Advanced preventative dentistry procedures can save more than just your oral health. At North Kansas City Dental, our Doctors provide advanced preventative techniques that can protect you and your loved ones from tooth loss, tooth pain and sensitivity, halitosis (bad breath), collapsed jawbones, and overall reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.
Our top-notch preventative measures ward off the buildup of dangerous bacteria. When you combine consistent at-home dental practices with the care and advice from our professionals at North Kansas City Dental, you'll maintain a beautiful smile for life.
Comprehensive Digital General Dentistry Exams & Cleanings
The best thing you could do to ensure you're keeping your oral health healthy is to keep us involved! Make sure you're attending your preventative appointment at least every six months so our professionals can give you a thorough, digital examination. We'll help you stay cavity and gum-disease free.
Early treatment will reduce your potential for serious health problems down the road. Even if you're the best at keeping up your oral health at home, you should still come in periodically, because we're trained to address problems before you can.
Below, we have examples of some of the most common treatment options we offer for preventative care at North Kansas City Dental.
Once you've been diagnosed with a cavity, depending on the severity of the case, you're more than likely going to need a filling. The process of getting a white filling involves removing all the decay from the inside of the tooth, cleaning the areas surrounding the tooth, and applying multiple layers of tooth-colored composite material. There are many advantages to getting a tooth-colored filling rather than silver (amalgams) or cast-gold fillings. In addition to being more aesthetic looking, composite fillings are actually chemically bonded to the tooth, making it much more durable by providing further support to the tooth.
At some point, there is also a possibility that you'll need an indirect filling. These are considered when not enough of the tooth structure remains to support a filling, but the tooth isn't severely damaged enough to have a crown.
There are two types of indirect fillings - Inlays and onlays.
Inlays are very similar to fillings, but the entirety of the work lies within the cusps on the chewing surface of the tooth. Onlays, however, are a bit more extensive. They cover one or more cusp and are often referred to as partial crowns.
The use of any type of filling all depend on how much sound tooth structure remains and of course, if you have certain cosmetic concerns.
To maintain your fillings, you should practice good oral hygiene habits at home by brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, using toothpaste containing fluoride, and regularly visit your Dentists and dental hygienists.
Halitosis (Bad Breath) Treatment
Halitosis (bad breath) is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth. More often than not, this occurs because brushing and/or flossing is not done properly and food particles are being left behind and in-between teeth. The sulfur compounds released by these bacteria is what causes the breathe to smell.
There is no "cure" for halitosis, just like there is no "cure" for body odor. However, it can easily be maintained when good hygiene practices are in place.
If you find yourself chronically fighting bad breathe, here are a few tips:
1.) Brush your teeth and floss after you eat. Keep a toothbrush at work to use after eating. Brush using a fluoride-containing toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after meals. Toothpaste with antibacterial properties has been shown to reduce bad breath odors.
2.) Floss at least twice daily. When preformed properly, flossing will aid in keeping food particles and plaque from hanging out in-between and around teeth.
3.) Brush your tongue. Your tongue harbors bacteria, so carefully brushing it may reduce odors. People who have a coated tongue from a significant overgrowth of bacteria (from smoking or dry mouth, for example) may benefit from using a tongue scraper. Or use a toothbrush that has a built-in tongue cleaner.
4.) Keep oral appliances, aligners, dentures, etc. clean. Our dentists can recommend specific cleaning products for your oral appliances, dentures, partials, etc. but it is always a good idea to clean them before and after they're in your mouth, or if specifically recommended by your doctor.
5.) Adjust your diet. Avoid tobacco, coffee, sugary drinks and alcohol. All of these tend to lead to drying of the mouth and causing the breathe to smell. If you suffer from dry mouth, consult with your dentist during your next visit and they can offer substances that can aid this issue. Be sure to also stay away from foods with excessive garlic and onion flavors, which are known to cause smelly breathe to linger.
6.) Get a new tooth brush regularly. You should aim to splurge for a new toothbrush around every three to four months, or when the toothbrush becomes frayed. Look for a toothbrush with soft bristles - it's a bonus if it has a tongue scraper/brush!
As frustrating and embarrassing as halitosis can be, no need to fret any longer. Regular visits and check-ups with your dental hygienist and/or dentist can keep bad breathe at bay.
