Simple, consistent steps can help prevent dental disease. When we eat, bacteria forms and produces acids that weaken our teeth. Plaque forms that eventually turns to tartar, leading to periodontal disease. Your Tigard dentist at Tigard Family Dental provides education about daily habits to help you avoid dental disease and keep your smile healthy and strong, as well as establish a baseline for treating any potential problems that may arise through the years.
Initial Oral Examination
At your first appointment, the dentists in Tigard will perform a comprehensive dental exam that includes a visual examination, charting of your teeth, periodontal probing, and diagnosis and treatment recommendations to fit your personal needs. In addition, the doctors will order and examine x-rays of your mouth. These digital images will help the staff at Tigard Family Dental establish a record of your dental health, as well as identify potential problem areas not visible during a visual examination of your teeth. The digital x-rays include a panoramic view and bitewing x-rays that allow the doctors to evaluate and diagnose your unique dental requirements.
Dental Hygiene Consultation
Good dental health needs to take place at home as well as at Tigard Family Dental. Our staff will guide you through each step regarding how to best take care of your teeth and gums based on your individual needs. Basic tips will include how to effectively and efficiently brush and floss your teeth using complimentary supplies sent home with you after your appointment.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Regular dental cleanings are the best investment in your smile. At your initial appointment and regular check-ups every six months, a trusted dental hygienist will gently and thoroughly clean your teeth as well as teach you how to keep your smile healthy. Cleanings help prevent cavities, tooth decay, gum disease and other conditions. A regular cleaning includes the removal of plaque, calculus, and stains from teeth using both ultrasonic and hand instruments. A fluoride treatment will also be applied to maintain the benefits of each dental cleaning. Our exceptional care, knowledgeable staff and pleasant, comfortable surroundings are a few reasons why patients love us. Your dental cleaning appointment will typically include:
- Removal of Plaque – When you eat, naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth produce acids that form plaque. This filmy substance coats the surfaces of your teeth, eventually dissolving the outer layer called enamel. Regular cleanings at home and at the dentist can keep plaque from permanently damaging your teeth.
- Tartar Removal – Also known as calculus, tartar is hardened plaque that is firmly attached to the tooth. This substance is above and below the gum line, and can only be removed during a trip to the dentist.
- Teeth Polishing – While a dental cleaning removes plaque and tartar from your teeth, polishing makes the surfaces of your teeth smooth. This technique removes the stains from substances like coffee, tea and wine that build up over time.
Dental Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making your teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque, bacteria, and sugars in the mouth. Fluoride will help re-mineralize teeth that have been affected by decay, helping to prevent cavities from forming.
Many of the cavities that occur during childhood start in the deep, tiny grooves of teeth, especially molars. A tooth sealant - also known as a dental sealant - is a plastic resin placed in the grooves of the chewing surfaces of teeth that are difficult to clean. Plaque is formed by naturally occurring bacteria in our mouths. This sticky, yellowish substance clings to the surfaces of our teeth and eventually results in tooth decay. Brushing and flossing regularly helps rid teeth of plaque. However, plaque that remains in between teeth or among grooves on the top surfaces of your teeth can be difficult to impossible to eliminate when brushing or flossing. This tooth sealant made of plastic resin creates a smooth surface that settles in between and along the grooves of teeth. This prevents plaque from settling into those crevices, making it much easier to clean away plaque and bacteria. With sealants, tooth brushing and flossing become more effective against tooth decay. Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventative measure during the formative years, when tooth decay is most prevalent, but may be applied to adult teeth as well depending on each person’s level of need.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is directly related to stress and can cause a variety of dental problems. If you grind your teeth, you may have experienced symptoms like earaches, neck aches, headaches, sensitive teeth, or jaw soreness. If you find yourself grinding your teeth, it's important to be aware of it and do what you can to stop. Continued teeth grinding can lead to broken, chipped or cracked teeth. People grind their teeth most commonly at night, but it can also happen during the day. Teeth grinding is an unconscious habit, but there are many ways to correct or even prevent this condition. If you become aware that you're grinding your teeth, your Tigard, OR dentists at Tigard Family Dental can help you find out if there's another medical condition that may be contributing to this habit. He can also check that any dental work you have isn’t contributing to the problem. If you find that you need a mouth guard, be aware that the process of finding the right one for you is largely trial and error. Begin with the most common and inexpensive mouth guard, like the ones used by athletes. If that doesn’t work, there are dental guards that you can buy over-the-counter in drug stores. Finally, if these don’t work, check with the doctors at Tigard Family Dental about a professionally-made night guard that will work for you.