The Importance Of Preventative Dentistry
We are sure you know, but it is definitely worth repeating – your regularly scheduled dental appointments are as important for maintaining health – for both your smile and your body– as any of your medical checkups and screenings. Periodic checkups and cleanings let us keep an eye on your teeth for decay or infection, check for oral cancer and problems such as infection in the soft tissue of your mouth and gums, and make sure that your smile is sparkling clean and free of bacterial buildup. But don’t just take our word for it – the American Dental Association recommends that everyone in your family have a hygiene visit every six months. We may recommend more frequent visits for patients who struggle with gum disease or are prone to decay, but rest assured, everything we do, from fluoride treatments to mouthguards is customized to meet your very specific needs.
We call our dental exams “comprehensive” because we never scrimp on the time and attention we give to your health and wellbeing. Your first exam with us will be the most in-depth dental exam you may have ever had, but your following exams are just as important. Regular dental exams allow us to keep an eye on every detail of your oral health and even help protect your overall health from complications and discomfort caused by infection, an unbalanced bite, and mouth cancer. Remember, your mouth and body are inextricably linked and the health of one contributes to the health of the other – and vice-versa! During exams you can expect us to look for:
- Cavities, even the earliest signs so we can repair them with the least amount of disruption to your enamel.
- Decay, before it becomes severe and leads to abscesses and pain.
- Gum disease, to stop infection in your gum tissue before it affects your teeth or spreads to your bloodstream.
- Oral cancer, to screen for the most subtle signs that may be present with no other symptoms.
- Sleep apnea symptoms, to ensure that your snoring isn’t something more serious.
- Signs of TMJ disorder, helping discover and end a bad bite that can lead to chronic headaches and even migraines.
- Dry mouth, a common cause of gum disease and cavities.
We use an intraoral camera to get a close-up, real-time look at the inside of your mouth – and share it with you so you can learn about your teeth right along with us.
If it has been a while since your last exam, we may want to get an even more in-depth look with digital or panoramic x-rays.
If we find any problems, Dr. Kyle Clark will always take time to discuss his findings with you and co-develop a treatment plan to get your smile back to health in no time.
Oral Cancer Screenings
While other cancers are getting all the press, oral cancers numbers are creeping dangerously higher every year. In fact, there are over 50,000 people being diagnosed every, single year here in the United States. We think those are some frightening numbers and we take them very seriously. We don’t wait for a specific, yearly cancer screening. Instead, we screen every member of your family for mouth and throat cancer every single time they come in for a cleaning. During these comprehensive oral cancer screenings, we check your:
- Face: for any signs of swelling, discoloration, or asymmetry
- Neck: for enlarged of lymph nodes and masses.
- Thyroid gland: for tenderness, nodules, or masses.
- Lips: for abnormalities in color, contour, texture, or symmetry. We will also look inside your upper and lower lips as well as inspecting your frenulum to check for ulcers, sores, or discoloration.
- Inside of cheeks: for irregularities in texture, sores, or masses.
- Tongue: for limited movement, discoloration, masses, swelling, or lumps
- Floor of the mouth: to check sublingual glands and surface abnormalities.
- Hard and soft palate: for loose teeth, ulcerations, rough patches, asymmetry, growths, or red or white spots. We also take a look at your uvula.
- Tonsils: Say “AH!” When you do, we will take a last, good look for redness, ulceration, swelling, or lumps.
Because every mouth is different, frequent check-ups allow us to check against your own personal baseline and immediately note the changes. This is important because when oral cancer is caught early, treatment is much more likely to be successful.
We can carefully and accurately examine your mouth for all kinds of things – but one thing we can’t do, no matter how sharp our eyes are or how well-trained we may be: we can’t see what is happening inside your tooth under that protective enamel. That’s when dental x-rays come in. Because we care about both our patients and the environment, we have chosen to use only digital x-rays to examine our Burkburnett friends and neighbors. Digital x-rays let us get the clearest, sharpest images possible and save them directly to the computers located in each exam room. That means no waiting for film to develop before we see the results – just an immediate diagnostic tool you can look at too. Digital x-rays are better for your health and for the planet as well because they are much lower in radiation and need no paper or chemicals for development. We offer both intraoral digital x-rays and panoramic x-rays. Panoramic x-rays give us an overview of your mouth, jaw, sinuses, and neck so we can look at the position of your wisdom teeth, examine for abscesses, evaluate your bone density, and even check your sinuses.
