will visually examine your teeth, gums, and entire mouth. We are looking for any sign of decay or disease that you may have not noticed. We will also screen you for oral cancer.
- We may take X-rays of your mouth. X-rays enable us to see problems hidden from the naked eye, like decay between the teeth, abscesses, cysts, and impacted teeth. At Uptown Dental Associates, we use digital X-rays, which provide better quality images than traditional X-rays, while exposing you, the patient, to just a fraction of the radiation.
Additional Preventive Dentistry Services
While dental sealants are an option for anyone, they are especially useful for protecting children’s teeth. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, kids without sealants have three times as many cavities as kids with them.
A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating that’s generally applied to the chewing surfaces of the back molars. It is a simple, painless process and offers protection for years. It creates a barrier that prevents harmful bacterial acids from accessing and destroying the tooth enamel.
Fluoride is a mineral that’s vital for maintaining the strength of the tooth enamel — and its ability to resist acid attacks from bacteria. Fluoride is shed from the teeth in a process called demineralization and must be continuously replenished. While toothpastes and municipal water supplies are fortified with fluoride, our fluoride treatments and varnishes offer extra assurance that you and your family are getting enough of this essential mineral.
Keep a Consistent Routine at Home
When you return home from Uptown Dental Associates with your clean bill of oral health, it’s up to you to keep your teeth and gums in good shape until your next visit. Follow these tips for keeping gum disease and tooth decay away.
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily for two minutes each time. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gumline. Be thorough and reach all surfaces of the teeth, including the backs. Do not brush too hard, as this may wear away the enamel and damage the gums! Replace your toothbrush every few months or as soon as it shows signs of fraying.
- Flossing does more than dislodge chunks of food stuck between your teeth. Done properly, it helps remove sticky plaque from your enamel. Floss at least once per day. Use about 18 inches of floss, wrapping most of it around your middle fingers. Work with an inch or two at a time. Holding the “active” floss taut, slide it up and down between your teeth, keeping it in contact with the tooth enamel. At the gumline, curve the floss around the tooth and clean under the gumline. Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth.
Are you or anyone in your family due for your next dental checkups? If you live in or around Albuquerque, NM, call Uptown Dental Associates at 505-407-8781. Or complete and submit our online contact form.