Preventative DentistryHelping To Maintain Your Smile
Plaque refers to a soft, sticky, bacteria infested biofilm.
Calculus (also known as tartar) refers to the hard deposits that form if the soft, sticky plaque is not removed daily by flossing and brushing.
Your teeth are continually bathed in saliva which contains calcium and other substances which help strengthen and protect the teeth. This is a very good thing, but it also means that we tend to get a build-up of calcium deposits on the teeth. Calcium deposit is a chalky substance will eventually build up over time. Usually it is tooth colored and can easily be mistaken as part of the teeth, but it also can vary from brown to black in color.
If the calculus or tartar is allowed to accumulate on the teeth it will unfortunately provide the right conditions for bacteria to thrive in proximity to the gums. The purpose of the cleaning and polishing is to remove this harmful, bacteria breading, environment.
New research shows that everyone can benefit from fluoride. Experts used to think that fluoride worked mainly by strengthening teeth while they were still developing. This meant that children were the focus of fluoridation efforts. Studies now show that topical fluoride — the kind in toothpastes, mouth rinses and fluoride treatments — helps fight decay in people of all ages.
How do I know if I need special fluoride treatment?
If your drinking water is fluoridated, then brushing regularly with fluoride toothpaste is considered sufficient for most adults with healthy teeth. 43 of the 50 largest U.S. cities add fluoride to their public water supplies to help reduce tooth decay. You can find out if your water is fluoridated by calling your local water district, or by having your water analyzed if it comes from a private well.
People who drink mostly bottled water and those with the following conditions should talk to their dentist about special fluoride treatments:
- If you are taking medications that cause dry mouth or have a disease that causes dry mouth. Without saliva to neutralize the acids in your mouth and wash away food particles, you’re more susceptible to tooth decay.
- If your gums have receded or pulled away from the teeth. This gives bacteria more room to roam and hastens tooth decay.
- If you wear braces. Braces and other orthodontic appliances trap a lot of bacteria that can lead to cavities.
- If you’ve had radiation therapy to the neck or head. Radiation damages the salivary glands, causing dry mouth.
- Decay between the teeth that may not be seen or felt by a visual/tactical examination
- Cysts or abscesses
- Problems that may be occurring inside a tooth or below the gum line
- Bone Loss
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Poor tooth and root positions
- Developmental abnormalities such as too few teeth, malpostioned teeth or too many teeth.
During your first visit to our office we will take a full mouth series of films, about 18 total. This will allow our doctors and your dental team to access the total condition of your mouth. This series is only repeated about every 5 years.
Bitewing X-rays are used during checkups to look for tooth decay. This typically happens yearly depending on your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Panoramic X-rays are taken every five years, as needed. Your first panoramic x-ray may be taken to determine if you have third molars (wisdom teeth), fractures, and any abnormalities.