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Preventative Dentistry

Take a proactive approach to maintaining a healthy smile.

DentaCare Associates offers several preventative dental services at our office in Plantation. You can read about some of our most common preventative services below, and be sure to make an appointment with us soon – we’ll help you keep your teeth in tiptop shape.

Checkups

We recommend dental checkups twice a year for patients with good oral health. This suggestion is in line with the American Dental Association’s recommendation. Your checkup will give us an opportunity to update your dental records and assess your oral health. Early treatment is always in your best interest.

How we can help
An adult checkup may include these services:

  • Dental X-rays
  • Digital photos
  • Tooth-by-tooth inspection
  • Head and neck exam
  • Occlusion/bite analysis
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Gum disease assessment
  • Dental cleaning
  • Treatment consultation

Children should begin attending bi-annual checkups by age 2 or 3. A child’s checkup is different from an adult’s in that we may not take X-rays or photos, and we will look for development problems. Children may not need a dental cleaning until age 3 or 4.

Dental Cleanings

Dental cleanings will reduce your potential for tooth decay and gum disease. Plus, plaque produces a foul odor, so when it’s removed, your breath should be fresher. If your gums are red, tender, swollen, or if they bleed when you brush your teeth, you may have gum disease.

How we can help: To keep teeth and gums healthy, you need a dental cleaning, or hygiene visit, every six months. At this appointment, your dental hygienist will assess your soft tissues, record the findings, and compare them with your last visit. Then the hygienist will remove plaque, tartar, and food particles from your teeth.

Gum disease is the main cause of tooth loss for adults in the US, and it has been linked to systemic conditions, such as heart disease, respiratory problems, and mental dysfunction. Eighty percent of American adults suffer from some form of this condition. If you show signs of gum disease, your hygienist will recommend a deep cleaning to remove plaque from below the gum line. Some patients benefit from special mouth rinses, antibiotic therapy, or habit changes to reduce gum disease. Regular maintenance visits are required to keep gums healthy and strong.

Mouthguards

You wear protective gear during sporting events – pads, a helmet, the proper shoes, and gloves. It only makes sense to take the same precautions for your mouth. A custom mouthguard can protect your smile (teeth, mouth and jaw) against injury. Every athlete should make a mouthguard standard gear.

How we can help: Over-the-counter athletic mouthguards, such as the boil-and-bite variety, can be effective. However, if you would like optimal protection and a comfortable, custom-fitted appliance, your dentist will be happy to fabricate one for you. A plastic mouthguard will be created based on a dental impression. It should fit snugly and comfortably for optimal results.

Sealants and Fluoride

Your dentist may recommend dental sealants and fluoride supplements during a checkup – especially for children. These preventive measures can deter tooth decay.

How we can help: A dental sealant is a clear plastic coating that is painted on back teeth. It acts as a barrier against the sugars and starches that cause tooth decay. For kids, teens and adults, sealants on hard-to-clean back teeth can greatly reduce the risk of cavities. Dental sealants wear off over time, so they may need to be replaced periodically.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that attracts other minerals to strengthen tooth enamel and deter cavity-causing bacteria. Adults and children benefit from professional fluoride rinses.

Oral Cancer

Every day people die from oral cancer.  We recommend all patients receive an annual, potentially life-saving screening exam for oral abnormalities even if no known risk factors exist.

Are you at risk?

Risk factors include but are not limited to:

  • Tobacco use
  • Chronic alcohol consumption
  • Age (40 and older)
  • Oral HPV 16/18 infection

Why should I be screened?

When oral cancer is identified in the earliest stages, the 5-year survival rate is nearly 82%.  Unfortunately, the survival rate of oral cancer has not improved greatly over the last 30 years due to late stage detection.  Early detection is the key to survival.

An annual screening exam called ViziLite TBlue, used in conjunction with a standard visual exam, helps to identify and qualify abnormalities that can lead to cancer.  Simply put, a ViziLite exam may turn your annual visit into a life-saving experience.

Things to know about your oral lesion screening…

  • The test does not diagnose cancer.  The screening looks for things that are out of the ordinary and identifies suspicious areas that warrant further observation.
  • You will experience no pain.  The test requires no poking, cutting, bleeding or probing.  The majority of the exam is a visual examination of areas your mouth that your dentist doesn’t usually see, like beneath the tongue.
  • The test takes less than 5 minutes.  The test is usually performed after your teeth cleaning without any delay or waiting.
  • Feedback is instant.  Nothing needs to be sent out to labs or analyzed after the examination.  Once your exam is complete you will either be referred to a specialist or cleared until it is time for your next exam.

How Does it Work…

The ViziLite TBlue exam is a simple, 2-minute screening that we can perform in combination with a standard visual exam.

  • First you will rinse with a solution that will help your doctor conduct the ViziLite TBlue exam.
  • Next, the doctor will examine your mouth using ViziLite.  ViziLite uses a light source that helps improve the examiner’s ability to identify abnormalities that may be missed with a standard visual exam.
  • Finally, if a suspicious lesion is detected, it will be marked with TBlue and documented for further evaluation.

Don’t be part of the statistics.  Stack your odds by having a ViziLite exam today.

DentaCare Associates wants to help you prevent problems with your teeth and maintain a healthy smile. For more information, please schedule an appointment with your dentist, and we will be in touch with you shortly.