Preventive and family dentistry are the foundational elements of our practice. The easiest way to avoid costly and painful dental procedures is to treat problems in the early stages of disease. This applies to all aspects of dentistry including gum disease, cavities, tooth wear, and tooth erosion. Initially, it begins with seeing children at an appropriate age to begin the routine of regular dental hygiene visits and exams. Into adulthood, it involves proactive treatment of problems as they begin rather than retroactive treatment of problems when they are out of control.
Prevention of Gum Disease
Routine dental cleanings are essential to removing plaque that builds up above and below the gum line. When gums are healthy they will be be strong, pink, and will NOT bleed when brushing or flossing! Unhealthy gums appear dark red, can be painful and tender, and commonly bleed when brushing or flossing.
Prevention of Cavities
Along with routine dental cleanings, a regular 6 month check-up is essential to catching cavities in their earliest stage of onset. If a cavity is identified early, it can often be treated with a small, simple filling. If a cavity is allowed to progress over months or even years, it can result in a painful tooth that could need a root canal, or may even need to be removed.
Prevention of Tooth Wear
Tooth wear is a disease that progresses very slowly over time. It can result in flat and thin looking teeth that are brittle and are consistently cracking and fracturing. If teeth are not in a correct alignment, tooth wear can occur more aggressively on select teeth that are out of alignment.
Often times, correcting the alignment of teeth will help to prevent more significant tooth wear because the forces on the teeth are better distributed when properly aligned, however, many times the damage from tooth wear is so severe that the teeth will need to be built back up with bonding, crowns, or veneers in order to give the esthetic and function characteristics that are desired.
Bruxism, or tooth grinding, can have a significant impact on how teeth wear down over time. Dr. Bousaba may recommend a nighttime bite guard to prevent tooth destruction that occurs at night.
Prevention of Tooth Erosion
Tooth erosion occurs as a result of acid in the mouth. This acid can come from acidic foods and drinks such as lemons, coffee, or soda. Acid can also come from your stomach in the form of acid reflux.
Acid results in tooth wear that presents in a cupping or crater-like appearance. It can often be repairing with dental bonding, but assessing and treating the cause is essential to prevent the erosive wear from returning.