High-Quality Preventive Dentistry in Granite Bay, CA
The old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is certainly true in dental care if it is true anywhere. A small investment of time and money now will save you loads of time, pain, and money later. If you wait until you develop a toothache until you go to the dentist, it is very likely that larger problems have already had a chance to compound. Dr. Nader Zanzi and the staff at Advantage Dental Care are motivated to maintain healthy teeth and gums through the use of preventive dentistry.
According to research, there is a clear link between the oral health of a patient and his overall health. For example, periodontal disease can be linked to diabetes. Also, bacteria found in the mouth can be linked to heart disease. Regular exams, checkups, and deep cleanings can stop most of these problems before they ever gain a foothold. We recommend a checkup and cleaning every six months. If you follow that up with a consistent oral hygiene program (brushing, flossing, rinsing at least twice a day) at home, you can avoid most serious dental issues. Call our offices today and schedule a checkup and a cleaning!
WE CAN HELP
Advantage Dental Care offers the following services in the area of preventive dentistry.
- Dental Exams
- Oral Cancer Screenings
- Fluoride Treatments
- Oral Hygiene Education
The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist every six months to ensure your teeth stay healthy and your smile stays beautiful. Recent studies are showing more and more the correlations between a healthy mouth and better overall health in individuals. The health of your teeth and mouth is vital to the well-being of your entire body. While routine brushing and flossing at home is necessary to keep your smile looking great, visiting your dentist for a comprehensive exam and cleaning is essential.
Prevent the Problem Before It Starts
Did you know that by routinely seeing your dentist for exams and cleanings, you can:
- Prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath
- Save money by avoiding costly and extensive dental procedures
- Keep your teeth white by reducing staining from food and drinks
- Shorten the time spent in your dentist’s office
You’ll receive a comprehensive dental exam by the dentist at your initial dental visit. During regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays: Imaging of the bone and hard tissue in the mouth is essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Gum disease evaluation: Evaluation of the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of inflammation and periodontal disease.
- Oral cancer screening: Check the soft tissue of the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Check for tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
- Check on existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc. for decay, cracks, or fractures.
Professional Dental Cleanings
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
- Measurements of gum tissue: The dental hygienist will then perform a periodontal exam to make sure your gums adhere tightly to your teeth, and no periodontal disease or bone loss may be occurring.
- Calculus (tartar) removal: Calculus is hardened plaque that is mineralized 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.
- Plaque removal: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins that inflame the gums and the start of periodontal disease.
- Teeth polishing: Removes surface stains and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and cleaning.
- Fluoride Varnish: a highly concentrated form of fluoride is applied to the tooth’s surface. Fluoride is a mineral that can strengthen tooth enamel or outer surface of the tooth. This varnish can help prevent tooth decay, slow it down, or stop it from getting worse.
Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for an exam and cleaning, and maintain a happy and healthy smile.
A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. 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.
Reasons for Dental Sealants
- Children and teenagers – As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16.
- Adults – Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions.
- Baby teeth – Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and child is cavity prone.
What Do Dental Sealants Involve?
Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or dental hygienist and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.
The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light.
Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.
Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.
Fluoride Works in Two Ways
- 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 gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dentists and dental hygienists generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.
- Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years. It is very important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.
Who Needs Fluoride Treatment?
The short answer is, we all do. Patients may require regular fluoride treatments include anyone who:
- tends to eat a lot of snacks and sugary foods
- has a lot of pits or grooves in their teeth where bacteria can easily get in
- has braces
- has had a lot of dental work
- has dry mouth caused by medications or by some other health condition
- has gum disease or recessed gums
Using toothpastes and mouthwash with fluoride is great, but the amounts are so low that it is not enough to get the full preventative effects. We can offer fluoride treatment in stronger amounts that works to harden your enamel and protect your teeth from everyday bacteria that results in dental decay.
Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
- Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth
- Exposed and sensitive root surfaces
- Fair to poor oral hygiene habits
- Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake
- Inadequate exposure to fluorides
- Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications
- Recent history of dental decay
Fluoride Alone will not Prevent Tooth Decay
It is important to employ healthy oral hygiene habits such as brushing at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.
According to research conducted by the American Cancer society, more than 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. More than 7,000 of these cases result in the death of the patient. The good news is that oral cancer can easily be diagnosed with an annual oral cancer exam, and effectively treated when caught in its earliest stages.
Oral cancer is a pathologic process which begins with an asymptomatic stage during which the usual cancer signs may not be readily noticeable. This makes the oral cancer examinations performed by the dentist critically important. Oral cancers can be of varied histologic types such as teratoma, adenocarcinoma and melanoma. The most common type of oral cancer is the malignant squamous cell carcinoma. This oral cancer type usually originates in lip and mouth tissues.
There are many different places in the oral cavity and maxillofacial region in which oral cancers commonly occur, including:
- Salivary Glands
- Oropharyngeal Region (throat)
Reasons for Oral Cancer Examinations
It is important to note that around 75 percent of oral cancers are linked with modifiable behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. Your dentist can provide literature and education on making lifestyle changes and smoking cessation.
When oral cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, treatment is generally very effective. Any noticeable abnormalities in the tongue, gums, mouth or surrounding area should be evaluated by a health professional as quickly as possible. During the oral cancer exam, the dentist and dental hygienist will be scrutinizing the maxillofacial and oral regions carefully for signs of pathologic changes.
The following signs will be investigated during a routine oral cancer exam:
- Red patches and sores – Red patches on the floor of the mouth, the front and sides of the tongue, white or pink patches which fail to heal and slow healing sores that bleed easily can be indicative of pathologic (cancerous) changes.
- Leukoplakia – This is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear anywhere inside the mouth. Leukoplakia can be cancerous, or may become cancerous if treatment is not sought.
- Lumps – Soreness, lumps or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can signal pathological problems.
Oral Cancer Exams, Diagnosis and Treatment
The oral cancer examination is a completely painless process. During the visual part of the examination, the dentist will look for abnormality and feel the face, glands and neck for unusual bumps. Lasers which can highlight pathologic changes are also a wonderful tool for oral cancer checks. The laser can “look” below the surface for abnormal signs and lesions which would be invisible to the naked eye.
If abnormalities, lesions, leukoplakia or lumps are apparent, the dentist will implement a diagnostic impression and treatment plan. In the event that the initial treatment plan is ineffective, a biopsy of the area will be performed. The biopsy includes a clinical evaluation which will identify the precise stage and grade of the oral lesion.
Oral cancer is deemed to be present when the basement membrane of the epithelium has been broken. Malignant types of cancer can readily spread to other places in the oral and maxillofacial regions, posing additional secondary threats. Treatment methods vary according to the precise diagnosis, but may include excision, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
During bi-annual check-ups, the dentist and hygienist will thoroughly look for changes and lesions in the mouth, but a dedicated comprehensive oral cancer screening should be performed at least once each year.