As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is absolutely the case with dentistry, and it why our #1 priority is helping you preserve your natural teeth for your entire lifetime. Preventive dentistry starts with our exceptional team of registered dental hygienists, and it extends to our programs that help educate you on how to properly take care of your teeth at home through regular brushing and flossing..
Regular Check-Ups & Cleanings
At Gardner Dentists, we recommend patients see Dr. Markway or Dr. Haworth at least twice a year for cleanings and complete oral exams.
Led by our team of seven dental hygienists, we complete a thorough cleaning and check-up every six months. The goal is to give your mouth that “fresh, clean” feel while helping to minimize the bacteria and plaque that naturally form around your teeth and gums. In addition, our 6-month appointments include a complete exam that screens for periodontal (gum) disease, oral cancer, evidence of bruxism (grinding your teeth) and bacteria that causes gingivitis and bad breath. These very common health problems can be treated quickly if spotted early.
Once a year, we capture a complete set of digital x-rays. These x-rays (as opposed to traditional systems you remember as a kid), reduce radiation exposure by 30%. This vital technology provides us with a detailed view of your oral health – (both what we can normally see and what is under your gums).
Upon completion of your dental cleaning and exam, we will listen to and answer your questions. Then Dr. Haworth or Dr. Markway will communicate our findings and thoroughly explain all of your treatment options. Together we'll develop an individualized approach to keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright.
Periodontal disease is more commonly known as gum disease, and it can have serious consequences if left untreated. In fact, it has been directly linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and respiratory disease. This all stems from the fact that an infection in one part of your body (including your mouth) can spread to other parts of your body.
To understand how we treat periodontal disease, it is important to understand what causes it in the first place. The main culprit is plaque. This is a sticky, clear film that forms on your teeth and contains bacteria. Left untreated, this bacteria can develop into periodontal disease and lead to tooth loss and even the more severe conditions mentioned above.
For these reasons, Gardner Dentists screens for even the early signs of periodontal disease at every visit. Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease, and it can often be detected through swollen and bleeding gums. If caught early enough, our hygienists can remove the plaque and place you on a home-care protocol to avoid future issues.
In more extreme cases, our team will utilize deep cleaning techniques to prevent the spread of the bacteria and any further destruction of the soft tissues around your teeth. This process is called scaling and root planing. It often requires multiple visits, but we enjoy a high rate of success. During each visit, our goal is to clean your teeth down to the roots in an effort to remove all plaque that is carrying the bacteria and irritating your gums. We may utilize a local anesthetic to make the process more comfortable.
Once your gums are healthy, regular check-ups and proper home care are critical to avoiding periodontal disease in the future.
Like calcium and phosphate, fluoride is a natural substance found in water and many foods. Also, it is added to tap water in many towns and cities. These minerals are important because they help maintain the strength of the enamel layer that protects your teeth from decay. In children, fluoride is critical to the development of permanent teeth.
In some instances, extra fluoride can benefit your teeth. In fact, recent research indicates that applying fluoride regularly is as important to fighting decay as it is in strengthening teeth. Fluoride can be directly applied through select toothpastes and mouth washes, and our team at Gardner Dentists can provide prescription-level doses when appropriate. We are able to utilize certain gels and foams here in our office, and we can prescribe at-home treatments as well.
As patients keep their natural teeth longer and longer, decay often becomes a secondary concern. Severe damage can be caused – even to healthy teeth – by the constant grinding and clenching that often happens while we sleep. Constant headaches are a strong indicator, as is waking up with a sore or stiff jaw. Loud clicking and grinding sounds are symptoms of bruxism often noticed by a loved one.
Fortunately, there is a proven, comfortable solution that can eliminate these symptoms while preserving the anatomy and function of your natural teeth. This solution is called a dental night guard. Dental night guards work by providing a barrier between your top and bottom teeth while you sleep. They are custom fitted to allow for proper breathing and a comfortable fit.
We will look for this normal wear and tear of your teeth during our 6-month exams, but feel free to give us a call if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above.
Most adults would have far fewer cavities if sealants were available a generation ago. Basically, they are thin coats of polymer that are used to cover the biting surfaces of teeth in kids and teens. The grooves in the back teeth are more difficult to reach and clean. As a result, they are the #1 area where cavities are found. By utilizing sealants, Dr. Haworth and Dr. Markway are able to create a barrier that helps protect your teeth from harmful germs and bacteria. And, these sealants often last between 5 and 10 years.
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