At Altamesa Dental, our goal is always to help patients keep their smiles whole and healthy for life, and one way we achieve this goal is to prevent major oral health issues by scheduling preventive dentistry exams every six months. During these dental checkups, our hygienists remove plaque and tartar buildup, and the dentist carefully examines patients’ smiles screening for signs of common oral health issues. Before you leave, we’ll create an ongoing dental care plan to help you keep your smile healthy.
Flossing & Brushing
The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth daily with an interdental cleaner (like floss). Cleaning between your teeth may help prevent cavities and gum disease. Cleaning between your teeth helps remove a sticky film called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that feed on leftover food or sugar in your mouth. When that happens, it releases an acid that can eat away at the outer shell of your teeth and cause cavities.
Plaque that is not removed by brushing and cleaning between your teeth can eventually harden into a rough substance called tartar (or calculus). Tartar collects along your gum line and can lead to gum disease. Once tartar forms, only your dentist can remove it. Although some have questioned the benefits of cleaning between your teeth, using an interdental cleaner (like floss) is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also said flossing is "an important oral hygiene practice" in an August 2016 statement.
Professional fluoride treatments generally take just a few minutes. The fluoride may be in the form of a solution, gel, foam or varnish. Typically, it is applied with a cotton swab or brush, or it is used as a rinse or placed in a tray that is held in the mouth for several minutes. After the treatment, you may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride and help repair microscopic carious areas. Depending on your oral health status, fluoride treatments may be recommended every three, six, or 12 months.
Your dentist also may recommend additional preventive measures if you are at moderate or high risk of developing caries. These measures may include over-the-counter or prescription therapeutic products such as fluoride mouth rinses, gels, or antibacterial mouth rinses. Look for products with the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. Products displaying the ADA Seal have been examined carefully by the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs and have met its criteria for safety and effectiveness.