Even if you brush and floss your teeth faithfully, it is important that you have your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis. (Of course, if you aren't quite so meticulous about your oral hygiene, it's even more important!) After a thorough cleaning, your teeth will feel smooth and squeaky-clean, and they will probably look a lot brighter too. But professional teeth cleanings aren't done for looks alone.
Why do your teeth need this kind of attention? Essentially, it's because over time they tend to build up a layer of plaque (a sticky, bacteria-rich film) and hard deposits (called tartar, or calculus) that are very difficult to remove without special tools. When these deposits are allowed to remain on the tooth surfaces or below the gum line, they provide ideal conditions for bacteria to grow and multiply. The acids produced by some bacteria cause tooth decay and gum disease; if left uncontrolled, this can lead to inflammation and infection of the gums, and possibly influence systemic (whole body) diseases.
Dentists have a special term for preventive procedures like tooth cleaning: prophylaxis, from the Greek word meaning to protect or guard against. In this case, the focus is on preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Performed in conjunction with a routine dental examination, a professional cleaning can go a long way toward controlling these two common maladies. While your teeth are being cleaned, it's also a good opportunity to take a close look at your oral health in general and check for a few specific problems.
The Professional Cleaning Procedure
Teeth cleaning is often performed by a dental hygienist — a highly trained technician who uses a special set of tools designed just for this purpose. Because everyone's teeth are a little different, your cleaning will be tailored to your particular needs. However, many cleanings follow a similar pattern.
First, the dental hygienist will do an oral examination to evaluate the health of your oral tissues. Then the cleaning will take place using either an ultrasonic scaler or metal instruments referred to as curettes to remove the plaque and calculus from the tooth surfaces. The ultrasonic scaler is a hand-held tool with a tiny tip that vibrates at a very high frequency. Hardened deposits are broken up by the rapid movement of the tip, which does not damage the tooth. A constant stream of liquid (called lavage) serves to cool the tip and aid in plaque removal; at the same time, it also washes away the debris.
Some hygienists prefer curettes, which are hand-held instruments that are curved and tapered to fit around and in between the teeth. If your teeth are sensitive, using hand-held instruments may be more comfortable for a professional cleaning. In the capable hands of a hygienist or dentist, it takes only moderate pressure to remove any stubborn buildup and scrub the teeth clean, regardless of which instruments are used.
Finally, your teeth are polished with a low-speed rotary brush fitted with a soft rubber tip. A slightly gritty, toothpaste-like gel is applied, and the tip spins around and polishes the teeth, making them smooth and shiny.
A Requirement for Good Oral Health
Most people don't feel any noticeable discomfort during dental cleanings; some even report they enjoy the experience — especially the dramatic results when it's done! If you haven't had a cleaning in a while, however, it may take you a few moments to get used to getting your teeth cleaned. If you experience any discomfort, however, it may be possible to apply a topical numbing gel or another type of anesthetic.
If your gums are irritated due to bacterial buildup, they may become sore or bleed slightly during the cleaning. It may be possible to prevent this from occuring in the future with oral hygiene measures you can perform at home (such as improved flossing techniques or special mouthrinses); it might also indicate that you need more frequent in-office cleanings. This type of regular maintenance will help you avoid more involved dental procedures down the road — and it will give you the best chance of keeping your teeth for life!
Digital radiography can take x-rays of your teeth by using a computer. Digital x-rays not only expose our patients and staff to 90% less radiation than typical film-type x-rays, they’re also much more sensitive when compared with standard dental x-rays. Digital x-rays make it possible for us to clearly look at the whole tooth and root structure as well as adjoining bone and tissue. They give us the opportunity to detect and diagnose concerns before they can be apparent to the naked eye, and before they may lead to considerable damage and discomfort.
To get an x-ray, a little sensor pad which is connected by a line to a computer, is placed inside the mouth. A beam of energy will then be sent through your teeth to the sensor which saves the images. The doctors and team members can quickly access the digital x-rays on a display screen to examine the results. No more waiting for x-rays to be developed. We are able to also show you the images allowing you to see everything we are describing in regard to your oral condition.
After that we can keep your x-rays in our computers and access them faster than ever. Additionally, the images could be sent electronically to insurance carriers, substantially decreasing processing time and contributing to faster treatment.