Preventative Dental Care
As your premiere dentist in uptown OKC, our staff at Shepherd Mall Family Dentistry strives to ensure every patient enjoys a lifetime of quality oral health. While it’s easy to think of your oral health as only pertaining to your teeth and gums, recent research has found surprising links between an individual’s oral health and his or her overall health. Studies have found that individuals who suffer from gum disease have a significantly higher risk of developing a range of chronic illnesses that include heart disease, diabetes, dementia, depression, stroke and oral cancer. While researchers continue to explore what links poor oral health to these serious illnesses, it’s clear that protecting your oral health needs to become a top priority.
Enjoying a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums requires practicing quality daily oral hygiene, which includes:
- Brushing at least twice a day. Brushing at least twice a day is recommended by the American Dental Association. While brushing after every meal would be ideal, brushing for at least two minutes in the morning and again before bed will help remove harmful bacteria and lingering food particles that cause tooth decay.
- Floss daily. To many within the oral health community, flossing plays a more important role in protecting the health of your teeth and gums than brushing. That’s because flossing removes bacteria and food particles from between teeth and below the gum line, areas of the mouth your toothbrush cannot easily reach. Even if you don’t enjoy flossing or don’t think you have the time, flossing before brushing your teeth at night or after meals will make a huge difference to your long-term oral health.
- Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash. Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash after brushing helps to eliminate oral bacteria from the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth easily missed when brushing. While not as important as brushing and flossing, rinsing with mouthwash will more thoroughly clean your teeth while also providing fresher, better-smelling breath.
While practicing these daily oral hygiene habits will help to dramatically improve your oral and overall health, enjoying outstanding oral health requires scheduling regular checkups and cleanings with our OKC dentists at Shepherd Mall Family Dentistry.
Dental Exams & Digital X-Rays
Receiving regular dental exams and cleanings ranks as a vital part of maintaining and improving your oral health. Regular dental exams allow our OKC dentists to monitor your oral health and spot any signs of decay or disease early on while still easily treatable. Early detection provides our dentists with the opportunity to treat these types of oral health conditions more effectively, so any damage to your oral health can be repaired and future problems prevented.
Our dentists typically recommend that patients visit our office every six months. However, patients that suffer from certain types of oral health conditions such as dry mouth, gum disease or severe tooth decay may require more frequent exams. Patients suffering from an existing medical condition such as heart disease or diabetes may also need to receive more regular cleanings and exams.
The grooves in our teeth make an excellent place for food and bacteria to hide. These areas of the mouth can also be difficult to adequately clean, especially for younger patients who don’t possess the manual dexterity or focus necessary to properly brush. To prevent decay in at-risk areas like the back molars our dentists can apply tooth sealants to effectively “seal” the deep grooves and protect tooth enamel from plaque.
This simple and discomfort-free procedure can be completed in just one visit. By applying a simple tooth-colored acrylic coating directly to the surfaces of the at-risk teeth, younger patients can have their risk of tooth decay dramatically reduced. Tooth sealants are safe and require only a few minutes for application. Sealants are also incredibly durable and can least several years before a reapplication is needed.
Gum Disease Treatment
When plaque builds up on the surface of your teeth, it begins to form a yellowish film that develops along your gum line called tartar that causes tooth decay when left untreated. Over time, tartar causes inflammation and the development of periodontal disease, which can destroy gum tissue and jaw bone that supports your natural teeth.
Bacteria found in plaque irritate your gums, which may cause them to become swollen, red, and irritate easily. Prolonged irritation causes the gums to separate from the teeth, leading to the formation of pockets (also known as “spaces”). As periodontal disease progresses, gum tissue and the bone that holds teeth in place deteriorates, which leads to tooth loss if left untreated.
Periodontal disease is best prevented by thorough daily brushing and flossing of your teeth, along with regular routine visits to see one of our hygienists at Shephard Mall Family Dentistry.