A preventive program is a cooperative effort by the patient, dentist, and dental staff to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions.
Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. It is continued in the dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health.
Prevention also includes regular dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Sealants and fluoride are also great preventive treatments that help protect the teeth.
Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy, confident, beautiful smile.
Brushing and flossing are of paramount importance to oral hygiene. Though bi-annual professional dental cleanings remove plaque, tartar and debris, excellent home care methods are equally valuable. Proper brushing and flossing can enhance the health of the mouth, make the smile sparkle and prevent serious diseases.
Reasons why proper brushing and flossing are essential:
The Proper Way to Brush
The teeth should be brushed at least twice a day; ideally in the morning and before bed. The perfect toothbrush is small in size with soft, rounded-end bristles and no more than three months old. The head of the brush needs to be small enough to access all areas of the mouth, and the bristles should be soft enough so as not to cause undue damage to the gum tissue. The American Dental Association (ADA) has given electric toothbrushes their seal of approval; stating that those with rotating or oscillating heads are more effective than other toothbrushes.
Here is a basic guide to proper brushing:
The Proper Way to Floss
Flossing is a great way to remove plaque from the interdental regions (between the teeth). Flossing is an especially important tool for preventing periodontal disease and limiting the depth of the gum pockets. The interdental regions are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and should be cleansed with dental floss on a daily basis. The flavor and type of floss are unimportant; choose floss that will be easy and pleasant to use.
Here is a basic guide to proper flossing:
If you have any questions about the correct way to brush or floss, please ask your dentist or dental hygienist.
How we live our life and the types of medical conditions we have can greatly affect your oral health. From smoking to diabetes to certain medications, it's important to be aware of what could be making a difference to your teeth and gums!
Patients who have recently undergone an invasive dental procedure should follow the tips below to minimize the risk of complications and to ensure proper healing of the surgical area.
1. Protect the blood clot at the surgical site.
Maintain gentle pressure by biting on the gauze sponge that has been placed over the surgical area. Bite on your gauze for 30 minutes to stop any bleeding. If bleeding continues, place another gauze and continue to apply pressure. Keep steady firm pressure for 45 minutes to one hour. Once the bleeding has stopped you may remove the gauze.
2. Do not rinse or use mouthwash for at least 24 hours.
After twenty-four hours, you should rinse with warm salt water (½ teaspoon of table salt dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water) or a prescription mouthwash every two to four hours. We do not recommend the use of commercial mouthwashes during the healing period.
3. If medications were given or prescribed, take them as instructed.
This will help reduce the discomfort that normally follows a dental surgery.
4. If the extraction area becomes more uncomfortable with time, call our office immediately.
The extraction area should be reasonably comfortable for the first two or three days.
5. Avoid brushing the area of the mouth affected by the surgical procedure at first.
Continue to brush your teeth carefully in the rest of the mouth. Over time, as the area heals, you may carefully include the teeth around the surgical site. A clean mouth will heal faster.
6. Eat appropriate foods and drink enough fluids.
Nutrition is crucial to the healing process. You may want to try prepackaged protein shakes for the first few days following the procedure. When you feel as though you are able to, then you can begin to include soft foods in your diet again. Avoid spicy or grainy foods as they can stick to the surgical area.
7. Avoid excessive activity and external contaminants.
Do not pick at the surgical area. Do not consume liquids through a straw. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Refrain from smoking until healing is well established.
8. Control swelling though medication and by gently applying ice packs.
Ice packs should be applied to the area for periods of 20 minutes, with breaks of 10 minute intervals, for the first twenty-four hours.
9. For generalized rashes, itching, etc., call your dentist immediately.
10. Do not hesitate to call our office if you have any questions.
Temporary crowns are designed to last 3-4 weeks while the permanent crowns are being customized to your tooth. The temporary protects the tooth underneath and maintains the space necessary for the perfect fit of your permanent crown. That is why we want the temporary to stay intact and on the tooth. Temporary crowns are usually quite fragile, unlike your permanent crown, and can break if put under the stress of eating hard or sticky foods such as candy, chips, etc. Please avoid the chewing of these foods on the temporary crown. If your temporary crown comes off rinse it off and push it back on. If it does not stay in place call our office. It is common for a tooth to be sensitive if the temporary crown comes off. The anesthetic used may affect your bite. If you are hitting this tooth first or harder than other teeth when biting down, contact our office for an adjustment. A high bite can lead to pain and sensitivity. You may brush regularly around the temporary crown but when flossing pull the floss straight down between the teeth then pull it straight out. Do not pull the floss back up as you normally would as this can pull the temporary off.
Periodontal Disease Treatment (Gum & Cleaning Work):
You may experience tenderness of your gums following this treatment. If you experience pain or discomfort you may take an over the counter non-aspirin pain medication. If this does not alleviate your pain please call our office. You may also rinse with warm salt water. Please avoid hard, crunchy, and spicy foods until the tenderness goes away. Brush your teeth at least twice a day even if your gums are tender or slightly bleed. Follow all home care instructions given by your dental hygienist. The most important part of periodontal disease treatment is to keep your recall appointments as directed. This is what insures the success of your treatment.
The more you learn about your oral health and how to take care of it, the happier you'll be! Take some time to learn about your teeth and gums and perhaps even find some answers to your questions.