Preventative Dentistry

Preventative dental care refers to a team work between you and your dentist with the main goal of keeping your teeth as clean as possible and preventing future teeth loss due to gum disease, cavities and parafunctional habits (such as tooth grinding). We offer variety of dental preventative care in our office including professional cleaning, fluoride, sealants and mouth guards.

What are dental x-rays and why you need those?

Dental x-rays are a crucial part of your dental exam. Dr. Mahi will examine your mouth clinically and will decide what type if x-rays you may need. There are several different types of dental x-ray projections taken in a dental office including intraoral peri-apical images, intraoral bitewing images, extraoral panoramic image, extraoral lateral cephalometric image and Cone Beam CT (CBCT) images.

Dr. Mahi then will look at the x-ray film and makes sure there is no evidence of decay, hard and soft tissue diseases, bone loss, impacted teeth, benign and malignant tumors and cysts and developmental abnormalities. Dr. Mahi is a board certified Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist in addition to being a general dentist. She has been trained to interpret x-ray images through a 3 year residency program and that helps her detect abnormalities better than other general dentist. 

X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is invisible. It can pass through the body and get absorbed differently by different tissues. This differential absorption will give us the chance to see the image of those tissues on an x-ray film after the x-ray beam passes through the tissue and hits the film. The dosage of x-radiation that our body receives through dental x-rays is minimal and can be compared to the natural background x-radiation that we receive annually from cosmic, terrestrial and internal sources. For instance, radiation dose from a panoramic x-ray is equivalent to 1.7 days of natural background radiation, a full-mouth intraoral series is equivalent to 4.3 days, a single peri-apical and bitewing is equal to 6 hours  and 4 bitwings equal to 17 hours of background radiation .

 

 

 

 

Why do you need professional dental cleaning?

Did you know that dental decay and gum disease are preventable? That can be achieved by a team work between you and your dentist. You can practice preventative dentistry at home by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. However, tartar cannot be removed using regular tooth brush at home. You can get rid of all the hard build up on your teeth getting a professional cleaning by your dr. Mahi or her dental hygienist.

You may ask what tartar is and how it forms. Your teeth are covered with a sticky film called plaque which contains bacteria that are responsible for  tooth decay and gum disease. Those bacteria release acidic product every time you eat a meal or snack containing sugar. If not removed, plaque will eventually harden into calculus or tartar. Tartar collects above the gum line and causes inflammation in the gum tissue (gingivitis) which leads to gum swelling, bleeding, bad odor and eventually bone loss and loose teeth, at this point of time, the disease is called periodontitis.

You can prevent plaque buildup, cavities and gum disease by visiting your dentist on a regular basis in conjunction with brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends regular dental visits, at intervals determined by a dentist. The frequency of professional cleaning in the dental office should be determined by the dentist to accommodate for your current oral health status, health history and risk factors for periodontal (gum) disease such as smoking and diabetes.

 

What are sealants and why do you need to receive those?

Sealant is a thin coating of dental material that adheres to the deep grooves on the chewing surface of your back teeth and prevents the bacteria from lodging in those grooves and starting a cavity. Please refer to the link below to learn more about sealants. Dental sealants are also recommended by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and also the NIH ( National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial research).

Is Fluoride safe? Why do you need it?

The safety and benefits of fluoride has been proven by so many scientific research projects carried out in the US and internationally. Water fluoridation was initiated in the US in 1945, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. By the early 1950’s, children in Grand Rapids had fewer cavities compared to school children from nearby areas that did not have fluoride added to their water. Community water fluoridation was named one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since 1945, water fluoridation has been resulted a 25% reduction in tooth decay among children and adults. School children in communities with water fluoridation have, on average, about 2 fewer decayed tooth than children who don’t live in fluoridated communities. That is very important because oral health has tremendous effects on the quality of your personal and social life, job, diet, weight, sleep and mental health.  Untreated tooth decay can cause pain, infection (dental cysts and abscesses) that could in some cases be life threatening, school/work absences, premature loss of primary teeth resulting in crowing of the permanent teeth, bad odor, gum disease and poor appearance—all contributing to reduced quality of life.

Dental fluorosis refers to defects and change in the color of tooth enamel that appear as white spots on the teeth that go unnoticed for the most part. Mild fluorosis can occur when young children, younger 6 years of age, regularly take in fluoride when their permanent teeth are still developing due to swallowing a pea size of fluoridated toothpaste. Please refer to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more information regarding the level of fluoridation in the tap water which determines the need for supplemental fluoride for your kids and also information on using tap water for mixing baby milk formula. Please refer to the pictures below to see the American Dental Association (ADA) recommendation for supplemental Fluoride with regards to the level of fluoridation in your community water.

Other sources of fluoride include fluoridated toothpaste/mouth rinse and professionally applied fluoride varnish are recommended for individuals with higher rate of dental decay.  The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the following for people at risk of developing dental caries: 2.26% fluoride varnish or 1.23% fluoride (APF) gel, or a prescription-strength, home-use 0.5% fluoride gel or paste or 0.09% fluoride mouth rinse for 6 years or older. Only 2.26% fluoride varnish is recommended for children younger than 6 years. Please refer to the pictures below for a more detailed information.

 

Why do you need a mouth guard and/or night gaurd?

 

Night or day guards are used by individuals who grind or clench their teeth during the night or day. Grinding/clenching if untreated, can lead too cracked/fractured teeth, loose teeth, abscess, muscle tenderness and spasm in the face and neck area, pain in the temporomandibular joint and also headaches.  This condition is called bruxism. You may wake up in the morning with a headache and muscle spasm. Talk to dr. Mahi if you have any of those symptoms.

Mouth guards are utilized by many individuals who play sports to prevent dental trauma. No replacement would ever be like your natural teeth so it is a good idea to minimize the risk of any injuries to your teeth and lips during sports. Please refer to the link below to learn more about mouth guards.