Hygiene, Preventative Dentistry Care
Keeping up with your regularly scheduled dental cleanings is one of the most important things you can do for your smile. Our special tools and professional touch allow us to achieve a deep clean that you just can’t get at home, no matter how diligent you are or how wonderful your toothbrush is. Even if you brush and floss after every meal and before bed, you still can’t get rid of all the bacterial buildup that threatens your teeth and your gums with cavities and infection. Plaque is a biofilm, and biofilms are notoriously difficult to disrupt. It hides in all the nooks and crannies you can’t reach with a toothbrush alone – between your teeth, behind your molars, under your gum line – and eventually hardens into calculus or tartar. This can only be removed by professional cleanings. The biggest reasons to make sure these biofilms are properly removed from your mouth, other than the fact that no one really wants a bacterial buildup on their smiles, are:
- Every time you eat or drink anything with sugar or other carbohydrates, you are feeding it. When it degrades that sugar, it produces an acid that attacks your teeth causing cavities and decay.
- When the bacteria thrive it can lead to infection in your oral soft tissue, especially your gums, which then travels to the rest of your body.
We use ultrasonic scalers to painlessly blast away stubborn plaque and tartar with sound waves for the deepest clean of your life, and follow up with a protective fluoride treatment for both children and adults. Your teeth never felt so good!
An infection in your gums can lead to all kinds of health problems in the rest of your body. Burkburnett Family Dental can help.
Almost everything you eat or drink can have a negative effect on your precious enamel. Even things we think of as healthy like juice, smoothies, rehydrating sports drinks, granola bars, or vitamin gummies can feed acid-producing bacteria and disrupt your enamel. Other things can be hard on your enamel as well: Using your teeth for tools, chewing ice, grinding and clenching during stress or sleep. That’s why we recommend that you limit snacking for yourself and the rest of your family; never allow your kids to carry anything but clear, refreshing water in a bottle or sippy cup for constant swigging; and that you never test your teeth on hard objects. It is also why we recommend fluoride treatments for everyone in your family. It really isn’t just for kids! Fluoride works really well to protect your enamel by remineralizing it, replacing the protective qualities that life can wear away. It can even stop and reverse the formation of early cavities!
Protecting smiles is one of the things we take most seriously – especially those incredible smiles of our young patients. One of the most effective ways we can protect active young smiles is with custom-made dental sports guards. It’s why we made them for the BHS Bulldogs! Their coaches know that over-the-counter, boil-and-bite mouthguards just can’t offer the protection and comfort our individually designed and crafted sports mouthguards can offer. No matter what sport your child plays, even if she just really loves skateboarding or horseback riding, a dentist-made sports guard may save your child’s teeth. According to the American Dental Association, more than 200,000 oral injuries are prevented each year with mouth guards. As an added benefit, custom sports mouthguards are so much more comfortable and easy to wear than other guards, never impeding speech or breathing, so your child is more likely to keep them in when he or she needs it the most.
Here at Burkburnett Family Dental, we believe everyone should get the dental care they deserve. We know that many patients feel uncomfortable and anxious when going to the dentist, so we’ve been trained and certified to offer dental sedation to our patient family. We offer oral conscious sedation and other forms of sedation to help any of our patients relax and rest through any procedure.
It’s a high-tech world – and we make sure we are staying current right here in Burkburnett. Dental technology makes even general and family dentistry easier, more convenient, reducing time, limiting discomfort, and speeding healing. Isn’t that what your family deserves? We certainly think so. We have invested in a range of dental technology including:
- Intraoral Cameras to get a highly enlarged, super-close-up look at all areas of your mouth. You can see exactly what we are seeing along with us since the images are viewed directly on our in-operatory computer screens. Kids and adult alike appreciate getting to know their smiles!
- Soft Tissue Lasers to treat periodontal (gum) disease, perform frenectomies, treat cold sores and other lesions, and clear away infected tissue without any need for stitches. Our patients find laser dentistry so painless, they don’t mind soft-tissue treatments at all! Plus, because lasers heal as they treat, bleeding is stopped before it starts and there is never any need for stitches.