As the expression goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nowhere is this saying more true than in dentistry. It’s much easier to prevent cavities than to treat them–and much cheaper, too. If you fit into the category of people who only go to the family dentist when you have a toothache, get ready for a big dose of truth: there’s a better way!
We know no one looks forward to dental appointments, but the reality is that regular six-month visits to your dentist are the single most important thing you can do (beyond daily brushing and flossing) to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Do you need a family dentist in Vancouver, WA? Creative Smiles provides excellent quality dental care to keep your family’s smiles healthy and strong. Contact us at 360-574-3061 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Carl Futenma.
What Happens During a Preventive Visit?
Six-month preventive visits serve two main purposes. They give us the opportunity to (1) examine your teeth for problems, and (2) deliver a professional teeth cleaning. When signs of decay are caught early, this allows our staff to provide treatments that can actually prevent a cavity from developing. If cavities are already present, we can provide fillings to prevent the kind of deep decay that leads to complex restorations.
There are many goals to preventive visits:
- Remove tartar from tooth enamel
- Clean and polish teeth
- Answer questions about oral health and hygiene
- Examine teeth and take x-rays
- Check for cavities and spots of demineralization
- Apply fluoride gel and sealants to prevent cavities
- Check gum tissue for signs of gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease)
- Discuss overall medical health issues that may affect your oral health
- Oral cancer screening
As with any dental procedure, preventive visits can be performed with the assistance of sedation. If a member of your family experiences dental anxiety, ask about our sedation options when you book the appointment.
Why Prevention is So Important
Most Americans will experience some level of tooth decay in their lifetime. Even those of us who are vigilant about our daily oral hygiene can develop cavities. Why? Mouth bacteria are miniscule, and any amount of tartar build-up can lead to a cavity if not removed with dental tools. Once a cavity has started there’s nothing your body can do to heal it. Only your dentist and dental staff can halt tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy and strong.
Why You Need Professional Teeth Cleanings
You may love how white and shiny your teeth look after a dental cleaning, but appearance is the least important benefit of a dental cleaning.
When you eat and drink, small amounts of food residue stick to the teeth and invite bacteria to feast on them. As bacteria consume, they excrete acids that can demineralize tooth enamel. Bacteria and food residue form a biofilm called plaque. If not removed by brushing and flossing, plaque can harden into calculus (tartar), which is not soluble and can only be removed with dental instruments. At your dental cleanings, we remove small spots of tartar that would otherwise develop into cavities if neglected.
Practicing good oral hygiene is the best thing you can do at home to prevent cavities. But the truth is that brushing and flossing can never remove all bacteria from the mouth. All it takes is a very small spot of tartar to initiate the beginning of a cavity. Teeth often have deep ridges and crevices (especially the molars), so it can be extremely difficult to clean them thoroughly on your own.
When we find these spots of tartar and demineralization, it gives us the opportunity to treat them. Without regular dental cleanings at your family dentist, you are more likely to develop cavities that require restorations, such as fillings and root canal therapy.
Patient-Centered, Family Friendly
At Creative Smiles, you’ll find a caring, patient-focused staff who will make your experience as comfortable as possible. No oral hygiene lectures (unless you ask for them) and no shaming will take place inside our walls. Our one goal is to help you and your family have the best oral health possible, so you can keep your teeth for life.
A native of Hawaii, Dr. Carl Futenma has a friendly chair-side manner that will make every member of your family feel welcome and well cared for. From the youngest member of your family to the oldest, Dr. Futenma’s expertise and experience ensure you get the best care possible.