Taking care of your mouth is important for preventing serious oral health issues, keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Preventative dentistry starts at home, brushing twice a day and flossing daily. However, care at home is not enough to protect your mouth. For optimal oral health, regular preventative dental visits at least twice a year are essential. At Nancy Shiba, DDS, we provide numerous preventative services to help you keep your mouth happy and healthy.
Cleanings and Exams
Cleanings and exams by your dentist are recommended at least twice a year (every six months). Even if you regularly brush and floss your teeth, these visits are still important. Professional cleanings allow us to scrape off plaque (a sticky film that accumulates on your teeth), tartar (hardened plaque that cannot be removed by brushing) and bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth, including the areas that you may not be able to reach. This helps to prevent buildup that can otherwise lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
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Dental exams are done during the same visit as your cleanings. During these exams, we check the condition of your teeth, looking for signs of damage and decay. We also check your gum tissue for signs of gum disease, such as redness and swelling. Exams allow us to spot issues in their earliest stages so that we can take action to prevent them from growing worse.
Dental X-rays are a critical part of your oral healthcare file. These images show your dentist the areas of your mouth that otherwise go unseen, including between your teeth and the structures hidden below your gum line (the roots of your teeth and your jawbone). X-rays help us to spot issues and allow us to take appropriate action right away.
Gum Disease Treatment
Gum disease is a progressive oral health issue that is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria, which irritate your gum tissue. Untreated, it only continues to grow worse. Your gums swell, allowing bacteria to fall below your gum line. The bacteria then begin attacking your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone, eventually leading to tooth loss. While preventative dentistry helps to prevent this issue from occurring, we can still provide treatment based on your stage of gum disease, which may include scaling and root planing, pocket reduction surgery, or gum and bone grafts.
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Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is a serious oral health issue and can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated early. In fact, it is the deadliest form of cancer. As a part of your regular dental exams, we also perform an oral cancer screening. Our dentist checks the inside of your mouth for changes in your soft tissues. If we do find any abnormalities, we investigate further, which may include a soft tissue biopsy.
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Sleep apnea is a condition in which you stop breathing while you sleep. When this happens, you wake up. This can happen anywhere from 5 to more than 30 times every single sleeping hour, which leaves you exhausted throughout the day and at risk for several health issues. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or you snore chronically, we can supply you with an oral appliance that holds your jaw in proper alignment, preventing your airway from becoming blocked while you sleep.
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Bruxism is a condition in which you grind and clench your teeth. It can lead to several issues, including uneven tooth wear, loose teeth, missing teeth, and serious jaw pain. Bruxism occurs most often at night when you have no control over it. We can provide you with a custom fit night guard, which works to absorb the impact of your jaw and protect your teeth.
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Your TMJ is the joint at which your lower jaw meets your skull. It provides for the movement of your jaw, helping you to do basic tasks such as open and close your mouth. When the joint becomes irritated and subsequently inflamed, it can lead to a significant amount of pain that affects your ability to do the most basic tasks. TMJ pain has several causes. Our dentist can diagnose the specific cause of your pain and help you to get the appropriate treatment.
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Dental Sealants and Fluoride
Dental sealants and fluoride are great ways to keep your teeth cavity-free. Dental sealants act as a shield to protect your teeth from bacteria and decay. Fluoride treatments help to restore the enamel on the surface of your teeth, allowing it to fight bacteria that cause decay.
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Preventative dentistry helps you to keep your mouth happy and healthy. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, contact Nancy Shiba, DDS today at (408) 479-6848.