At Provo Family Dentistry in Provo, Utah we like to tell our patients that there is nothing really “general” about general dentistry. Also known as preventative dentistry, it is the first line of defense against the development of issues like decay or gum disease. It also allows our team to evaluate the condition of any dental restorations previously done in our dental office or by another dental professional, and it allows us to ensure your bite pattern, soft tissue and overall oral health is as strong as possible. We encourage our patients to use our general dentist services at least once each year, but consider a twice annual visit to our dentist office to ensure optimal oral health.
This is a major facet of general dentistry and allows our dental team to consider the conditions of your teeth and gums. We recommend doing an exam twice each year, regardless of your current level of oral health. This is because issues like decay, disease and oral cancer can appear suddenly and are best treated if caught early. Visiting us every six months for a simple and quick exam is a fantastic way of avoiding any serious issues, addressing anything that appears, and sparing yourself higher costs and the need for more complex treatments.
An exam will involve a hygienist looking at the teeth and gums while doing a routine removal of plaque or tartar. If there are any issues of concern, then x-rays may be done. A dentist is also part of any exam and will discuss any concerns or issues you feel you have, ensuring the very best results.
An essential tool in discovering the earliest signs of tooth decay, gum disease and other issues, we have an array of dental x-ray technologies that offer some of the most accurate diagnoses imaginable. We use an intraoral camera and digital x-rays to project up to the moment views of the interior of the mouth, jaw and gum tissue. Remarkably different from old-fashioned x-rays, these technologies use 90% less radiation, are comfortable, done in seconds, and demand no waiting time for the precise imagery to appear.
We also use DIAGNOdent Laser Cavity Detection and CariVu advanced technologies. These offer radically precise images that can detect the very first signs of dental caries (decay) and often far before more traditional technologies might have done. With such x-ray technologies, we can ensure that your teeth remain as healthy and protected as possible, and all without the discomfort or exposure of outdated technology.
The main reason for general dentistry is to offer preventative treatment. Perhaps nothing prevents trouble and problems with the teeth and gums more than proper cleaning. After all, our patients will receive a thorough examination and cleaning by the hygienist. This part of the cleaning will see the removal of any plaque or tartar at the gum line. The next step is to consider if there are signs of gum disease that might require periodontal treatment. The final phase of cleaning is to buff and smooth the teeth to help reduce any chance that bacteria can cling to the teeth. We can also use specialized treatments for patients who require them.
During a cleaning, we may also use more advanced treatments to identify areas where bacteria reside or where problems may be occurring. We will then work out a treatment plan or review any flaws in your oral hygiene. Our team can show you the right way to brush and floss, offer specialized gear and rinses or pastes that can provide you with the best oral health.
How well are you brushing your teeth and gums? Is your flossing effective? What sort of benefits or damages are coming from your daily oral hygiene routine? There are many issues that can stem from your dental hygiene habits or regimen, and our general dentistry services include consultations about this issue. During an exam, our team can help you discover where you might be missing important areas of the mouth when brushing and/or flossing. We can also review the kind of brush you are using and help you determine if a soft, medium or firm bristle is ideal, or even if an electric toothbrush may be a wiser choice. Perhaps you have dentures or restorations. How are you caring for them? If you are unsure about the appropriate steps, you may be doing harm or lasting damage to them. This too is addressed when we work with you on dental hygiene.
Many patients only think of the word periodontics in its relation to periodontal disease; however, our general dentistry services include the fullest array of periodontal treatment. This is an area of dentistry that focuses on the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth. While periodontics includes treatment of periodontal disease, it also relates to treatments such as dental implants, crown lengthening and more.
Our list of periodontal treatments include: frenectomy treatment that deals with small folds of tissue connecting the upper lip and gums, gum recontouring done to address periodontal disease or gingival infections, and gingivectomy treatments. The latter is the surgical removal of tissue that has created pockets around teeth and leaves them at risk for loss, and something we can provide if needed.
Fewer and fewer dental professionals provide “amalgam” or metallic fillings any longer. This is not an esthetic decision as much as a functional one. The amalgam fillings require much larger amounts of the tooth to be removed, and do not perform as well as composites. Our general dentistry services include composite fillings that look just like your natural tooth material and which withstand years of wear and tear without expanding or weakening the tooth. In fact, they are bonded to the tooth, only adding strength. Composite fillings will generally be a very durable solution, though not all teeth can be addressed through simple fillings, if we can, we will use this treatment.
If a tooth is not a good candidate for a filling or for treatments such as inlays or onlays – which are similar to fillings but placed differently, we can also offer dental crowns after providing treatment to the tooth.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Like so many other forms of cancer, oral cancer is best treated as early as possible. During your regular exam, or if you have experienced sudden changes in your mouth, we can offer oral cancer screenings. While part of the exam and screening will involve a visual assessment of the soft tissue throughout the mouth, we will also check your neck and face for any notable swelling or signs of oral cancer. If an exam reveals something that appears pre-cancerous or questionable, our general dentist may order a biopsy to test the cells.
Though this is part of a regular exam, if you are at risk for this issue, we strongly suggest you pay a visit. Those who use tobacco, consume a lot of alcohol, have already had a diagnosis of oral cancer or who are at risk for lip or mouth cancer will benefit greatly from this general dentistry treatment.
It is so unfortunate that root canals are so often seen as a dreaded experience. Not only are they nearly as simple and fast as your standard dental filling, but they bring an end to the pain and discomfort of a seriously infected tooth and allow you to keep that tooth. A root canal is needed when tooth decay has penetrated the outer layer of the tooth and entered the pulp. It will cause pain due to the infection it creates, and it may even travel beyond the root to create an abscess in the gum tissue.
If we determine that you require a root canal, we will numb the tooth and remove the infection. We treat the tooth and restore it to full, painless function. We then top it with a composite filling, or most commonly with a new dental crown. Root canal therapy is a remarkably effective treatment that enables you to enjoy the most functional mouth possible.
Contact The Provo Family Dentistry Today to Schedule Your Next Cleaning
Now that you have learned more about general dentistry, it is time to talk with a dentist in Provo, UT about a visit, exam and any general dentistry care. Get in touch with us today by calling 801-373-2693 or by visiting our contact page.