Preventive Dentistry – Lutz, FL
Getting Ahead of Any Dental Problems
Professional Teeth Cleanings
A professional teeth cleaning is a preventive dentistry treatment performed by a dental hygienist or dentist. During this procedure, your dental hygienist or dentist will carefully remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. This thorough cleaning may help you prevent cavities and gum disease. While regular brushing and flossing are essential for good oral health, they may not be enough on their own. Your toothbrush and floss help you remove plaque, a sticky bacterial film that accumulates on your teeth. However, any plaque that is left on the teeth will harden. This hardened plaque is called calculus or tartar.
Tartar cannot be removed at home with a toothbrush and floss. When it remains on the teeth, it may cause gum disease or tooth decay. These oral health conditions may result in tooth loss or other serious complications. Fortunately, tartar can be removed with a professional dental cleaning.
As a rule, you should see your dentist for a routine dental exam and teeth cleaning once every six months. However, your dentist may recommend a different schedule based on your oral health needs. For example, your dentist may recommend more frequent checkups and cleanings if you have poor oral health or periodontal (gum) disease.
Oral Cancer Screening
Did you know your dentist is a doctor of the head and neck…
While a variety of healthcare providers can perform oral cancer screenings, dentists commonly offer them as part of their routine exams. It is important to note, though, that oral cancer screenings don’t diagnose cancer. We use screenings to look for signs of cancer. If we find anything suspicious, we will refer you to an oncologist for further testing, diagnosis, and treatment.
Oral cancer is a common cancer of the head and neck, affecting people all around the world. Nearly 54,000 Americans receive an oral or oropharyngeal cancer diagnosis each year.
Oral cancer has a five-year survival rate of 57%. This means that just a little more than half of the people diagnosed with oral cancer are alive five years after their diagnosis. Oral cancer is not particularly difficult to diagnose. But fatality rates are high because oral cancer is too often detected late in its development. Oral cancer screenings are the best tool available for early diagnosis and treatment.
What should I expect during my oral cancer screening?
We use a combination of oral cancer screening methods, including a visual exam and palpation. We may also take photos of any abnormal areas so we can monitor them. In general, screenings take less than five minutes.
Composite resins, or tooth-colored fillings, provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small- to midsize fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from the constant stress of chewing. They can be used on either front or back teeth. They are a good choice for people who prefer that their fillings look more natural. Tooth-colored fillings are now used more often than amalgam or gold fillings, due to esthetics and more durability.
Ultimately, the best dental filling is no dental filling. Prevention is the best medicine. You can dramatically decrease your risk of cavities and other dental diseases simply by:
- brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- flossing daily
- eating a balanced diet
- visiting the dentist regularly
Are sealants recommended for adults? Yes. Any adult who wants to decrease the chances of tooth decay should consider sealants. They are a great form of preventative maintenance.
Dental sealants are thin coatings that when painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars) can prevent cavities (tooth decay) for many years. The protective shield sealants block out germs and food and can help protect your teeth from costly procedures in the future. Once applied, sealants protect against 80% of cavities for two years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years.
Sealants are a quick, easy, and painless way to prevent cavities. A tooth without a cavity is stronger and healthier than a tooth with a filling or untreated decay.
Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. In many cases, you can repair teeth that are broken or damaged by decay with a filling, crown, or other dental treatment. Sometimes, though, the damage is too severe to repair and an extraction is necessary.
Reasons tooth extraction might be necessary:
- Decay or infection has reached deep into the tooth
- Trauma or injury
- There is not enough room for all the teeth in your mouth
- Baby teeth do not fall out in time for the permanent teeth to come in
- Orthodontic treatment might require tooth extraction to create room for the teeth as they move into place
- Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are often extracted either before or after they come in
Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are a group of more than 30 conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement. “TMDs” refers to the disorders, and “TMJ” refers only to the temporomandibular joint itself. People have two TMJs; one on each side of the jaw. You can feel them by placing your fingers in front of your ears and opening your mouth. Many TMDs last only a short time and go away on their own. However, in some cases they can become chronic, or long lasting. In addition, TMDs can occur alone or at the same time as other medical conditions such as headaches, back pain, sleep problems, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Bruxism (teeth clenching/grinding)
- Dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket joint.
- Arthritis in the temporal mandibular joint.
- Acute Trauma
- Improper bite
Symptoms that may signal a TMD:
- Pain in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint (most common symptom).
- Pain that spreads to the face or neck.
- Jaw stiffness or pain
- Limited movement or locking of the jaw.
- Painful clicking, popping, or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth.
- Ringing in the ears, hearing loss, or dizziness.
- A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together.
- Tooth Pain
There is no widely accepted, standard test available to diagnose TMDs. Because the exact causes and symptoms are not clear, identifying these disorders can be difficult.
We will note your symptoms and take a detailed medical history. We will ask questions about your pain, including its location, when it occurs, what makes it better or worse, and if it stays in one area or spreads to other parts of your body. We will also ask if you have other pain conditions such as headache or back pain.
We will examine your head, neck, face, and jaw for tenderness; note any jaw clicking or popping while opening or closing; or difficulty with movement. We might also suggest imaging studies such as an x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or cone beam computed tomography (CBCT).
