Preventative & Hygiene
Preventive dentistry and early detection are key to avoiding a breakdown in oral health, which impacts overall health. Regular brushing, flossing and dental check-ups will help you achieve excellent oral health. We focus on good hygiene and preventative care for all of our patients, including children. Services we perform include:
Cleaning & Deep Cleaning
A dental cleaning or prophylaxis by definition involves the removal of plaque, calculus and stain that lies at or above the gum line. Plaque is the soft, white, sticky bacteria easily removed with your tooth brush and floss. Calculus on the other hand is the mineralized form of plaque that requires a professional to remove. A deeper cleaning (scaling and root planing) is usually needed when there is gum disease present. It is different from a regular dental cleaning because most of the cleaning is done below the gum line. The calculus and plaque are removed from underneath the gums and the roots are smoothed. This decreases the chances that bacteria will adhere to the roots and form calculus.
The back teeth, molars and sometimes pre-molars have deep grooves on the chewing surfaces. These grooves can be so deep and narrow that it can be impossible to clean down in the grooves. Bacteria, however, have no problem getting down to the full depths of these grooves and causing decay that can be hard to detect until it is quite advanced. Dental sealants now offer a means of successfully protecting molar and premolar chewing surfaces from decay. Recognized by the American Dental Association as a key means of cavity prevention, dental sealants are a thin resin film that can be applied to your at-risk tooth surfaces.
The same advanced bonding techniques used for cosmetic dentistry are used to bond the sealants in the grooves to seal out bacteria. The entire procedure is not only painless, but fast–requiring between ten and forty-five minutes, depending on the number of teeth we’re sealing. The cost of a sealant is much less than the cost of a filling, and it is an excellent investment to protect teeth from getting cavities at all. Over the years they can wear down, and should be checked regularly, which is another important reason for regular examinations and cleanings.
A healthy adult typically benefits from a professional cleaning and checkup every six months. While twice daily brushing and daily flossing go a long way towards maintaining a healthy mouth, it is wise to check for plaque that has hardened into calculus, requiring professional cleaning to avoid gum disease. In our office, we customize the interval at which a person requires cleanings depending on their current oral conditions.
Dr. Craven and her team use a variety of teaching tools including both intra-oral and extra-oral cameras, digital X-rays and models with help in performing an examination. This enables the patient the ability to see the conditions of their mouths. We are happy to supply patients with materials to take home for review.
A night guard or bruxing splint covers the tops of the teeth in order to protect them from damage due to excessive night time grinding. They can also be made to help relax the facial muscles for those with soreness and pain around the Tempromandibular Joint (TMJ). Night guards come in a variety of designs and are custom made to your teeth. Dr. Craven will help find the appropriate appliance after an examination of the joints, muscles and teeth.
A mouth guard is a comfortable piece of athletic gear that fits over your teeth and can help protect your smile as well as your lips, tongue, face, and jaw. They should be used for a variety of sports activities. There are three types of mouth guards: ready-made, mouth-formed and custom. The ready-made and mouth-formed are less expensive and easy to buy. Unfortunately, they are not fitted exactly to your teeth, so they may seem bulky and uncomfortable in your mouth. Ready-made mouth guards can also only be held in place if your jaws are closed, which can make it difficult to talk or breathe during a practice or game. If you’re looking for the best fit, you can talk to Dr. Craven about custom-made mouth guards. Because they’re customized to fit your mouth, they’re more comfortable and less likely to interfere with speech or breathing.
The DIAGNOdent is a device used to detect early cavities in grooves that cannot be felt with a dental explorer. It uses specific wavelengths of light that exhibit fluorescence, proportionate to the degree of decay. Reading can be tracked and monitored over time so that suspicious lesions can be restored early with minimally invasive techniques.
X-rays are an important tool used to identify decay and other abnormalities that can’t be seen by the human eye, even with magnification. Digital X-rays are similar to conventional X-rays but use much less radiation. They allow the image to be captured immediately onto a computer screen for viewing. The images easily enlarged for easier diagnosis. Dr. Craven follows the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle and personalizes the frequency X-rays must be taken.