Preventive Dentistry in Albuquerque
As a general rule of thumb, it is easier to prevent than to treat! One our goals when we examine you is to anticipate future problems and recommend a preventive strategy. This is why we recommend routine exams, x-rays, cleanings and fluoride treatment based on our individualized assessment of you. A simple recommendation or a small treatment now can prevent larger, more invasive and costlier treatments down the road. This is why we complete a thorough exam, review your medical history and evaluate your head and neck for pathology such as cancer, or muscular or joint conditions.
When we evaluate you, we aren’t just looking for cavities; we are looking for patterns or clues that may indicate future problems. We start with an extraoral exam to evaluate your head and neck, then we do our intraoral exam – cancer screening, and checking for gum disease, cavities, cracks, infection, mobility, alignment of teeth, and more. As we evaluate you, we are forming a comprehensive picture of how your mouth functions and this helps us to better recommend preventive or interceptive treatments, with more accurate discussions of the benefits and risks of each option.
Having your teeth cleaned regularly by a professional is extremely important, even if you are doing a great job at home. Deposits on the teeth can calcify below the gumline where you cannot see or reach them. Gum disease almost always gives us early clues, and these are evaluated and measured at your cleaning appointments. And we evaluate each patient individually to determine how often you should get your teeth cleaned. A six-month recall is not appropriate for every patient. Depending on your medical history, your risk of getting gum disease or cavities, and your current periodontal (gum/bone) health, we may recommend that you come in for cleanings every 3 or 4 months.
Just like a crack in the sidewalk that can leave a deep crevice where dirt collects, having deep pits or grooves in our teeth can be hard to clean and can lead to future cavities. Sealants are a way to ‘seal’ those deep areas giving the tooth a shallower, easier to clean surface that will help you prevent decay. It’s one of our many preventive options that might be appropriate for you.
X-rays provide a way for us to evaluate the teeth by showing areas that cannot be seen using the eyes alone. They are a source of radiation, so each patient is evaluated individually to determine when taking x-rays is needed. We also use digital technology at our office which emits a significantly lower dose of radiation than traditional x-rays, and our patients are provided with a lead apron.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has benefits for teeth. When a tooth loses minerals – one of the earliest steps in developing a cavity – the process can be reversed in part by fluoride uptake. Our doctors take note of areas of these ‘early cavities’ at your evaluations and may recommend a fluoride treatment to you. These fluoride treatments give the teeth fluoride to restore lost minerals, which helps prevent cavities, and also to reverse the decay process.
Athletic Mouth Guard
If you play sports or are involved in activities where injuries can happen, you probably take steps to prevent injury. But have you thought about your teeth, the injuries they can sustain and how to prevent it? By wearing a mouth guard, you are helping to protect your teeth from the force of trauma to the face – another preventive measure that can spare you from further treatment down the road.