Treatment can range from simple, non-surgical “at home” practices and conservative treatment to injections and oral surgery.
Wisdom Tooth Removal
One of the most common dental procedures, we recommend this outpatient surgery when wisdom teeth may be causing pain, infection, or anticipated future dental issues.
Sedation Dentistry (Nitrous Oxide and Oral)
Have you ever avoided getting the dental care you need because of fear or anxiety? If yes, you are not alone. As many as 20% of all Americans have admitted to avoiding the dentist because of their fear. Because this problem is so common, dentists have developed a couple of major ways of alleviating your anxiety – sedation dentistry. At Allure Dental Boutique we provide Nitrous Oxide and Oral Sedation.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation:
Nitrous oxide is a gas made of a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen, as the name implies. We will place a mask over your nose through which you will breathe this colorless, odorless gas. Within minutes, a wave of euphoria will wash over you, suppressing your dental worries and allowing you to get the care you need. Nitrous oxide is best for patients with mild to moderate dental anxiety.
Also known as oral conscious sedation, oral sedation involves the use of a pill. You will take this pill about an hour before your appointment is set to begin. After an hour, you will feel incredibly relaxed, so much so that you may even fall asleep during your procedure! You will be conscious enough to respond to our requests, but odds are you will remember very little of the procedure itself. Oral sedation is recommended for patients with moderate to severe dental phobia.
Which One Is Right for You?
The answer depends on your level of dental anxiety and your general health. Ultimately, the best thing to do is ask us which kind of sedation is best for your unique situation. We can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the different types with you in detail at a consultation.
Talk to us today to schedule an appointment so you can get any needed dental work taken care of with no worries!
Dental emergencies are quite frightening and often painful. Prompt treatment is almost always required to alleviate pain and to ensure the teeth have the best possible chance of survival.
Sometimes, teeth become fractured by trauma, grinding, or biting on hard objects. In other cases, fillings, crowns, and other restorative devices can be damaged or fall out of the mouth completely. If there is severe pain, it is essential to contact our office immediately. The pain caused by dental emergencies almost always gets worse without treatment, and dental issues can seriously jeopardize physical health.
There are many kinds of dental emergencies. Fortunately, we offer restorative procedures to address nearly all of them. Here is how we treat some common emergencies.
- Toothache – If your tooth hurts, you may have a tooth infection or an abscess. We will provide the appropriate treatment for your condition, such as a root canal or tooth extraction. In the meantime, reduce swelling by placing a cold compress on your face over the affected area.
- Gum Pain – If you have pain or swelling in your gums, you may have advanced gum disease. We work with a periodontist, so we can get your gum pain under control with appropriate treatments. Do not use a painkiller on your gums because you could damage them.
- Broken Tooth – If you have broken your tooth, even if you are not in pain and don’t think it’s an emergency, broken teeth can fracture even more with pressure (such as eating) and possibly cost you your whole tooth in the future. We can usually fix a broken tooth with a dental crown.
- Knocked-Out Tooth – If you have knocked out your tooth, it is important that you keep your tooth if possible because we may be able to restore it, especially if you come into our office quickly. If you are able, keep the tooth in its socket (holding it by the crown, not the root) or place it in a cup of milk. Do not scrub it because you might destroy the tissue. If it is dirty, just quickly rinse it in warm water.
No matter what form your dental pain takes, do not delay! For dental emergencies contact us right away at 813.751.3044.
Gum Disease Treatment
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a serious infection caused by harmful bacteria in the plaque that forms on teeth. In the United States, approximately 50% of adults have some form of gum disease involving bone loss, while 38% of adults have a moderate-to-severe level of gum disease.
When gum disease occurs, supporting tissue and bone around the teeth are destroyed, forming “pockets” around the teeth. This can result in tooth loss if left untreated. It may also lead to acute infections and tooth decay.
Gum disease is normally a “silent” disease, not causing pain. Warning signs of gum disease include:
- persistent red gingiva
- swollen gums
- tenderness of the gum
- drainage (pus) between teeth and gums
- persistent bad breath
- receding gums
- development of spaces between the teeth
- changes in the way teeth fit together when biting
- loose or moving teeth
Many scientific studies have found that gum disease may also affect overall health due to passing of harmful bacteria and bacterial toxins into the bloodstream. Research indicates that gum disease may increase the risk for heart attack and stroke. For individuals with diabetes, gum disease may have a negative effect on glycemic control (control of blood sugar). For pregnant people, gum disease may increase the likelihood of premature delivery and low birth weight. It is important to take action quickly to protect your gums, teeth, and health.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is the thorough cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque, calculus (tartar) and bacteria. It also involves the smoothing of root surfaces to prevent recurring build up and allow for reattachment of the gingiva (gum tissues). Scaling and root planing is performed under local anesthesia (numbing) using ultrasonic and hand-scaling instruments. Antibiotics (locally applied or oral medication) are also used in certain situations to assist in the healing process.
While there have been significant advancements in periodontal therapy, there is no cure for gum disease. Even after successful, corrective therapy and surgical intervention, your gum disease can recur. For the majority of patients with periodontal disease (~90%), regular periodontal maintenance cleanings have proven to be effective in preventing recurrence of gum disease.