Family and Preventative Services

Preventative Dentistry for All Ages

At Complete Family Dentistry, we care for your family from the time that they are toddlers to when they are adults and every age in between. Following is information about our preventative dental care services, as well as information about our restorative dental services and advanced esthetic dental services.

Medical History Review

During your visit, we will review any changes to your medical history since your previous visit. Although this usually only takes a small portion of the appointment, it is essential information for us to treat you safely.

What we need to know:
• Updated list of medications, including dosing and frequency
• Recent hospitalizations or surgeries
• New diagnoses or conditions
• Resolution of previous conditions or illnesses

Why do we need to know all of this?
We want to make sure that we are treating you in the best way possible. For example, certain medical conditions or medications may prevent some patients from being able to safely recline fully in our dental chair. If your illness or medications put you at increased risk for decay or infection, we may discuss options to lower that risk at your appointment. Some common ailments that impact oral health include:

• Diabetics: are at an increased risk of periodontal disease.
• Arthritis: lowers your ability to clean your teeth well with a manual toothbrush.
• Dry Mouth: Many medications cause dry mouth. A healthy mouth is full of saliva that helps to wash away the food that decay-causing bacteria eat. Without healthy saliva production, you are often at increased risk of tooth decay.
• Please let us know if there's anything we can do to make your visit more comfortable.

Professional Dental Cleaning

Coming in for your cleaning every six months ensures that you stay on top of your dental health. In addition to cleaning your teeth and gums, our hygienists will review your medical history, perform an oral cancer screening, gum tissue probing, look for signs of gum/periodontal disease, remove plaque and calculus, polish your teeth, and do a thorough examination of your dental health.

Your hygienist will use a combination of hand instruments and state-of-the-art ultrasonic cleaners to remove the plaque and hardened tartar called calculus from the surface of your teeth. Calculus is very tough and impossible to remove on your own, so it's important to that your hygienist cleans your teeth regularly. When calculus builds up, it begins to irritate your gums and bone, causing inflammation. Initially, the inflammation is good because it brings a variety of antibodies and proteins to help combat the bacteria found in the calculus. However, when inflammation in your gums is persistent, your bone will begin to recede away from the area leaving your teeth increasingly less stable. If left untreated, this inflammation called periodontal disease, will cause significant bone loss and tooth loss. Advanced periodontitis can even let bacteria into the bloodstream and cause disease in your heart and other tissues.

After all of the plaque is removed, your hygienist will polish your teeth to remove surface stains so they look whiter and brighter!

Reasons for a professional dental cleaning:
• Remove plaque, tartar, and calculus
• Reduce inflammation
• Minimize gingivitis and periodontal disease
• Whiten and enhance your smile
• Prevent bad breath (halitosis)
• Help you keep your teeth
• Help maintain overall health

Oral Examination

During your appointment, your dentist or hygienist will take time to evaluate your oral health. After a thorough evaluation of your lips, cheeks, gums, teeth, tongue, tonsils, throat and roof of your mouth your dental care provider will discuss any anomalies that you should be aware of. We will also check your bite and jaw for problems.

We recommend x-rays when we perform a complete oral examination so that we can accurately assess the health of your tissues that aren't visible to the naked eye like your bone, between your teeth, and the inside of your teeth. If you have active tooth decay or cavities or are someone who is prone to decay, we will review your risk factors and help you devise a plan to reduce your risk of future decay. Similarly, if you have lost bone level due to a gum or periodontal infection, we will discuss a home care regimen that will help you manage your oral health and diminish your risk of additional bone loss. Additionally, we will recommend a recall interval that is personalized for your specific dental needs.

Once you lose bone in your jaw and around your teeth, your body is unable to fabricate more. Teeth will loosen over time and eventually will be lost. This is why it is critical to stay on top of your regular dental appointments.

Oral Cancer Screening

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation , head and neck cancer was the 8th leading cause of death worldwide in 2000. Additionally, in a recent study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute , researchers found that many types of Human Papilloma Virus can also lead to cancer of the oral cavity and oropharynx (throat). Oral cancer is a serious concern because though incidence is low, survival is also low and treatment has not improved in success for several decades.

Oral cancer risk factors:
• Tobacco (smoking, chewing tobacco, cigar smoking, snuff)
• Alcohol

During your appointment, we will do a thorough examination of your tissues, especially those most likely to develop oral cancer. These include: lips, cheeks, jaw, roof of the mouth, side and bottom of the tongue, and throat.

One of the concerns with oral cancer is that it is often small and painless and often goes unnoticed by the victim. This is why it is important to continue regular dental care. We are specially trained to spot suspicious lesions and will often recommend that we biopsy the tissue. Oral cancer is so deadly because it is usually caught very late. We work to catch it early, giving you the highest chance of survival.

