Preventive dental services include dental care that helps maintain good oral health and prevent disease.

Routine X-rays

A routine dental X-ray is an internal image of your teeth and jaws. Dentists use these images to examine structures that they cannot see from the outside, including your jaw, nerves, sinuses, and the roots of your teeth in order to detect early signs of tooth decay, observe overall oral health, and monitor jaw and tooth formation in adolescents. This practice also allows dentists to discover problems like bone loss from periodontal disease, signs of issues with the roots of the teeth, and even changes caused by disease of the body.


When hygienists clean your teeth that means they will remove the stains, plaque, and tartar from the exposed portions of your teeth. This is usually done once every three to six months. A cleaning will help eliminate inflammation of your gums and treat gingivitis.

How often do I need to have my teeth cleaned?

Different people need cleanings at different intervals. Most people need to have their teeth cleaned twice a year. Some people show greater signs of inflammation and should have their teeth cleaned more frequently. Also, people with greater risk for decay and gum disease should have more frequent cleanings. These include people with braces, dry mouth, and people who have difficulty cleaning their mouth.

Oral Exams

Also known as a dental checkup, an oral exam is the process used by dentists to carefully review your oral health, both current and past. Oral exams involve a review of the entire mouth, including jaw, teeth, and gums. Most children and adults should have a dental exam every six months.

Scaling & Root Planning

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and tissue that support your teeth. It is the major cause of adult tooth loss, affecting three out of four people at some point in their life. Periodontal diseases include gingivitis and periodontitis.

The initial treatment of periodontal disease is to remove bacteria and debris (scaling) from the gum pockets around the teeth. The roots of the teeth are smoothed to remove infected root tissue and inhibit future attachment of bacteria. This procedure is usually done over two visits typically no more than 2 weeks apart, and uses a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable during the procedure.

How is periodontal disease diagnosed?

Periodontal disease is diagnosed by the presence of gum pockets 5mm deep or more, bleeding on probing, mobility of teeth, bone loss, and recession of your gums.

Can you cure periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is similar to diabetes in that it cannot be cured, but it can be managed. You can slow the progression by brushing, flossing, and having professional dental care regularly.

Gum Disease

Gum disease or periodontal disease, a chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding tissue. It is the major cause of about 70 percent of adult tooth loss. It affects three out of four persons at some point in their life.

What causes gum disease?

Bacterial plaque – a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on the teeth is recognized as the primary cause of gum disease. Specific periodontal diseases may be associated with certain bacterial types. If plaque isn’t removed each day by brushing and flossing, it hardens into a rough, porous substance called calculus (also known as tartar).Toxins (poisons) produced and released by bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. These toxins cause the breakdown of the fibers that hold the gums tightly to the teeth, creating periodontal pockets which fill with even more toxins and bacteria. As the disease progresses, pockets extend deeper and the bacteria moves down until the bone that holds the tooth in place is destroyed. The tooth eventually will fall out or require extraction.

Are there other factors?

Yes. Genetics is also a factor, as are lifestyle choices. A diet low in nutrients can diminish the body’s ability to fight infection. Smokers and spit tobacco users have more irritation to gum tissues than non-tobacco users, while stress can also affect the ability to ward off disease. Diseases that interfere with the body’s immune system, such as leukemia and AIDS, may worsen the condition of the gums. In patients with uncontrolled diabetes, where the body is more prone to infection, gum disease is more severe or difficult to control.

What are the warning signs of gum disease?

Signs include red, swollen or tender gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, gums that pull away from teeth, loose or separating teeth, pus between the gum and tooth, persistent bad breath, change in the way teeth fit together when the patient bites, and a change in the fit of partial dentures. While patients are advised to check for the warning signs, there may not be any discomfort until the disease has spread to a point where the tooth is unsalvageable. That is why patients are advised to get frequent dental exams.

How do you prevent gum disease?

Removing plaque through daily brushing, flossing and professional cleaning is the best way to minimize your risk. We can design a personalized program of home oral care to meet your needs.

What is the role of the general dentist?

We detect gum disease and treat it in the early stages. If we believe that the gum disease requires treatment by a specialist, you will be referred to a periodontist. The dentist and periodontist will work together to formulate a treatment plan for the patient

What does periodontal treatment involve?

In the early stages, most treatment involves quadrant scaling- removing plaque and calculus around the tooth and smoothing the root surfaces. Antibiotics or antimicrobials may be used to supplement the effects of quadrant scaling. In most cases of early gum disease, called gingivitis, quadrant scaling and proper daily cleaning achieve a satisfactory result. More advanced cases may require surgical treatment, which involves removing the hardened plaque build-up and recontouring the damaged bone. The procedure is also designed to smooth root surfaces and reposition the gum tissue so it will be easier to keep clean.

Localized Antibiotic

A localized antibiotic can be used in some cases of periodontal disease. The antibiotic, a tetracycline, is a powder mixed with a binder. The powder is placed into an infected gum pocket, and the binder holds it in place for about ten days. The antibiotic slowly releases into the area, inhibiting the growth of bacteria, and reducing inflammation.

When is a localized antibiotic used?

A localized antibiotic is placed into gum pockets to treat periodontal disease. Disease is characterized by bleeding upon probing and a pocket depth of 5mm or greater. Prior to placement, the gum pockets must have been carefully cleaned of debris. The antibiotic is placed into the cleaned pocket, and the area is evaluated at the next health maintenance appointment.

What results can be expected from a localized antibiotic placement?

Typically, the signs of disease will improve. Bleeding usually decreases and the pocket depth decreases. Results vary by person.

Periodontal Splinting

Periodontal disease may cause teeth to become mobile. As a way of stabilizing the teeth, the teeth may be attached to one another with a splint. This is often done with composite resin and a nylon mesh.

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