The most important thing you can do to maintain and protect your mouth is proper homecare. That means brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. Technique is as important as frequency. We spend a lot of time reviewing oral hygiene technique in our office. Mouth rinses and water picks can also be added as an adjunct. (They do not replace brushing or flossing, however.) In general, the best way to maximize the benefits the products we use to clean our teeth is the following:
We are happy to explain why this order is so effective. Just ask us!
In order to avoid lengthy procedures and maintain a healthy and disease-free mouth, we recommend professional cleanings and checkups every 6 months. This allows us to detect early signs of disease and provide interceptive treatments when necessary. The key to maintaining a healthy mouth is to be followed regularly and practice good homecare.
Sealants protect the chewing surfaces of teeth. This is done by painting dental resin in the teeth to make sure food and bacteria do not get stuck in the grooves of your back teeth. When the grooves (called pits and fissures) are sealed, teeth are much less susceptible to cavities. Sealants are traditionally used as a preventive measure for children and teenagers when they are in their ‘cavity prone’ years. Patients who suffer from xerostomia (decreased salivation), undergoing orthodontic treatment, show evidence of incipient caries, or who are prone to caries, should be evaluated as candidates for sealant placement.
Space maintainers are appliances made to custom fit your child’s mouth to maintain the space intended for the permanent tooth. A space maintainer is necessary if a baby tooth is lost prematurely. They do this by holding open the empty space left by a lost tooth and preventing movement in the remaining teeth until the permanent tooth takes its natural position in the child’s mouth. This treatment is much more affordable and much easier on your child than to move them back later with orthodontic procedures.
Baby teeth usually stay in place until “pushed out” by a permanent tooth that takes its place. Unfortunately, some children lose baby teeth too early. (A tooth may be knocked out accidentally or be removed due to severe decay.) When this occurs, a space maintainer may be required to prevent future dental problems. Space maintainers encourage normal development of the jaw bones and muscles, and save space for the permanent teeth and help guide them into position.
The fluoride ion comes from the element fluorine. Fluoride, either applied topically to erupted teeth, or ingested orally (called systemic fluoride) during tooth development, helps to prevent tooth decay, strengthen our tooth enamel, and reduce the harmful effects of plaque. Fluoride also makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization – which aids in repairing early decay before the damage is even visible.
Fluoride is usually added to toothpastes and occasionally mouth rinses. For people who are prone to cavities, fluoridated varnishes and/or gels either topically applied by a dentist or prescribed as an at-home regimen may be advised.
Systemic fluoride can be ingested through public and private water supplies and as dietary supplements (although Montreal mostly doesn’t add fluoride to its municipal water).
In general, fluoride consumption is safe. Health risks associated with fluoridation usually are limited to misuse and over concentration. Fluorosis (over consumption of fluoride) appears as staining, spotting or pitting of the teeth. To prevent this, avoid swallowing toothpaste and other dental hygiene products. Call your local municipalities water department and/or the health department to evaluate the fluoride level in your local drinking reservoir. Children are especially vulnerable to dental fluorosis as their developing teeth are more sensitive to higher fluoride levels. Consult a pediatric dentist or other oral health care professional if you notice changes in the condition of your child’s teeth.