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PREVENTATIVE DENTISTRY

 

DENTAL EXAMS & CHECK UPS

Accepting New Patients!

How important is Oral Hygiene?

Oral hygiene is necessary for eliminating bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria builds to form plaque that can harden and lead to long-term ailments such as gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, and periodontal disease if it is not removed. A good dental care routine and regular check ups will keep your mouth healthy and prevent inflammation, infection, decay, and tooth loss.

Why get a dental exam?

Dental exams give us the opportunity to evaluate your current methods of dental care and provide suggestions for future care in order to protect you from complications such as cavities and gum disease. They also allow us to detect problems early so they can be fixed quickly and easily.

How often should you get a dental exam?

Dental exams should generally take place every six months. However, consult with our team to decide how often you should be examined, for we may suggest that you visit more frequently based on factors such as smoking, frequency of cavities and genetic susceptibility to tooth and root decay as well as gum disease.

What can I expect from a dental exam?

At a typical dental exam, our team will thoroughly clean your teeth, removing any surface stains or deposits, called tartar or calculus, that are more difficult to remove than plaque and require the assistance of professional dental instruments. We will also check for signs of decay or gum disease. An X-ray may be performed to provide a more detailed summary of your oral health and to more closely identify any problems. We will ask you questions about your current methods of dental care, such as how often you brush your teeth, and floss, as well as whether you use a toothpaste with fluoride. With this information in mind, we will demonstrate proper dental care and provide suggestions on how to improve your habits to promote optimal oral health.

How can you prepare for a dental exam?

The best way to prepare for a dental exam is to practice good dental care at home. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day is recommended. Be sure to clean your teeth before you arrive at your appointment. Our team will be cleaning your teeth for you, but it is helpful to remove food and plaque beforehand so we can focus on the more difficult-to-clean areas. You also want to make sure you are prepared to share pertinent information such as your medical history, insurance coverage and current dental care methods with us.


Don’t be embarrassed to be honest about your oral health habits – our team is not here to judge you, but to work with you to improve your habits and ensure dental health! Lastly, be prepared to schedule a follow-up appointment or future check-up at the end of your dental exam.

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ORAL HYGIENE

Why is Oral Hygiene so Important?

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

Tips for brushing your teeth

Dr. Ossman recommends using a soft tooth brush (preferably an electric tooth brush like Sonicare or Oral-B). Position the brush at a 45 degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.

When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.

To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don’t forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.

Next you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth by using short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. After you are done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.

Tips for flossing your teeth

Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper technique. The following instructions will help you, but remember it takes time and practice.

Start with a piece of floss (waxed is easier) about 18” long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand.

To clean the upper teeth, hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert the floss tightly between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or try to snap it in to place. Bring the floss to the gum line then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance. Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Continue to floss each side of all the upper teeth. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.

To clean between the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefingers of both hands. Do not forget the back side of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.

When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.

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PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANING IN ENUMCLAW

A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning treatment performed to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums. Dental prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for stopping the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Dental prophylaxis is an effective procedure in keeping the oral cavity in proper health and halting the progression of gum disease.

The benefits of a professional teeth cleaning include:

  • Plaque removal. Tartar (also referred to as calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can result in serious periodontal problems. Unfortunately, even with a proper home brushing and flossing routine, it can be impossible to remove all debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dentist or hygienist using specialized dental equipment is necessary to catch potentially damaging buildup.

  • A healthier looking smile. Stained and yellowed teeth can dramatically decrease the esthetics of a smile. Prophylaxis is an effective treatment in ridding the teeth of these unsightly stains.

  • Fresher breath. Bad breath (or halitosis) is generally indicative of advancing periodontal disease. A combination of rotting food particles (possibly below the gum line) and potential gangrene stemming from gum infection, results in bad breath. The routine removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria at our facility can noticeably improve halitosis and reduce infection.

Professional dental cleaning can be performed at our office. We recommend that prophylaxis be performed twice annually as a preventative measure, but should be completed every 3-4 months for periodontitis sufferers. It should be noted that gum disease cannot be completely reversed, but dental prophylaxis is one of the primary tools we can use to effectively halt its progression.

