Preventive Oral Health Care
Regular Dental Exams & Cleanings
Even if you are personally unaware of any oral health problems, it’s important that you have regular dental check-ups and professional teeth cleanings to spot problems early and to maintain a high level of oral health that prevents diseases such as tooth decay and gingivitis from starting. Your Pinellas Family dentist will recommend the frequency of those visits based upon you oral health circumstances. Once a good level of oral health is achieved, the typical schedule of visits is twice a year.
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) will be performed by our Registered Dental Hygienist. At the time of your cleaning appointment, you will receive a dental exam and the following:
- Removal of plaque to prevent periodontal disease. Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth, consisting of a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums.
- Removal of calculus (tartar), which is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
- Teeth polishing to remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling. We also offer teeth whitening and other cosmetic options for stains. Discuss these with the hygienist or your dentist.
The goals of comprehensive and conservative dental care include detecting problems and treating them promptly before they advance. Dental x-rays are essential diagnostic tools that provide valuable information. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Pinellas Family Dental used the latest digital radiography technology to take dental x-rays. Digital images can be instantly viewed and enlarged helping us easily detect and show you problems. Digital x-ray technology has reduced radiation exposure by 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.
Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride to prevent tooth decay have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.
Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.
A thin, plastic coating can be applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface. Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits. Sealants may be used as soon as the 6-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of ages 6-16. They are only occasionally done on baby teeth, if the teeth have deep grooves or depressions and the child is cavity prone. They may be recommended for adults in the case of deep grooves and depressions.
Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. A healthy mouths starts by you eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly cleaning your mouth to control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a manual soft toothbrush or an electric toothbrush. Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone. While you are with our oral hygienist she will show you how to brush and floss most effectively. It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. We may recommend other cleaning aids such as an interdental brush, rubber tip stimulator, and anti-bacterial mouth rinse.