Prophylaxis: is also referred to as a cleaning. It is preventive care performed by a hygienist that removes calculus (tartar), plaque and common stains from teeth. The cleaning is generally above the gum line and is completed in one appointment. It is recommended that most people have their teeth cleaned semi-annually. However, some patients may benefit from more frequent visits. Talk with your dentist and hygienist at one of our offices to set up a cleaning schedule.
Fluoride: Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. Every day, minerals are added to and lost from a tooth’s enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. Minerals are lost (demineralization) from a tooth’s enamel layer when acids — formed from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth — attack the enamel. Minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate are redeposited (remineralization) to the enamel layer from the foods and waters consumed. Too much demineralization without enough remineralization to repair the enamel layer leads to tooth decay.
Oral Hygiene Instruction: Daily brushing and cleaning between teeth are important to your dental health because it removes plaque. Plaque is a thin, colorless, sticky bio-film that constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat foods containing sugars and starches, the bacteria in plaque produces acids, which attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with the teeth. After such attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms. If plaque is not removed with daily brushing, it can harden into calculus (tarter).
Sealants: A dental sealant is a thin plastic film painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent cavities. Studies have proven that properly applied sealants are 100-percent effective in protecting the tooth surfaces from cavities. As long as the sealant remains intact, small food particles and bacteria that cause cavities cannot penetrate through or around a sealant. Sealant protection is reduced or lost when part or all of the bond between the tooth and sealant is broken. However, clinical studies have shown that teeth that have lost sealants are no more susceptible to tooth decay than teeth that were never sealed.
Space Maintainers: A space maintainer is made of stainless steel and/or plastic. It can be removable. Some space maintainers are cemented onto the teeth on either side of the space in the child’s mouth. This is called a fixed space maintainer. There are several kinds of fixed space maintainers. One is called a band-and-loop maintainer, another type is called a distal shoe appliance. If missing several teeth, a partial denture may be used instead of a space maintainer.
(Includes prophylaxis (cleaning), fluoride, oral hygiene instruction, sealants, space maintainers)