Maintaining a Healthy Smile in Lancaster
We recommend a checkup every six months so we can identify and prevent a variety of oral health problems. We perform a careful visual exam of your mouth. We check for decay on the biting surfaces of teeth, signs of wear, cracks or other problems with fillings and crowns, as well as abnormal loss of tooth structure.
In addition, we check the color and contours of your gums. Red, swollen gums are often a sign of gingivitis or periodontal disease. We also diagnose any sores or lesions on the soft tissues of your mouth, screening them for signs of oral cancer.
We take X-rays to see decay between and inside the teeth and tartar on the teeth and tooth roots. X-rays also show us signs of periodontal disease, such as the loss of bone around the teeth. X-rays reveal cysts, abscesses and other problems.
We examine your jaw joint to help diagnose problems with your bite or TMJ. Sometimes checkups include additional treatments based on your individual needs. We review your homecare routine and give you advice on a good diet for maintaining good oral health and a beautiful smile. Regular checkups are important because neglecting dental conditions can lead to much more serious problems:
- infected teeth
- tooth loss and shifting teeth
- receding gums
- loss of bone in the jaw
- painful jaw joints
With regular exams, we can detect problems early and help you maintain your oral and overall health.
Cavities are hollow areas in teeth caused by decay. If they are deep enough, they can cause tooth pain or other problems. Decay happens when plaque and sugars from food combine to make acid that eats away the tooth. The best ways to prevent this are by brushing twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups.
Plaque, a sticky film of food and bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth, is the main culprit when it comes to tooth decay. Bacteria that naturally exist in plaque break down the starches and sugars in the food you eat. A chemical reaction occurs and produces an acid. Like all acids, the acid produced in your mouth is corrosive, which means that it dissolves other materials. Your teeth are the victims of this corrosive action. The acid dissolves their protective outer enamel layer, eventually creating holes in your teeth known as cavities.
To repair a cavity, we usually remove the decayed portion of the tooth and replace it with a filling, provided the damage is not extensive and there is still plenty of healthy tooth structure remaining. If the decay penetrates the enamel and dentin and gets into the pulp chamber, it’s likely that we’ll need to perform root canal treatment. That’s why regular checkups and professional cleanings are so important. They allow us to restore your tooth while the cavity is still small and confined to the outer enamel layer. However, preventing decay in the first place is the preferred solution. We’ll be happy to show you how to keep your teeth free of plaque and decay.
Tooth-colored fillings, also known as sealants, are special materials used to cover cavities. These fillings were traditionally metal-based and quite noticeable. Now they are made with materials like porcelain so they are far less noticeable and act more like natural teeth without feeling uncomfortable.
A sealant is a clear or white coating that we place on the biting surfaces of back teeth to help prevent tooth decay. Back teeth have deep grooves and pits that are very difficult to keep clean. Plaque, which is a sticky, colorless film of food and bacteria, collects in these grooves. Since plaque is nearly invisible, we may stain the tooth with a harmless red dye that reveals the plaque.
Bacteria cause acid. Without a protective sealant, this acid attacks the outer enamel layer that protects your teeth and causes it to break down. Then you get a cavity.
Some types of sealants harden on their own, while others harden when exposed to a special light. A sealant is an effective shield that can defend your back teeth against cavities and help preserve your oral health.
Protect your smile at Les Kurian Family Dentistry. Call 661-948-2828 or use our convenient Request an Appointment form.