Home Oral Health Care
Preventive dentistry is a way to prevent any type of gum disease or tooth decay. It includes:
- Brush Daily with a fluoride toothpaste
- Replace toothbrushes 3-4 times a year
- Daily Flossing
- Use of water pick recommended
Your first visit includes a complete visual oral exam, including taking and reviewing bite wing X-Rays and Panorex (done every 5 years *see below for explanation). If a you new to our office and have X-rays from another dental office and they were taken within the past year, you may ask their office to send them to us.
There are two main types of dental X-rays: Intra oral (meaning the X-ray film is inside the mouth) and Extra oral (meaning the X-ray film is outside the mouth).
Intra Oral Cameras Help You Get A Clear View
Patients don't often have a clear idea of the actual status of their dental health. With the use of intra oral cameras, when at the dentist, you sit comfortably back in the chair and can watch as things progress. The dentist or hygienist inserts a pen-sized, camera-tipped wand into your mouth that is covered with a disposable plastic sheath for contamination prevention. The wand takes a video of the inside of your mouth and transmits the images to a computer screen. The full-color images is one that you can view from the dental chair. And there is your mouth on the screen. The dentist points out any problem areas and explain his recommendations for treatment, so you will become an informed partner in your dental care.
Types of Intraoral X-Rays
There are several types of intra oral X-rays, each of which shows different aspects of teeth.
- Regular Dental Exams to check for problems with teeth and/or gums
- Prophylaxis or Simple Cleanings
- After a Deep Cleaning our hygienists perform Periodontal Maintenance, usually every 3-4 months
- Fluoride Treatments (if necessary)
Eating a balanced diet to protect teeth by providing them with the nutrients they need.
Preventive dentistry helps keep people from developing dental problems. Cavities, gingivitis, enamel loss, and periodontitis can all be avoided or alleviated with proper dental care. Oral health is related to total body health. This is because the mouth is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Maintaining a clean mouth benefits overall health. With good dental hygiene, we hope to help you greatly reduce your risk of getting cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and other dental problems. This, in turn, can reduce the risk of secondary problems caused by poor oral health.
- Intra oral X-rays are the most common type of dental X-ray taken. These X-rays provide a lot of detail and allow your dentist to find cavities, check the health of the tooth root and bone surrounding the tooth, check the status of developing teeth, and monitor the general health of your teeth and jawbone.
- Extra oral X-rays show teeth, but their main focus is the jaw and skull. These X-rays do not provide the detail found with intra oral X-rays and therefore are not used for detecting cavities or for identifying problems with individual teeth. Instead, extra oral X-rays are used to look for impacted teeth, monitor growth and development of the jaws in relation to the teeth, and to identify potential problems between teeth and jaws and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ, see temporomandibular disorders for more information) or other bones of the face.
- Bite-wing X-rays show details of the upper and lower teeth in one area of the mouth. Each bite-wing shows a tooth from its crown to about the level of the supporting bone. Bite-wing X-rays are used to detect decay between teeth and changes in bone density caused by gum disease. They are also useful in determining the proper fit of a crown (or cast restoration) and the marginal integrity of fillings.
- Periapical X-rays show the whole tooth -- from the crown to beyond the end of the root to where the tooth is anchored in the jaw. Each periapical X-ray shows this full tooth dimension and includes all the teeth in one portion of either the upper or lower jaw. Periapical X-rays are used to detect any abnormalities of the root structure and surrounding bone structure.
Types of Extraoral X-Rays
There are several types of extra oral X-rays that your dentist may take.
Panoramic X-rays show the entire mouth area -- all the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws -- on a single X-ray. This type of X-ray is useful for detecting the position of fully emerged as well as emerging teeth, can identify impacted teeth, and aid in the diagnosis of tumors.
There's a newer dental X-ray technique that your dentist already may be using or may soon be using. It's called digital imaging. Instead of developing X-ray film in a dark room, the X-rays are sent directly to a computer and can be viewed on screen, stored, or printed out. There are several benefits of using this new technology:
- The technique uses less radiation than the typical X-ray and there is no wait time for the X-rays to develop -- the images are available on screen a few seconds after being taken.
- The image taken, of a tooth for example, can be enhanced and enlarged many times its actual size on the computer screen, making it easier for your dentist to show you where and what the problem is.
- If necessary, images can be electronically sent to another dentist or specialist -- for instance, for a second opinion on a dental problem -- to determine if a specialist is needed, or to a new dentist (if you move).
- Software added to the computer can help dentists digitally compare current images to previous ones in a process called subtraction radiography. Using this technique, everything that is the same between two images is "subtracted out" from the image, leaving a clear image of only the portion that is different. This helps dentists easily see the tiniest changes that may not have been noticed by the naked eye.