Efficient Preventive Dentistry in Salt Lake City, UT

Smiles offers preventive dentistry treatment and education that are designed to prevent oral health issues.

Maintaining Regular Dental Cleanings and Exams

Scheduling and maintaining regular dental cleanings and exams every six months is the easiest form of preventative care for you and your family. Some patients may require more frequent visits, depending on the individual care needed for each patient.

During a routine cleaning, our hygienist removes the build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth and around your gum line. Not removing plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth can lead to periodontal disease and can potentially lead to more oral health concerns.

How to Properly Brush Your Teeth and Floss

Proper dental hygiene is extremely important for preventing oral health problems. Here are some tips for proper brushing directly from the American Dental Association.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth
  • Make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste

The proper brushing technique is to:

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums
  • Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes
  • Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth
  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes

The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist every six months to ensure your teeth stay healthy and your smile stays beautiful. Recent studies are showing more and more the correlations between a healthy mouth and better overall health in individuals. The health of your teeth and mouth is vital to the well-being of your entire body. While routine brushing and flossing at home is necessary to keep your smile looking great, visiting your dentist for a comprehensive exam and cleaning is essential.

Prevent the Problem Before It Starts

Did you know that by routinely seeing your dentist for exams and cleanings, you can:

  • Prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath
  • Save money by avoiding costly and extensive dental procedures
  • Keep your teeth white by reducing staining from food and drinks
  • Shorten the time spent in your dentist’s office

Dental Exam

At Smiles, you’ll receive a comprehensive dental exam by the dentist at your initial dental visit. During regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:

  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays: Imaging of the bone and hard tissue in the mouth is essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Gum disease evaluation: Evaluation of the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of inflammation and periodontal disease.
  • Oral cancer screening: Check the soft tissue of the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Check for tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
  • Check on existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc. for decay, cracks, or fractures.

Professional Dental Cleanings

Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:

  • Measurements of gum tissue: The dental hygienist will then perform a periodontal exam to make sure your gums adhere tightly to your teeth, and no periodontal disease or bone loss may be occurring.
  • Calculus (tartar) removal: Calculus is hardened plaque that is mineralized and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Plaque removal: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins that inflame the gums and the start of periodontal disease.
  • Teeth polishing: Removes surface stains and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and cleaning.
  • Fluoride Varnish: a highly concentrated form of fluoride is applied to the tooth’s surface. Fluoride is a mineral that can strengthen tooth enamel or outer surface of the tooth. This varnish can help prevent tooth decay, slow it down, or stop it from getting worse.

Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for an exam and cleaning, and maintain a happy and healthy smile.

A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.

Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits.

Reasons for Dental Sealants:

  • Children and teenagers – As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16.
  • Adults – Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions.
  • Baby teeth – Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and child is cavity prone.

What Do Dental Sealants Involve?

Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or dental hygienist and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.

The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light.

Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.

Questions About Sealants

Do you have questions about dental sealants, or think they may be right for you or your child? Call Smiles today in Holladay, UT for an appointment.

Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.

Fluoride Works in Two Ways

  • Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dentists and dental hygienists generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.
  • Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years. It is very important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.

Who Needs Fluoride Treatment?

The short answer is, we all do. Patients may require regular fluoride treatments include anyone who:

  • tends to eat a lot of snacks and sugary foods
  • has a lot of pits or grooves in their teeth where bacteria can easily get in
  • has braces
  • has had a lot of dental work
  • has dry mouth caused by medications or by some other health condition
  • has gum disease or recessed gums

Using toothpastes and mouthwash with fluoride is great, but the amounts are so low that it is not enough to get the full preventative effects. At our Holladay dental office, we can offer fluoride treatment in stronger amounts that works to harden your enamel and protect your teeth from everyday bacteria that results in dental decay.

Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:

  • Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth
  • Exposed and sensitive root surfaces
  • Fair to poor oral hygiene habits
  • Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake
  • Inadequate exposure to fluorides
  • Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications
  • Recent history of dental decay

Fluoride Alone will not Prevent Tooth Decay

It is important to employ healthy oral hygiene habits such as brushing at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.