Preventive Dentistry in Port Orchard, WA

Preventive dentistry is the area of dentistry aimed to help people prevent oral disease and its further development. Preventive dentistry includes not just in-office dental care, but at-home treatments as well.

Some examples of at-home treatments include:

  • Regular brushing– the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing two times a day and directly after meals, when possible
  • Regular flossing– the ADA recommends flossing at least once a day
  • Rinsing with anti-bacterial mouth wash– recommended after each brushing

Proper brushing is an essential part in preventive dentistry. The proper way to brush your teeth is to use a soft nylon toothbrush with round-ended bristles. Next both the tooth surface and the gum line should be brushed by placing the brush at a 45-degree angle along the gum line and brushing gently in a rolling back-and-forth motion on the surface of the teeth. When brushing you should cover the inner surfaces of your teeth and then tilt the brush in order to brush the front teeth. The ideal brushing technique also involves the brushing of the tongue. Brushing should last until all teeth a gum lines have been thoroughly brushed.

Receiving regular dental cleanings and exams is crucial in keeping your mouth healthy and your smile beautiful. This routine preventive care helps our dentist to monitor your oral health and provide prompt treatment for any developing problems.

Dental Cleanings

One of the most important ways to maintain excellent oral health is by scheduling regular dental cleanings. These cleanings can help to remove plaque or tartar that form in between the teeth. Even with daily brushing and flossing, those “hard to reach” places are often missed. It is recommended that you visit Port Orchard Dental Care Center once ever six months for a cleaning.

How it’s done:

Your cleaning should last between thirty minutes and one hour. One of our skilled hygienists will first perform the cleaning, and then our dentists will come in after for an examination. Most patients do not experience any discomfort or pain during their cleanings.

The cleaning will consist of scaling and polishing.

During the scaling process, electric and hand tools will be used to remove tartar and plaque from the surface of the teeth, in between the teeth, and at the pockets along the gums.

Following this, a polishing will be completed to remove any final plaque and to buff the teeth. Polishers have several different head sizes that can be used in order to reach all surfaces of the teeth.

Dental Exams and X-Rays

Alongside a dental cleaning every six months, you should also be receiving a dental exam at the same frequency. These exams are essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums, while saving you time, money, and discomfort associated with greater dental issues down the line. At the twice-yearly interval, we are typically able to identify and start treatment on most oral health issues while they are still in their infancy.

How it’s done:

First, our dentists will examine your mouth visually, using tools such as mirrors and high-intensity lights. The doctor will be looking for cases of decay, cracks in the teeth, and will review other important information with you, such as:

  • Medical history
  • An oral cancer screening
  • Gum disease evaluation
  • Examination of existing dental restorations

Additionally, diagnostic x-rays will be taken in order to help reveal any issues with areas that are not visible to the naked eye, such as the roots or inside of the teeth. Bitewing x-rays are typically taken every 12 months and a panographic x-ray, which revolves around the head, is taken every 3-5 years.

A sealant is a clear coating that is painted into the grooves on the chewing surfaces of a tooth and prevents decay from forming on that surface. It is usually done for children. It is put on molars and pre-molars that have never had a cavity, to protect the tooth from decay.

When applied to the chewing surfaces of molars, sealants act as a barrier between the tooth and harmful bacteria. They are most effective when applied to decay-susceptible surfaces as soon as the teeth come in. With sealants, there is no drilling and no discomfort. We can apply sealants in less time than having a tooth filled.

Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay. Fluoride treatments are provided in dental offices, and dentists recommend using fluoride toothpastes, and mouth rinses at home. Fluoride is even added to public drinking water. Fluoride can even reverse tiny cavities that are starting to form.

Teeth are covered in a hard, outer coating called enamel. Every day, a thin film of bacteria called dental plaque builds up on your teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that can begin to harm enamel. Over time, the acids can cause a hole in the enamel. This hole is called a cavity. Brushing and flossing your teeth can protect you from decay, but once a cavity happens, a dentist has to fix it.

You can protect your teeth from decay by using fluoride toothpaste. If you are at a higher risk for tooth decay (for example, if you have a dry mouth because of medicines you take), you might need more fluoride. Your dentist or dental hygienist may give you a fluoride treatment during an office visit, or the dentist may tell you to use a fluoride gel or mouth rinse at home.

A nightguard is a custom-made acrylic mouthpiece that is worn to protect the teeth from grinding (bruxing) or clenching, mostly occurring during sleep. Many people clench and/or grind their teeth and may not even know it. Some people do this every night, and some only do this occasionally. Occasional grinding does not usually cause harm. When grinding occurs on a continual basis, the teeth can be badly damaged and cause other oral health complications. Chronic grinding can also affect your jaw, resulting in possible hearing loss, cause or worsen TMJ, and even change the appearance of your face. At our office we believe there’s no reason not to have beautiful teeth at the age of 80, but it must begin by preventing wear on teeth starting years sooner.

Nightguards can help with bruxism, also known as tooth grinding. Bruxism is a common dental issue that countless patients go through for numerous reasons. Whether you’re stressed, anxious, or fall into this bad habit, your smile is at risk. As you grind your teeth, they can become worn down, loose, broken, sore, sensitive, and more. With the help of your dentists in Port Orchard, we can treat bruxism and save your smile.

If you want to learn more about our bruxism treatment to see if it’s right for you, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

If you are a tobacco or smokeless tobacco user, you are in primary danger of developing oral cancer. More than 8,000 deaths were attributed to oral cancer in the past year. We are committed to the prevention of oral cancer through early identification of pre cancerous conditions, and provide oral cancer screenings at each preventive care appointment.