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DEEP TEETH CLEANING

Scaling & Root Planing (SRP)

The initial stage of treatment for periodontal disease is usually a thorough cleaning that may include scaling or root planing. The objective of these non-surgical procedures is to remove etiologic agents such as dental plaque and tartar, or calculus, which cause gingival inflammation and disease. Scaling and root planing can be used as a stand-alone treatment or a preventative measure. They are commonly performed on cases of gingivitis and moderate to severe periodontal disease.

What do the procedures entail

Our Team will only perform scaling and root planing after a thorough examination of the mouth, which may include taking x-rays and visually examining the mouth. Depending on the condition of the gums, the amount of tartar present, the depth of the pockets, and the progression of periodontitis, our hygienists may recommend scaling and root planing. In some cases, local anesthesia may be used during the procedure to make it more comfortable.

Scaling

When scaling is performed, calculus and plaque that attaches to the tooth surfaces is removed. The process especially targets the area below the gum line, along the root. Scaling is performed with a special dental tool called an ultrasonic scaling tool. The scaling tool usually includes an irrigation process that can be used to deliver an antimicrobial agent below the gums to help reduce oral bacteria.

Root Planing

Root planing is performed in order to remove cementum and surface dentin that is embedded with unwanted microorganisms, toxins and tartar. The root of the tooth is literally smoothed, which promotes healing, and also helps prevent bacteria from easily colonizing in the future.

Antibiotics or irrigation with anti-microbials (chemical agents or mouth rinses) may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis. In some cases, our team may place antibiotic fibers in the periodontal pockets after scaling and planing. This may be done to control infection and to encourage normal healing.

When deep pockets between teeth and gums are present, it is difficult for our team to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar. Patients can seldom if ever, keep these pockets clean and free of plaque. Consequently, surgery may be needed to restore periodontal health.

Benefits of Treatment

If treatment is successful, scaling and planing may have many periodontal benefits. One is that it can help prevent disease. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the blood stream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that cause these conditions.

Another benefit of treatment is protecting teeth against tooth loss. When gum pockets exceed 3mm in depth, the risk for periodontal disease increases. As pockets deepen, more bacteria are able to colonize, eventually causing a chronic inflammatory response by the body to destroy gingival and bone tissue. This leads to tooth loss.

Finally, scaling and root planing may make the mouth more aesthetically pleasing and should reduce bad breath caused by food particles and bacteria in the oral cavity. Superficial stains on the teeth will be removed during scaling and planing, adding an extra bonus to the procedures.

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PERIODONTAL MAINTENANCE

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. There are numerous disease entities requiring different treatment approaches. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).

Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • Stress

  • Clenching and grinding teeth

  • Medication

  • Poor nutrition

Periodontal Disease

Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.

Preventing Gum Disease

The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.

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DENTAL SEALANTS

Tooth Sealants Enumclaw, WA

Highly effective in preventing decay on the biting surfaces of your chewing teeth, dental sealants are a simple procedure in which a tooth-colored acrylic “coating” is painted onto the surface of the tooth.

Dental sealants effectively “seals” the deep grooves, acting as a barrier and protecting enamel from plaque and acids.

Dental sealants protect the depressions and grooves of your teeth from food particles and plaque that brushing and flossing can’t reach.

Easy to apply, dental sealants take only a few minutes to seal each tooth. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and can last several years before a reapplication is needed.

Children and adults can benefit from dental sealants in the fight against tooth decay.

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SILVER DIAMINE FLUORIDE (SDF)

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) Enumclaw, WA

Silver diamine fluoride is a cavity-stopping liquid that is brushed on to teeth to halt small cavities without the need for anesthetic or drills! This is a minimally invasive technique that patients have seen great results with in our office. 

It has been used for decades in Japan and was approved for use in the United States in 2015 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Benefits of Silver Diamine Fluoride

  • SDF has widely been shown to be effective to help stop cavity development after a cavity has formed. We call this process caries resonance.

  • SDF helps kill the bacteria that break down tooth surfaces while also keeping them from spreading to other teeth.

  • SDF is often suggested as a more comfortable alternative to drilling cavities. This can be helpful for children or adults who have anxiety about the dentist or may not be able to fully engage in dental procedures, such as those with special healthcare needs.

  • SDF can be helpful as a cavity treatment if you’re overly sensitive to the instruments and substances used during cavity treatments.

  • SDF can help keep cavities to a minimum or prevent them entirely if you feel that it’s difficult to make time for regular dental check-ups or feel uncomfortable about cavity procedures. It’s quick, requires no special equipment, and generally only needs to be done once per year.

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