Preventive Care

Oral Hygiene

Why is oral hygiene so important? Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, like periodontal disease, than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

Nutrition

Good nutrition plays a large role in your dental health. Brushing and flossing help to keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong however a balanced diet will help to boost your body’s immune system, leaving you less vulnerable to oral disease.

How often and what you eat have been found to affect your dental health. Eating starchy foods such as crackers, bread, cookies and candy causes the bacteria in your mouth feed on it, they then produce acids, which attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes or more. Also foods that stick to your teeth or are slow to dissolve give the acids more time to work on destroying your tooth enamel.

Starchy foods:

  • crackers
  • breads
  • cookies
  • candy
Sticky/slow to dissolve foods:

  • granola bars
  • chewy fruit snacks
  • dried fruit
  • potato chips
  • hard candy

Sticky and starchy foods create less acid when eaten as part of a meal.  Saliva production increases at mealtime, rinsing away food particles and neutralizing harmful acids.

Foods such as nuts, cheese, onions, and some teas have been shown to slow growth of decay- causing bacteria in the mouth.

Professional Cleaning

Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed.  Here at Dental Arts of Hackensack, the health of your gums and overall hygiene is very important to us.  We make sure that your hygiene visit is comfortable, as well as informative, in regards to your oral health.

At the beginning of your hygiene appointment, we first chart the condition of your gums.  This is achieved through perio-charting, which is the measuring of periodontal pockets.  Through these measurements, our hygienists and doctors are able to accurately diagnose the presence of gum disease, as well as the level of advancement it is at.

We are excited to let our patients know that we utilize the Florida Probe® System as an advanced diagnostic tool for the tracking and monitoring of this disease. This system, which utilizes an automated, computerized probe, has proven to be more accurate and consistent than traditional methods of assessing periodontal disease and provides both you and the dental team with advanced information.

Every cleaning is done using an ultrasonic scaler called the Cavitron.  It distributes ultrasonic vibrations to literally blast tartar, or calculus, off of your teeth! As the Cavitron vibrates, it produces sound waves to break apart stubborn calculus. Water flows out of the tip’s end to wash away debris and keep the scaler from overheating. Although you won’t feel the vibrations or hear the sound waves, you’ll most likely notice that your teeth feel cleaner. And the hygienist will have significantly reduced the amount of plaque bacteria that causes most dental diseases.

Keeping a regular cleaning routine is important, which is why it is suggested to come in for a professional cleaning every six months.  Some patients might need to come in every three or four months, due to the advanced level of gum disease.

Preventive Exams

Once your dental condition has been restored and maintained to a healthy level, it’s essential to have regular recall check-up exams.  They serve as a way to prevent problems from developing unnoticed.  A recall exam is a chance for our dentists to thoroughly re-visit areas within your mouth and compare them to previous records.

To properly diagnose, it is vital to take a set of x-rays in order to have an accurate idea of any problems that could be occurring in areas that can only be seen via x-ray.  At this time, the doctor might also use an intra-oral camera and diagnodent to further diagnose a concern.  Recall exams are usually paired with your professional cleaning.

Sealants

Sealants are strongly suggested for children once they start growing their permanent molars.  Highly effective in preventing decay on the biting surfaces of your chewing teeth, sealants are a simple procedure in which a tooth-colored acrylic “coating” is painted onto the surface of the tooth. This effectively “seals” the deep grooves acting as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids.

Sealants protect the depressions and grooves of your teeth from food particles and plaque that brushing and flossing can’t reach.

Easy to apply, sealants take only a few minutes to seal each tooth. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and can last several years before a reapplication is needed.  This is an excellent way to start the fight against tooth decay at an early age.

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer is a disease that tends to fall off people’s “radar” but in fact, it is killing one person, every hour, everyday.  Because the signs and symptoms of oral cancer are often not seen clearly by the naked eye, the disease is usually detected late in development; already having a 50% mortality rate.  However, when it’s found early, it can have almost a 90% survival rate.  Oral cancer has been mainly associated with heavy smokers or drinkers but today has been a frightening increase in oral cancer in non-smokers and non-drinkers.

Our office now has a new device called the IdentafiTM 3000 that uses advanced technology to identify morphological and biochemical changes in the cells of your mouth, tongue, throat and tonsils.  Those changes are made visible through the use of Identafi’sTM special light waves that could signal the occurrence or early beginnings of oral cancer.  The test is simple, painless and takes only 10 minutes.