Oral cancer is also hard to detect because it often looks or feels like other common ailments. It can look red, white, or like an ulcer or canker sore. Often, biting your cheek can look similar to an oral cancer lesion. Usually, it is not necessary to be concerned about a lesion in your mouth unless it does not heal within 14 days. If you notice a lesion in your mouth that persists longer than two weeks, please make an appointment to be seen by one of our trained staff.

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer:
• Red or white patch that lasts for more than 2 weeks
• Small, raised ulcer (looks like canker sore) that lasts more than 2 weeks
• Lump inside mouth or neck lasting more than 2 weeks
• Anything causing pain or difficulty swallowing, speaking or chewing that lasts longer than 2 weeks
• Wart like masses
• Hoarseness that is long lasting
• Numbness in the oral region
• Sometimes, a unilateral persistent earache is a warning sign

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Fluoride Treatment

Enamel is one of the hardest substances on Earth. Unfortunately, acid from the foods you eat and bacteria in your mouth can eat the enamel of your teeth away. Fluoride helps keep enamel strong and aids in cavity prevention and sometimes even reversal by helping your enamel to remineralize and harden.

The hard surface of your roots is called cementum. If cementum is exposed to the oral environment it is prone to decay because it isn't as strong as the enamel that covers the crown of a tooth. Fluoride application to root surfaces can help reduce the risk for future decay. Another benefit to fluoride use is its desensitization effects. Topical fluoride application to sensitive areas of exposed roots can help them to remineralize and close off the microscopic tubules leading to the nerve from the oral environment.

Professional fluoride treatment is a safe and effective way of reducing your risk of dental decay. We use the latest proven methods of fluoride application to safely deliver fluoride to your teeth.

Reasons to get a professional fluoride application:
• Topical fluoride application in children and adults that are moderate and high risk for caries (decay)
• Desensitization for exposed root surfaces
• Decay prevention on exposed root surfaces
• Fluoride application surrounding metal orthodontic braces and brackets

Dental Sealants

A sealant is a thin coating that is painted on the biting surfaces of your teeth by a dentist or hygienist. Sealants are important in the prevention of tooth decay (caries) because they seal off the deep pits and fissures found on most back teeth. These grooves are often too narrow and deep for our toothbrushes to clean and this leaves them prone to decay if left open to the oral environment. Sealants are a way of covering these pits so bacteria can't get into them and smoothing out the surface so it is easier to brush and clean.

It is important to have sealants placed as soon as back teeth come in to keep them from decaying, especially during the caries-prone years of ages 6-14. A child's first set of permanent molars usually comes in around age 6. At this point in your child's life, they should be brushing independently for 2 minutes, twice daily. Though it is great that your child is able to manage their oral hygiene, the coordination of young brushers is often not adequate to properly clean these teeth. Six-year molars are statistically the most restored teeth in the mouth for this reason; they are the first permanent teeth to erupt so they have to stick around the longest, and they are present during the most cavity prone period of a person's life. A sealant can be the difference between a healthy, unrestored tooth and a tooth needing a pulpotomy or extraction in some cases.

Since sealants are a thin plastic coating, sometimes they can chip or break off. Your dentist and hygienist will check to make sure they are still there at regular dental cleanings. Sealants can last up to 10 years in the mouth and will help keep your teeth strong.

Mouth Guards

If you are an athlete and are concerned about protecting your teeth during practice and competition, we can custom fabricate a mouth guard made just for your teeth.
Dental trauma occurs in 25% of children ages 7-14. While some of that injury is accidental, many injuries are sports related. A mouth guard can help protect your teeth from being broken, displaced, or damaged and requiring years of costly maintenance and restoration.

If you would like us to make you a mouth guard, let a member of our staff know when making your appointment so that we can take the time to accommodate you.

We will begin by taking a custom impression of your teeth with a material we put in a custom fitted tray. We will insert this material into your mouth until it hardens and then pour up a model of your teeth in dental stone. This part of the process is time consuming so after your impression we will dismiss you and have you return to the office to receive your custom mouth guard at a later date. In the meantime, we will take the dental stone model and adapt a soft plastic to it that is specially designed for mouth guard fabrication. We will trim it and smooth it so it is comfortable and protective.

A mouth guard needs to be replaced when:
• It is damaged, chewed up, torn, or sharp
• Teeth change position
• It smells bad – this means that there is bacteria trapped in the mouth guard

Occlusal Bite Guard/Night Guard

Do you grind or clench your teeth? Are you waking up with headaches or a sore jaw? A night guard or occlusal appliance may be recommended to you to help protect your teeth from wearing down prematurely or to improve chronic headaches. At your next appointment, ask us if we think you would benefit from one of these.

At your appointment, we will begin by taking a custom impression of your upper and lower teeth with a material we put in a custom fitted tray. We will insert this material into your mouth until it hardens and then pour up a model of your teeth in dental stone. Then we will take an impression of your bite so that the dental lab knows how your teeth fit together. We will send these models and bite impression to a dental laboratory where they will custom fabricate a guard using specialized materials. Depending on the severity of your bruxing (grinding) or clenching, we will recommend a different material that is right for you.

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