Preventative Care in Waterford
Hygiene visits are designed to catch potential oral health problems before they occur, treat ongoing issues, and keep your teeth protected from the dangers of decay. If left untreated, tooth decay can wreak havoc on your oral and overall wellness. It can also lead to permanent damage to your smile, and can increase your risk for developing periodontal disease You may even need to undergo procedures such as root canals and tooth extractions.
The best way to protect your teeth from tooth decay is with routine preventive dental care. Preventive dentistry aims to provide protection against serious oral health problems. At Oakland Family Dental, we’re dedicated to prolonging the longevity and integrity of your natural smile. Consistent at-home care combined with bi-annual visits with Dr. Sheehan can keep your mouth healthy and decay-free all year long.
We Help Keep Tooth Decay at Bay
Tooth decay is damage to the integrity and structure of a tooth caused by bacteria that feed on the debris in your mouth. Your mouth has a healthy bacteria-rich microbiome that is responsible for breaking down food and delivering nutrients to your body. When an influx of sugar or leftover food sits in your mouth too long, unhealthy bacteria are free to develop, throwing things off balance in the process.
The unhealthy bacteria will start to accumulate on the surface of your teeth in the form of a sticky film called plaque. If left alone, it will harden into thick tartar (calculus) which can only be removed by professional dental tools. The bacteria in plaque and tartar can penetrate the enamel, the protective layer of your teeth. These bacteria can also eat away at your gums over time.
Hollow spaces (cavities) will start to form as the decay works its way to the inner parts of your teeth. With regular hygiene visits, we can ensure your mouth is free from plaque. For further protection against cavities for yourself or your kids, we also feature preventative resin treatment to provide an extra layer of defense against tooth decay.
Your Professional Dental Cleaning
A hygiene visit, commonly referred to as a dental checkup, includes a professional cleaning from our hygienist and a comprehensive dental checkup from Dr. Sheehan. One of our major objectives during your hygiene visit is to prevent dental infections such as tooth decay and gum disease. That way, we can help you avoid costly and time-consuming treatments in the future.
During your professional cleaning, our hygienist provides services that you can’t get at home. They have the training and advanced technology to thoroughly clean your smile so dangerous bacteria won’t have anything to consume.
The next step is to polish your teeth. In addition to making your smile look fantastic, the polish also makes it more difficult for cavity-causing bacteria to penetrate your enamel.
Your Dental Examination
As part of your hygiene visit, Dr. Sheehan will review your X-rays and inspect your smile. She’ll look for signs of potential oral health problems including tooth decay, gum disease, or impacted teeth. Some issues, such as cavities, can’t always be seen by the naked eye. It’s important to have a professional examine your mouth to ensure problems are caught before they can develop.
If Dr. Sheehan discovers anything that requires further attention, she’ll talk to you about your treatment options.
As part of your visit, we also conduct a non-invasive oral cancer screening of your mouth and throat. Dr. Sheehan will tactilely inspect the inside of your mouth, keeping an eye out for mouth sores or red or white patches. She’ll also look for any lumps or abnormalities in the tissues of your gums, mouth, and throat.
If she finds any signs of oral cancer, she’ll recommend a biopsy where we’ll take and test a small tissue sample in addition to a follow-up visit.
How To Protect Your Oral Hygiene
Keeping your smile healthy and bright is a team effort. Taking good care of your smile is essential, but it’s also important to visit Dr. Sheehan’s office in Waterford for regular hygiene visits. Together, we can give your smile the care it needs to last a lifetime.
These simple habits will help you maintain a healthy smile:
- Brush twice a day
- Floss at least once a day, preferably after meals so there is nothing left in your teeth overnight
- Rinse your teeth with an antibacterial mouthwash between meals to keep your mouth clean throughout the day
- Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of vegetables to strengthen your teeth and bolster your immune system.
- Limit your consumption of sugary foods, especially between meals.
Even with the most disciplined at-home regime, certain spots in your smile can’t be reached without professional help, which is why it’s important to visit our Waterford office for regular hygiene visits at least twice a year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Some dental issues aren’t always accompanied by pain, so it’s important to schedule routine visits. Dr. Sheehan recommends visiting at least once every six months. If you experience oral discomfort or pain, or if something doesn’t feel quite right, we highly recommend scheduling an appointment at our Waterford office as soon as possible.
Before filling your cavity, Dr. Sheehan will use a local anesthetic to ensure you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. It’s normal to feel some discomfort, but if you find the procedure painful, let Dr. Sheehan know immediately.
Not at all! Hygiene visits are non-invasive and won’t be painful. If you have more sensitive teeth, you may experience discomfort. If this is the case, please let us know so we can make sure your cleaning is as gentle and comfortable as possible.
Keep Your Smile Bright and Healthy
Your regular hygiene visits from Dr. Sheehan will leave your breath smelling fresh and your smile shining bright. You’ll also feel more confident knowing that your teeth are thoroughly clean. Give our Waterford office a call at (248) 487-8765 today to schedule your next hygiene appointment with Dr. Sheehan. We look forward to seeing you!