Dental Care and Routine Prevention?


At PV Dentistry HEALTH is our first priority? Why? Because I found that as a dentist I cannot in good conscience recommend any treatment, unless I put your personal health as the #1 priority. I also believe that all dentists should be actively putting themselves out of business! Some of you already know what I mean by that... I would rather not do another filling. I'd rather teach you how to prevent them!

In this spirit I should review what the basics of prevention are, in dental care. Lets start with the most simple scenario: An adult who has never had a cavity and has all their teeth. The first question is how often should they come into the dentist.

Prior to being a dentist, I also had lived most of my life without a cavity. I was in my late 20s and I had just gone back to college. There were many late nights of studying, and I ended up getting a cavity on a lower back molar, even though I had only had one cavity in my whole life, 8 years prior. The truth is, our bodies do not stay the same. Once in awhile, a patient who hasn't had a cavity in decades, will develop one.

It also makes sense to take care of a problem before it becomes a bigger problem. I cannot even tell you how many times I've had to do a root canal or remove a tooth, when we could have easily done a small filling, if the patient had come in sooner. Please don't think you are the exception, and make sure to see the dentist at least every 6 months.

Home Care
For patient who are low risk for decay, and do not have gum disease, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day. Follow your dentist or hygienist's individualized recommendations, but that's the minimum.

You also should floss at least once a day. "You should only floss the teeth that you want to keep." You might have heard your dentist say that, and its true. Don't be fooled if you have "gotten away" with not flossing your teeth. The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes, including your body and mouth. Gum disease is an infection of the gums, and a patient could develop that at any point in their life.

Also at least half of adults have periodontitis (gum disease that has caused irreversible damage), and up to 80% have some form of gum disease altogether.

High Risk for Decay
There are number of reasons that you might be at high risk for decay, including genetics, stress, medications use or other medical problems. It may be best to switch to a prescription toothpaste, more frequent brushing and flossing, use of a waterpick or other dentrifices as advised by your dental office.

High risk patients should often increase the frequency of their dental exams or cleanings. Decay can advance rapidly, and what might have been a smaller procedure could often have been prevented. Follow your dentist's advice.

Gum Disease
Gum disease is actually called periodontitis. It involved BOTH the gums and the jaw bone that the tooth is anchored into. Gum disease is an infection of the gums and it leads to tooth loss. Gingivitis is a reversible form of gum disease. With proper home care and appropriate cleanings at the dental office, this can usually be resolved. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing and daily use of an appropriate mouthwash is appropriate for home care, and a dental cleaning at least every 6 months (unless advised by your dentist otherwise).

Periodontitis is gum disease that has caused permanent damage to the teeth or gums. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing and use of a waterpik is a good idea. If recently diagnosed, then it is recommended that we do a deep cleaning, called "scaling and root planing", and then a cleaning at least every 3 months for:
Dental Implants
Dental Fixed Bridges
Partial Denture

Written by: Harold Henderson, DDS August 16, 2019