Preventive dental services not only include routine oral exams, x-rays, and cleanings, but also fluoride treatments, sealants, nightguards, and custom sports guards. At Belmont Family Dentistry we offer all of these services aimed at identifying and stopping early dental issues before they arise.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps prevent cavities in children and adults by making the outer surface of your teeth (enamel) more resistant to the acid attacks that cause tooth decay.
You can use fluoride systematically or topically to benefit your teeth. If you drink fluoridated water or any other fluoridated beverage, you’re getting a systematic benefit since the fluoride is being ingested. The fluoride in the liquids you drink will strengthen your tooth enamel and make it stronger, thereby making it more resistant to cavities.
Using fluoride topically means applying it to the surface of your teeth. This happens when you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste or use any other kind of fluoride dental product that is applied to the surface of the teeth.
At Belmont Family Dentistry, we can give you a topical fluoride treatment that will help rebuild weakened enamel and fight tooth decay. While we highly recommend fluoride treatments, they are always optional and voluntary at our practice.
According to Mouth Healthy brought to you by the American Dental Association (ADA), sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of tooth decay by 80% in molars. This is especially important when it comes to your child’s dental health. In October 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released a report on the importance of sealants for school-aged children stating that “school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”
Sealants are another preventive measure to fight cavities, especially for the molars where leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria hide in the rough, uneven parts of the tooth. More specifically, sealants are a thin plastic film that Dr. Tinkle or Dr. Yoon can paint on the chewing surfaces of your teeth to protect them from cavities.
Check out the application process as explained in this video from the ADA. Sealants usually take 15 to 20 minutes to apply, depending on how many teeth you’re wanting to protect. After sealants have been applied, they keep those bits of food out and stop bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth. As long as sealants last, you have a protective barrier that cannot be penetrated to start cavities. Sealants last several years before they wear off, and they are recommended for both children and adults. Of course, the earlier you get them (as soon as your first molars appear around age 6), the better.
If your teeth, jaw or facial muscles are in pain, it might be because you’re grinding or clenching your teeth at night. If you have this problem, Dr. Tinkle or Dr. Yoon might be able to prescribe you a custom-made nightguard. The guard — a clear, thin device you wear over your upper or lower teeth while sleeping — will protect you from stressing your pearly whites whenever you have one of those crazy beaver dreams.
Nightguards won’t only protect you from pain — they’ll also keep your teeth from wearing down. Studies have shown that people who grind and clench their teeth can have up to 80 times the normal tooth wear per day compared to those who don’t suffer from the habit. Thank goodness for the good ol’ nightguard!
Custom Sports Guards
Want to know something crazy? More than 5 million teeth get knocked out each year in sports. What’s the next safest thing to standing on the sidelines? Wearing a handy-dandy sports guard, of course. This device, which fits in your mouth and covers your upper teeth, is a must if you play any sport where getting hit in the face with something — be it a football, a boxing glove or a squirrel — is a possibility. Remember: not all sports that put you at risk for dental injuries are contact sports. Some non-contact sports like skating and gymnastics can cause broken teeth too.
Custom sports guards protect your tongue, lips and cheek lining, and significantly lessen the risk of broken teeth and mouth injuries. The ADA estimates that over 200,000 mouth injuries are prevented every year because of sports guards. If you wear your sports guard properly, you can decrease your risk of injury by 99 percent.
Lots of sporting good stores offer mouthguards, but these versions aren’t as effective as the custom-made ones by Dr. Tinkle or Dr. Yoon. Store-bought mouthguards can’t be altered; plus, you have to clench your teeth so they’ll work the right way. We can customize the sports guard by using an exact duplicate of your mouth. The guard will stay put with no effort, and you can wear a comfortably-fitting piece that shields your teeth from harm while you keep your attention where you want it: on your game.
Contact Belmont Family Dentistry at (503) 234-1218 for all your Preventive Dental Services.