Avoid Oral Health Problems with Preventative Care

As you can likely guess from the name, preventative dentistry is intended to prevent oral problems or at least catch issues early before they become severe. Preventative dentistry consists of much more than just biannual prophylaxis (professional cleaning and a hygiene checkup) and dental X-rays, although these two services are certainly crucial. In fact, preventative dental treatments can save you from significant discomfort, high dental-care costs, and even life-threatening conditions.

The team at Bruce Sexton, DDS, has assembled the following list of 5 specific problems that preventative dentistry can help you avoid. We hope that this information will encourage you to be aware of your oral health and to see them at the first signs of any problems.

1. Cavities

Cavities, also called dental caries, are spots of decay on your teeth. Most adults get at least one cavity during their lives. A single cavity is usually not a big deal, but cavities do require treatment. If ignored, a cavity can deepen and enlarge, endangering your tooth. Untreated cavities can even be a gateway to further bodily infection.

A good home oral care routine is a great way to prevent cavities, but even the most dedicated brushing and flossing won’t prevent all cavities. Professional cleanings at our office go where your toothbrush and dental floss simply cannot.

Sealants are another way to guard against cavities. Sealants are protective coatings for the back teeth, the molars, and premolars. These teeth are hard to reach and full of nooks and crannies, making them especially prone to decay. Sealants will go a long way towards preventing cavities in these teeth.

Additionally, a high-tech fluorescent light scanner called Spectra helps detect cavities that may otherwise be overlooked. Combined with education through their Cavity Prevention Program, the team at Bruce Sexton, DDS, strives to minimize tooth decay in both kids and adults.

2. Gum Disease

Gum disease is at truly epidemic levels in the United States. Around 70% of the American adult population has some degree of periodontal inflammation or infection. Gum disease can lead to bleeding, swollen, and sore gums, but the problem can have even more serious consequences.

Repeated studies have linked gum disease to diabetes complications, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more. Recent research has even found a tentative connection between gum infections and some cases of Alzheimer’s disease. As you may know, gum disease is also directly linked to tooth loss and bad breath.

To combat gum disease, Bruce Sexton, DDS,  provides periodontal therapies. These treatments go beneath your gums to clean and sanitize your teeth roots and gum tissue. Don’t worry, they use an effective anesthetic to keep you comfortable during this procedure. Their periodontal therapy can reduce or eliminate gum disease as well as its symptoms.

3. Teeth Wear and Jaw Problems

Millions of people have problems with bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding or gnashing. Bruxism patients aren’t usually suffering from anger management issues, rather, the teeth grinding typically occurs while they sleep. If you often awaken with an aching, sore mouth or jaw, you may have a bruxism problem.

Left untreated, bruxism can quickly result in worn and cracked teeth. Also, chronic teeth grinding affects your temporomandibular joints (TMJs), better known as your jaw, causing muscle soreness, fatigue, and even joint dysfunction.

A custom night guard is one of the best methods to prevent the results of bruxism. You may also hear this appliance referred to as a bite splint. It is an oral device molded to your unique mouth shape and designed to absorb the enormous pressure exerted during teeth grinding. A night guard can protect your teeth as well as your jaw.

4. Sleep Apnea

Have you heard complaints about your snoring? Everyone snores from time to time, especially when dealing with a cold or seasonal allergies. But chronic or loud snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is characterized by extended pauses in breathing during sleep. Aside from snoring, OSA patients may also choke or gasp for breath during sleep and awaken feeling tired and unrefreshed. Frequently, people with OSA experience extreme fatigue during the day.

OSA is more than simply annoying. Untreated sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. Severe sleep apnea can even be deadly.

While some cases of OSA may require surgery or the use of a breathing machine called a CPAP, other instances can be successfully treated with a dental appliance. This appliance may move your tongue so that it does not obstruct your airway or gently bring your lower jaw forward. Your appliance will be individually fabricated for you, and can provide you—and your partner—with more restful sleep.

5. Oral Cancer

While it doesn’t receive as much press as other types of cancer, oral cancer is potentially deadly. Each year, over 13,000 Americans die from various forms of oral cancer. Although tobacco users are at the highest risk of this disease, oral cancer can strike those who have never touched a cigarette or chewing tobacco.

Because oral cancer is so serious, Bruce Sexton, DDS, uses the VELscope system for early detection. This system helps Dr. Sexton find oral cancer before it is visible to the naked eye. In conjunction with conventional, comprehensive oral cancer screenings, VELscope aids in identifying oral cancer in the earliest stages when the disease is most treatable.

Be sure to take smart measures to preserve both your oral health and overall health. Preventative dentistry preserves teeth, prevents pain, saves money, and even lengthens lives! Schedule your appointment with Bruce Sexton, DDS, today.

 

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