Preventive Dentistry

At 21st Century Dentistry, our team is dedicated to helping patients achieve and maintain their healthiest smiles for life, and that all starts with a solid foundation of preventive dental care. Even if you don’t necessarily feel like you have any concerns, we recommend that patients of all ages visit the dentist every six months for routine dental care.

It is far preferable to keep problems like decay and infection from occurring than it is to repair a serious cavity or treat advanced stages of periodontal disease. When you and your loved ones come into 21st Century Dentistry for your six month checkup, we’re able to evaluate for signs of common oral health concerns, answer questions, thoroughly clean teeth, and make recommendations for ongoing care.

Each six month checkup includes the following components:

•  Digital x-rays allow us to diagnose developmental concerns, tooth decay, and other potential issues accurately and begin treatment planning in the earliest stages in order to offer conservative care.

• Dr. Thompson or Dr. Dickerson carefully examine each patient for tooth decay on and between teeth, periodontal disease, signs of teeth grinding or clenching, failing dental work, problems with teeth alignment or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) function, oral cancer, and signs of other health conditions that have an impact on your oral health.

• One of our highly-skilled hygienists carefully removes plaque and tartar from even the hardest to access areas of your teeth, an essential part to preventing periodontal disease. Our hygienists are also happy to answer your oral hygiene questions and demonstrate best methods for home care.

• We will discuss any concerns discovered during your appointment and are happy to answer questions you may have. Your dentist will explain possible treatment options if necessary and make recommendations of things you can do on your own to help prevent future dental problems.

Depending on your family history and other risk factors, we may recommend and provide these additional preventive services.

Advanced Oral Cancer Screening

  • Patients who don’t use tobacco products may think that advanced oral cancer screenings are unnecessary. However, more than 25% of those diagnosed with oral cancer each year do not engage in any high risk behaviors. Oral cancer currently claims one life an hour on average in the US. With early diagnosis, oral cancers typically respond well to treatment. Unfortunately, most patients are diagnosed in the late stages, where less than 50% of those diagnosed go on to live five additional years. With startling numbers like these, we recommend every adult patient gets an advanced oral cancer screening at least once a year. We utilize a VELscope device to aid our visual soft tissue exam and improve our ability to find potential oral cancer at its earliest stage.

Fluoride Treatment

• As teeth are initially developing, ingested fluoride found in tap water and certain foods helps strong, durable dental structures form. Once teeth erupt from the gums, ingested fluoride has little impact on the health of your teeth. Instead, topical fluoride becomes essential to keeping teeth strong. Fluoride on the surface of teeth attracts minerals that strengthen tooth enamel and repel decay-causing bacteria. Many patients receive adequate topical fluoride from the toothpaste they use daily, but kids who are still developing proper oral hygiene techniques and adults at higher risk of tooth decay will benefit from additional topical fluoride applications. If that is in your best interest, we can quickly and easily apply a professional-grade fluoride varnish at the end of your appointment.

Dental Sealants

• Sealants are one of the fastest and most effective ways to protect the chewing surfaces of your teeth from the potentially damaging effects of bacteria and plaque. While they are most frequently recommended for kids, sealants may also be beneficial for adults who are more prone to tooth decay. We most often recommend them for the back teeth (molars), as these teeth typically have deep crevices on the chewing surface that collect and trap bacteria. Sealants are essentially a coating that we apply over the crevices of the teeth to seal out decay-causing bacteria. With proper care, sealants can protect teeth for many years.

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