Preventive Dental Care in tampa

Why is preventive dental care important?

The foundation of a healthy smile is supported by preventive dentistry. Routine cleanings and exams can address and treat minor issues before they turn into large and costly problems. Along with a diligent at-home brushing and flossing routine, preventive dental care can help keep dental issues from forming. With regular, small investments in your oral hygiene, a beautiful, healthy smile can continue to thrive.

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Did you know…

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Flossing allows you to reach and clean 40% more of your tooth surface.

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What to expect at your preventive dental care appointment

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Thorough Cleaning

Your dental appointment will begin with a thorough cleaning from your dentist or dental hygienist. Plaque, tartar and bacteria will be cleaned, and your teeth will be gently polished and flossed to ensure that your smile is bright, beautiful, and healthy.

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Necessary X-Rays

If it has been a little while since you had x-rays taken, or if your dentist believes there are hidden issues with your teeth, x-rays may be administered. With these images, our team can see potential issues hiding below the gumline and within teeth.

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Comprehensive Exam

Your dentist will then examine your teeth, gums, and mouth for any signs of oral health issues, like cavities, gum disease, and abnormalities of the tissues. A close examination of your x-rays will ensure that every potential problem has been exposed.

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Tailored Treatment Plan

As you continue your exam, your dentist will share the state of your oral health along with any potential problems that they detect. Your dentist will develop a treatment plan that’s fit to serve your unique needs. Finally, your dentist will offer recommendations to resolve the issues and the best treatment options for your lifestyle and budget.

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Schedule Follow Up Appointment

Our team is happy to schedule your next appointment if you are in need of a follow-up for a simple filling, more complex restorative work, or a cosmetic treatment. Schedule your next cleaning in 6 months to keep your smile in great shape for years to come.

Cosmetic Treatment Options

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Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride treatments can easily be added to any routine preventive visit to help keep decay at bay. Once your teeth have been cleaned, your dentist will simply apply a fluoride-rich varnish or gel and leave it in place before rinsing it away. Fluoride works by attracting healthy minerals like calcium and phosphates which will bond to your teeth and help re-strengthen them.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are common for pediatric patients who may be at a high risk of developing cavities, but they are also great for patients of all ages who wish to protect their teeth from dental decay. During this treatment, dental resin will be applied to the rear teeth which have more grooves and crevices where plaque and bacteria can hide. The resin will be hardened with a UV light, creating a strong barrier that blocks food debris, acid, and bacteria from coming into contact with your enamel. When properly applied dental sealant can last for years to come!

Periodontal Care

Patients who struggle with gum disease are at risk of experiencing tooth loss and other problems. Gingivitis is the first stage, which can be reversed with deep cleanings and diligent at-home care. Visiting the dentist for regular checkups will ensure that patients with gum disease can get control over their oral health before it becomes too late!

We recommend that patients with more advanced cases of gum disease schedule deep cleanings in frequent intervals of about every three months, which can halt the progression of periodontitis and preserve their oral health.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer screenings are a crucial part of preventive oral health care routines. By catching oral cancer early before it spreads, can save a patient’s life. That’s why we always check for any potential signs of oral cancer at every bi-annual checkup.

Your dentist will examine your mouth, gums, and other oral tissues, keeping an eye out for lesions, lumps, discolored patches, and other abnormalities. If anything looks unusual, a biopsy can be taken and sent to a specialist for further analysis. Oral cancer is rare, but it’s important to be proactive and stay consistent with your oral healthcare routine, so your dentist can easily identify when something is wrong.

Did you know…

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Tooth enamel is the hardest part of your entire body.

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Have questions about preventive dentistry? Find answers here.

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How should I properly brush my teeth?

Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time for a healthy smile. Start by holding your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gums. Using small, circular strokes, clean the front, back, and chewing surfaces of each tooth. Each quadrant of your mouth only needs about 30 seconds of proper brushing. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 3-4 months, and to use an ADA-approved toothpaste with fluoride.

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How do you floss correctly?

Roll out 18-24 inches of floss and wind most of it around the index or middle finger of one of your hands. Then, wind the last few inches around the index or middle finger of your opposite hand. 

Pinch a 1-inch section of floss between your fingers and gently move this section of floss between your teeth with a rocking motion. Once the floss reaches your gum line, hug the floss against one of your teeth to create a “c” shape and move it up and down to dislodge plaque and bacteria. Repeat this motion against the next tooth to clean both sides of the gum.

Finish by gently removing the floss from between your teeth. Wind a new 1-inch section of floss between your fingers, move to the next tooth, and repeat.

What's the difference between prophylactic cleanings and periodontal cleanings?

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Prophylactic cleanings are the regular cleanings you get every 6 months at your dental appointments, which are required by all patients. Your dentist or dental hygienist will remove plaque, tartar and bacteria from your teeth, buff and polish them, and then floss your teeth to remove any residual debris during these cleanings.

Periodontal cleanings, also known as “deep cleanings”, are only needed for patients who have periodontal or gum disease. This treatment is done in two appointments, as half of your mouth is cleaned at each appointment. By scraping away plaque and tartar between your teeth and gums, your dentist will smooth the roots of your teeth to eliminate pockets that trap bacteria. Unless you have gum disease, a periodontal cleaning isn’t required.

Is preventive care covered by dental insurance?

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Usually, dental insurance policies cover 100% of basic preventive care. Many cover at least a certain portion of the cost. Preventive care treatments include prophylactic teeth cleanings every 6 months, any necessary x-rays (usually once a year), and an annual or biannual dental exam performed by your dentist. Dental insurance policies may also cover the cost of optional preventive treatments, like dental sealants and fluoride treatments for children.

Insurance policies do differ, and it’s up to the patient to understand their coverage. Consult with your provider so you know exactly what’s covered and what will likely be out-of-pocket.

Did you know…

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The average person smiles 40 times a day. 

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