Every six months, you should schedule a routine dental exam with Dr. Kimes and Associates to reduce the chance of developing serious oral health problems. According to the American Dental Association, checkups should be scheduled twice each year to screen for periodontal disease, oral cancer, cracks in the teeth, tooth decay, or old dental work that needs to be replaced.
Leaving minor dental issues untreated, can run the risk for an increase in more serious dental problems in the future. As an example, it is easy to find & treat a small cavity during your dental exam; however, if that same cavity is left untreated, the decay can spread throughout that tooth and also to the surrounding teeth. In the same way, if gum disease is not treated, it can spread causing tooth loss and problems with your overall health. Preventative dentistry, or a regularly scheduled dental exam, is very important in early detection, treatment, and control of these dental health problems.
Dental sealants prevent cavities by acting like a barrier; a plastic material typically applied to the back teeth (premolars and molars) chewing surfaces where the decay typically occurs.
Routine brushing and flossing will help to remove any food particles and plaque that accumulates from the smooth surfaces of the teeth. Toothbrush bristles can’t thoroughly clean all the grooves to effectively remove food and plaque. Dental sealants protect the susceptible areas by “sealing out” food and plaque.
The sealant is brushed onto the tooth’s enamel, bonds directly to the tooth and will harden. Acting like a barrier, the sealant protects the tooth enamel from plaque and acid. The tooth’s surface will remain protected from decay as long as the sealant stays undamaged. Sealants hold up very well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years before needing to be reapplied. Dr. Kimes and Associates will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary during your regular dental appointments.
Children and teenagers are good candidates for dental sealants, as pits and tooth decay can begin at an early age; however, adults can benefit from sealants too.
By making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth, fluoride treatments help to prevent tooth decay; early decay can also be reversed. In children under 6 years of age, fluoride makes it difficult for teeth to become demineralized by acids because it is fused into the development of permanent teeth. In the teeth of both adults and children, fluoride also helps speed re-mineralization and disturbs the production of acid.
Dr. Kimes and Associates can apply fluoride as gel, varnish or foam to the teeth. Toothpastes and mouth rinses do not contain as much fluoride as is found in these treatments. Gels can be painted on or applied via a mouth guard; varnishes are painted onto the teeth; foam treatments are put into a mouth guard and worn for one to four minutes.
One out of every two American adults aged 30 and over has periodontal (gum) disease, according to recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Unhealthy gums are a red flag; they can be a warning sign of future tooth loss and the potential for stroke and heart disease. Patients can prevent gum disease by simply practicing good dental hygiene and attending routine checkups with Dr. Kimes and his team of caring professionals providing preventative dentistry services.
When gum disease is left untreated, it can advance and eventually cause tooth loss and even risks to your overall health. Routine checkups are vital to early detection, treatment, and control of these common dental health concerns.
Oral Cancer Screenings During Dental Exam
Diagnosing oral cancer in its very early stages is critical, because each year 7,500 deaths are caused by this disease. There are no early symptoms that are obvious; therefore, having oral screenings during your routine dental checkups are the most effective way to recognize any irregularities as early as possible. These screenings are painless and quick, as Dr. Kimes and Associates use the latest diagnostic tools available to spot any areas of soft tissue that could possibly be cancerous. For patients who do not smoke or use tobacco, we suggest having an oral cancer screening once every year. We suggest at least two screenings each year for those patients who do smoke or use tobacco. Remember, the chance of surviving oral cancer, greatly increases with early detection and treatment.