Preventative Dental Services
Preventative dental services include not only routine oral exams, x-rays, and cleanings, but also fluoride treatments, sealants, nightguards, and custom sports guards. At Distinctive Dentistry in Clackamas, we offer all of these services to identify and stop early dental issues before they start.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps prevent cavities in children and adults. It makes the outer surface of your teeth (enamel) more resistant to the acid attacks that cause tooth decay.
You can use fluoride systematically or topically to benefit your teeth. If you drink fluoridated water or any other fluoridated beverage, you’re getting a systematic benefit since the fluoride is being ingested. The fluoride in the liquids you drink will strengthen your tooth enamel and make it stronger, thereby making it more resistant to cavities.
Using fluoride topically means applying it to the surface of your teeth, as when brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste or using any other kind of fluoride dental product that is applied to the surface of the teeth.
At Distinctive Dentistry in Clackamas, Dr. Noelle or her hygienist can give you a topical fluoride treatment that will help rebuild weakened enamel and fight tooth decay. While Dr. Noelle highly recommends fluoride treatments, they are always optional and voluntary at her practice.
According to Mouth Healthy brought to you by the American Dental Association (ADA), sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of tooth decay by 80 percent in molars. In October 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on the importance of sealants for school-aged children stating that “school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”
Sealants are another preventive measure to fight cavities, especially for the molars where leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria hide in the rough, uneven parts of the tooth. More specifically, sealants are a thin plastic film that Dr. Noelle can paint on the chewing surfaces of your teeth to protect them from cavities.
Check out the application process, as explained in this video from the ADA.
Sealants usually take 15 to 20 minutes to apply, depending on how many teeth you want to protect. After sealants have been applied, they keep those bits of food out and stop bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth. As long as sealants last, you have a protective barrier that cannot be penetrated to start cavities. Sealants last several years before they wear off, and they are recommended for both children and adults. Of course, the earlier you get them (as soon as your first molars appear around age 6), the better.
If your teeth, jaw, or facial muscles are in pain, it might be because you’re grinding or clenching your teeth at night. Studies have shown that people who grind and clench their teeth can have up to 80 times the normal tooth wear per day than those who don’t suffer from this habit.
If you have this problem, Dr. Noelle can prescribe custom-made nightguards for you. Nightguards are clear, thin devices you wear over your upper or lower teeth while sleeping. Nightguards help alleviate any pain you may have from clenching your teeth at night and protect your teeth from further wear.
Custom Sports Guards
More than 5 million teeth get knocked out each year in sports. Custom sports guards are protective gear that protects the teeth and jaw from impact and injury during sports activities. These devices fit in the mouth and cover the upper teeth. Custom sports guards are recommended for contact sports (e.g., football and boxing) and non-contact sports (e.g., gymnastics and skating).
Custom sports guards protect your tongue, lips, and cheek lining and significantly lessen the risk of broken teeth and mouth injuries. The ADA estimates that over 200,000 mouth injuries are prevented every year because of sports guards. If you wear your sports guard correctly, you can decrease your risk of injury by 99 percent.
Lots of sporting good stores offer sports guards, but these versions aren’t as effective as the ones Dr. Noelle can custom-make for you. Store-bought mouthguards can’t be altered; plus, you have to clench your teeth so they’ll work the right way. Dr. Noelle can customize sports guards using an exact duplicate of your mouth so they fit comfortably, stay in place, and shield your teeth from harm while playing sports.