Taking Essential Steps to Keep Your Smile Healthy
At Sachem Dental Group, preventive dentistry is the core of everything that we do. Because so many common types of oral conditions can be avoided through early interceptive treatment and home care, we make it a point to prevent major dental issues before they have a chance to become bigger problems later on.
For our Long Island dental patients with relatively healthy teeth, we recommend scheduling a professional cleaning and exam at least every six months. During these preventative care appointments, we offer and perform necessary screenings and supportive therapies such as:
• Oral cancer exams
• Gum disease assessments
• Digital X-rays
• Fluoride treatments
• Protective dental sealants
• Evaluating existing dental work
• Discussing home care techniques
• Orthodontic evaluations
Dental Cleanings in Suffolk County
Even if you’re great about flossing your teeth each day, there are areas along the gumlines and between teeth that floss may not be able to reach. Having your teeth professionally cleaned by our hygienists allows you to enjoy a healthy oral environment that reduces the risk of gum disease. Waiting until you notice heavy tartar buildup is often too late!
As part of your cleaning and dental exam, our Suffolk County oral health providers will screen for periodontal (gum) disease. Symptoms often include:
• Bleeding gums
• Bone loss
• Halitosis (bad breath)
• Receding gumlines
• Tooth mobility
• Tartar buildup
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Fortunately, it can be treated when intercepted early. During your cleaning, ask our hygienist if you’re exhibiting any signs of “pockets” or tissue loss around your teeth, where the gums are beginning to detach.
The earliest form of periodontitis is gingivitis (minor swelling and bleeding.) If caught early when combined with good home care and routine preventive cleanings, gingivitis can be reversed within a couple of weeks.
Reasons for Scheduling a Dental Exam
Having your teeth examined every six months is the perfect way to intercept issues that have started to develop since your last dental appointment. As part of your exam, our Suffolk County dentists will be evaluating things such as:
• Integrity of your existing dental work
• Wear patterns on your teeth
• Bite alignment
• Signs of oral pathology
• Changes in soft tissues
Because your teeth and oral environment gradually change over time, frequent exams allow us to pinpoint potential issues before they ever have an opportunity to become severe. For example, a minor area of demineralized enamel can be treated with fluoride, preventing a cavity. Or if tooth decay is just starting to develop in a deep groove, we can plan to fill it before it evolves into an abscessed tooth.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer is an extremely dangerous health condition that is often overlooked, even by the healthiest of individuals. Because it’s so challenging to diagnose on your own, the routine screening of our Long Island dentists could in fact save your life.
If you don’t smoke, drink, and have a fairly healthy lifestyle, you could still be at risk of developing oral cancer. Risk factors include everything from certain types of viruses to sun exposure. Early diagnosis is the best step in lifesaving treatment.
Let us know if you’re exhibiting any symptoms of oral cancer, including: sores that don’t heal, white bumps or spots that look different from the skin around them, difficulty swallowing, or a chronic sore throat.
Protective Dental Sealants Block Out Cavities
If you’ve ever wished you could stop cavities before they start, you can! At Sachem Dental Group we use protective dental sealants to reduce the risk of tooth decay in areas like the deep grooves, pits, and fissures of your back teeth (molars.) They’re most useful on children after their permanent molars erupt — usually close to 6 and 12 years of age — but adults can request them as well.
Unlike fillings, sealants aren’t permanent, but they can last for several years. The clear, protective coating is brushed onto the chewing surfaces of the molars and then cured in place to provide a smoother texture that resists food debris and bacteria (making it easier to clean.)
Getting sealants only takes a few minutes and no numbing is necessary. Afterward, take care not to chew any particularly sticky foods (like caramel or taffy,) which can pull the sealant off.
Why do I Need X-rays?
While our multi-specialty dental team has over 35 years of experience, it’s not possible to see “through” your teeth and gums during your exam. As such, we utilize digital radiography to assess parts of the teeth not visible during a clinical evaluation. X-rays make it possible to point out issues such as bone loss, cysts, impacted teeth, cancer, orthodontic complications, and cavities.
Different types of x-rays show us different things. For instance, during your checkup and cleaning, we may take a series of bitewing x-rays once a year. Bitewings focus on the areas where teeth touch side by side, as well as the upper portions of bone, providing us with an insight as to whether any gum disease or cavities are forming. But if you’re experiencing symptoms of an abscessed tooth, a periapical x-ray allows us to see all the way around the root and the area around it. Finally, panoramic films show us your entire mouth, jaw, and TMJ, useful for orthodontic, implants, or full mouth reconstruction treatments.
Fluoride is a natural mineral found in various food sources. It’s essential for strong tooth and bone development. Applying fluoride after your regular cleaning helps to remineralize weak enamel that may be more prone to issues such as sensitivity and decay.
Book Your Next Checkup at Sachem Dental Group
Our Long Island dentists are happy to answer any questions that you may have about the services offered during your preventative care appointment. We’ve designed each experience to be one that optimizes the oral health and overall wellness of our patients.
Has it been longer than six months since your last dental cleaning and exam? Contact our Suffolk County practice today to schedule.