The services we offer most often to our patients from the New Haven, Connecticut, area could be described as general and preventative dentistry services. These services are how we help our patients keep serious problems from ever developing. Maintaining a regular schedule of general and preventative dental care added to a good at-home program is the best way you can keep your teeth shiny and healthy.
Here are the general and preventative treatments that are very popular with our patients.
Having your teeth cleaned twice a year helps your teeth in ways that your at-home care regimen can’t accomplish. Each time you come in, Albania Dental hygienists will clean away plaque that has accumulated in all the hard-to-reach spots on your teeth. When this plaque is allowed to remain on your teeth, it hardens into tartar. Tartar will begin to attack your teeth and that is the start of cavities. At your twice-yearly cleanings, we clean away plaque and tartar from every little crevice and do a thorough examination.
We will also take digital x-ray images of your teeth. Dr. Maria Jimenez will carefully examine these x-rays to ensure there are no hidden cavities or other problems developing between your teeth or below the gum line. We will also be looking for signs of bone loss that might indicate a need for more frequent cleanings or treatment for gum disease.
During your thorough examination, we will check every surface of your teeth for cavities, chips, cracks or wear resulting from grinding your teeth. Your existing dental work will be checked to make sure it is in good condition, including fillings, crowns, implants, onlays, inlays and braces. Your face, lips, cheeks, gums, tongue and the area below your tongue will be checked for any signs of oral cancer. Your gums will be checked for any red, swollen or sore spots. If your gums were bleeding during cleaning, it will be explained to you that this is an early sign of gum disease and how you can address it with better at-home care.
To finish off your preventative care visit, your teeth will be polished to ensure no tartar remains and to improve their color.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) lies right in front of your ear, where the lower jaw connects with your skull. This joint can suffer injury or dislocation from athletic activities or arthritis can develop in your later years. Problems with the TMJ can also result from grinding or clenching your teeth. Sometimes, the joint has problems from birth.
This joint is subjected to heavy stress every time you bite or chew. For you to be able to chew and open and shut your jaw normally, any problem with the TMJ should be treated before it becomes chronic.
Periodontal care refers to treatment to improve the health of your gums.
Have you ever experienced bleeding from your gums while brushing, flossing or using a toothpick? This is a sign that your gums are not as healthy as they could be.
Do some areas of your gums ever get swollen and sore? This is another sign.
While these signs are fairly minor, they indicate the need to step up your at-home care and visits to our office.
At this stage, the problem is referred to as gingivitis. Improved hygiene will normally reverse gingivitis and stop the symptoms.
But if gingivitis is allowed to continue, the condition worsens into periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease can create much more damage to your teeth, gums and bone than gingivitis. It means that open pockets have formed between your teeth and your gums and bacteria has taken up residence in these pockets. All the structures supporting your teeth will become irritated and bone mass will start being lost. As this bone loss progresses, your teeth can become loose and may be lost entirely.
Infections will start to form in the gums and you could notice pockets of smelly pus. The treatment for periodontal disease must be much more intensive. We will need to clean out these pockets and smooth any rough areas on the roots of your teeth. This procedure is called scaling and root planing. After this treatment, we will need to monitor the healing of your gums to ensure that they are now healthy.
Prevent periodontal disease with good at-home care and regular visits to our office!
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has been proven to harden the enamel of teeth and thus protect a person from cavities.
You might use a fluoridated toothpaste at home, but in our office, we can safely apply a stronger fluoride treatment than you can get at home. When we give our patients a fluoride treatment, we will first clean their teeth thoroughly, removing any stains.
A fluoride formula will be painted onto teeth or the patient will bite into a tray that has been filled with a fluoride gel. After a few minutes, the tray will be removed and any remaining gel will be cleaned from the teeth.
Fluoride treatments should be repeated for best protection.
Sealants are tough plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the larger, flatter teeth in the rear of the mouth.
For a young person who might have difficulty keeping their teeth clean or for a person at especially high risk for cavities, sealants can be very helpful.
These rear teeth have irregular surfaces with many crevices called fissures. Cavities in these fissures are very common among our young patients.
When we apply sealants, bacteria can’t grow in these fissures and so can’t begin to attack the enamel.
We often see that patients with sealants get fewer cavities.
Please talk to us if you think you might be a good candidate for sealants.
It is now a standard action for every dentist to examine patients for signs of oral cancer.
Each time we see you, we will be looking for any signs like:
The sooner one of these signs is spotted, the better!