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Professional Cleanings
Professional cleanings performed by a licensed dentist or hygienist are just as important to your dental health as daily brushing and flossing. Using specialized tools and training, your hygienist or dentist will:

• Remove plaque build-up from the surfaces of teeth. Bacteria in the mouth form plaque, which collects on teeth and causes decay, gum disease, and gingivitis.
• Remove tartar from teeth surfaces. Tartar, or calculus, is plaque that has become so hardened on the teeth that its removal requires special procedures. Tartar below the gum line is also an indication of gum disease.
• Remove surface stains from teeth through polishing.

Examinations
Regular examinations by your dentist help detect and prevent health issues before they become serious. Consistent dental check-ups help catch problems when they are small and easier to treat. Left unattended, small treatable problems become worse and may require more extensive, expensive procedures to repair. Dental examinations generally include the following:

• Gum disease screening
• Oral cancer screening
• Visual tooth decay evaluation
• Visual gum disease examination
• Gum pocket measurement and tracking
• X-ray examination to detect: tooth decay, cysts, tumors, problems below the gums and other hidden issues

Regular examinations by a dentist are very important for your health. Remember, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." –Benjamin Franklin

X-rays (Radiographs)
Dental x-rays are a primary tool for early identification of dental problems. Dentists can detect issues with x-rays before they become problems saving you money in the long run by preventing the need for more extensive, expensive procedures or surgeries. X-rays are primarily used to detect:

• Internal tooth decay
• Cysts (fluid filled sacks at the base of your teeth)
• Tumors, both cancerous and non-cancerous
• Impacted teeth
• Teeth that are still coming in

Digital X-rays Advantages
Digital x-rays have several advantages over traditional film based x-rays:

• They emit up to 90% less radiation
• They are ready for examination nearly instantly
• They can be viewed on a computer screen
• Their image can be refined and enlarged
• They are greener; no chemicals are needed for processing

Sealants
Sealants are generally used to help prevent tooth decay on the biting surfaces of back teeth (molars). The natural grooves of these teeth can trap food that can resist casual brushing and rinsing. If left in place, the trapped food allows bacteria to multiply, eventually causing tooth decay and requiring costly attention.

Sealants are painted directly onto the tooth's biting surface where they seal the natural grooves to help prevent tooth decay. While sealants are durable, they are not permanent. They can last up to 5 years of normal wear before needing replacement.

Sealants offer a cost-effective, preventative step to reduce the chances of tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of molars. However, they do not replace the need for regular brushing and flossing.

Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)
Gum disease accounts for approximately 70% of all tooth loss in adults. Early signs of gum disease include bleeding gums when flossing or brushing, and gums that are red, inflamed, or swollen.

Gum disease and tooth decay are caused by the same bacteria. These bacteria form plaque beneath the gum line, which eats away at the bond between tooth and gum. If deterioration is allowed to continue, "pockets" form in between the teeth and the gums. Pockets deeper than 3mm may require special treatment to remove the bacteria and plaque. Without treatment and continuous maintenance, gum disease will eventually weaken the bonds that hold the teeth in place.

There is no permanent treatment for gum disease. However, it can be kept under control with proper personal hygiene and regular visits to a trained dentist or hygienist.
Reasons You Need to Worry If You Do Not Make Enough Saliva
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Saliva performs multiple activities in the mouth, but the most important function is providing a neutral oral environment that keeps the mouth functioning properly. When the salivary glands do not produce sufficient amounts of saliva, the negative consequences can range from discomfort to gum disease. Depending on the root cause of the lack of saliva, the solution can be as simple as drinking more water or as involved as dramatic changes in the patient's medications or lifestyle.

Functions of Saliva

Because of its chemical composition and liquidity, saliva assists with chewing, swallowing, and breaking down food. Saliva also helps slow the growth of harmful bacteria and invasive fungi in the mouth, slowing the spread of oral health problems such as gingivitis and plaque formation. The enzymes in saliva fortify tooth enamel, which helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Problems Caused by Lack of Saliva

Dry mouth is the oral health condition where a patient's mouth generates too little saliva or none at all. Dry mouth causes swelling and irritation in the mouth's soft tissues. The combination of the dry environment and the lack of neutralizing enzymes leads to ideal conditions for harmful microorganisms to thrive and multiply. Dry mouth also increases the chances of food particles remaining dislodged between teeth, leading to complications such as tooth decay and gingivitis.

Contact our office if you have dry mouth that is not resolved by drinking water and sucking on sugar-free candy. Dry mouth has several causes, and our team can help determine the cause and suggest solutions to cure your dry mouth.

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Keizer Family Dental Care, 4600 River Road North, Keizer, OR 97303 | 503-393-2264 | www.keizerfamilydental.com | 4/10/2021 | Key Phrases: dentist Keizer OR | dentist Keizer OR |