Exam and Charting
At your initial appointment, your teeth and soft tissues will be carefully examined. All existing fillings, crowns, missing teeth and any problems or pathology will be charted. Any concerns or issues that you are having, as well as our exam findings, will be discussed fully with you.
Periodontal Pocket Assessment
The first sign of periodontal (gum) disease is red, swollen gums that bleed easily. If allowed to progress, the bacteria that cause gum disease will cause the attachment of the gum tissue to the teeth and bone to break down forming pockets. Many adults have periodontal pockets which generally do not cause any symptoms or pain. It is very important that these pockets be measured on a regular basis to determine the extent and progression of possible gum disease. These readings will determine the interval for your cleanings, 3, 4 or 6 months, the need for special deep cleanings (root plane) and scaling or the need for referral to a specialist (periodontist). In adults more teeth are lost from gum disease than from tooth decay.
Oral Cancer Screening
As part of your exam, you will receive an oral cancer screening. Our staff is well trained to evaluate your oral health for this very serious condition.
Teeth Cleaning (Prophylaxis)
Your teeth will be gently but thoroughly cleaned, removing all plaque and tartar (calculus) from above and below the gum line. If you have not had cleanings on a regular basis then this may require more than one visit. When necessary, we use a modern ultrasonic scaler for efficient and effective tartar removal.
Sealants help to prevent dental decay from occurring in the chewing surfaces of the permanent molars. These surfaces have pits and grooves that can harbor bacteria that cause decay. These grooves are thoroughly cleaned. If decay is not found, then a flowable resin (sealant) is placed in the pits and fissures, and hardened, providing a barrier against future decay. The sealants are rechecked at subsequent cleaning appointments and repaired if necessary. The best time to place sealants is when the permanent 1st molars (around age 6) and the permanent 2nd molars (around age 12) first appear.
Regular dental x-rays are essential for detection and diagnosis of dental decay (especially between the teeth), bone loss from gum disease, as well as other disease processes. We use state-of-the-art digital intraoral x-rays. These offer many advantages over the old film based images. This technology allows us to immediately view the image, to manipulate the image to aid diagnosis and to enlarge the image, enabling the patient to easily see for themselves any problems.
In addition, our office is equipped with the latest in decay detection software, Logicon. This software takes an x-ray image of suspected decay and maps it digitally and compares this to a large database to accurately diagnose new cavities between your teeth at an early stage.