The old saying “Prevention is better than cure” is so so true! Having a half yearly dental check-up is a simple step to ensure the health of your teeth and gums. The following are some of the ways we can prevent dental disease:
- Fissure sealants
- Scaling and polishing
- Oral hygiene instruction
All your big chewing teeth (the molars) have grooves and fissures in the biting surface. In some people these can be quite deep and will easily trap food and plaque that your toothbrush can’t clean out. Over time, this will lead to dental decay. To prevent this, your dentist will place a resin sealant to fill up these grooves and fissures, stopping food and plaque gathering there in the first place. It is a simple, cost-effective procedure that can prevent more complicated treatment down the road. Best of all it doesn’t require any drilling!
Scaling and polishing
This is our most routine procedure and involves removing (scaling) the hard buildup (tartar or calculus) and polishing off the softer plaque that leads to gum disease. In general, we use ultrasonic instruments to remove the hard buildup. Yes, most people hate the sound of the ultrasonics! But it is the most gentle and thorough method we have. Please feel free to bring along your noise-cancelling earbuds to try and comfort your eardrums. We recommend that you have this done every 6-12 months depending on the individual’s oral health and dental history.
Included in this removal of stains that build up on the teeth due to food and drink that we consume or habits we may have. The most common culprits are teas and coffees, red wine, cigarette and cigar smoking, and betel nut chewing.
For harder to remove stains, the dentist may use an air polisher. This uses a gentle stream of sodium bicarbonate particles and water to remove stains that our usual polishing paste cannot.
Oral hygiene instruction
This involves educating patients about the importance of maintaining good oral health and providing them with the tools and information they need to do so. This may include providing information on proper brushing and flossing techniques, recommending oral care products such as toothpaste and mouthwash, and advising patients on healthy lifestyle habits that can support good oral health, such as avoiding sugary foods and drinks.
Dental x-rays allow dentists to detect and diagnose dental problems that may not be visible during a routine dental exam. X-rays can help identify dental decay, gum disease, impacted teeth, and other issues that may require treatment before they progress and cause more serious problems.
Preventive dental x-rays are typically taken at regular intervals of 1-3 years, depending on the patient’s age, dental history, and risk factors for oral disease. People are often concerned about the amount of radiation exposure from x-rays. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the average dose of radiation from a dental x-ray is around 0.005 millisieverts (mSv) for a single intraoral x-ray and around 0.01 mSv for a single extraoral x-ray (such as a panoramic x-ray). To put this into perspective, the average person in the United States is exposed to around 3.1 mSv of radiation per year from natural sources, such as cosmic radiation and radon gas.