Prevention and education are two of the most important aspects of a successful dental plan. As a part of Bowser Dentistry’s advanced dental hygiene services, York dentist Dr. Bowser evaluates your oral health and determines your level of risk for diseases like tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. A personally tailored, prevention-based dental plan is then created for you. AtBowser Dentistry, our dental plans include regular exams and professional cleanings performed by our skilled hygienist every six months, as well as personalized instructions on how to implement the best at-home dental hygiene practices to preserve the beauty of your natural smile.
Dental Hygiene Services
Sometimes additional treatments are required to maintain optimum oral health. At Bowser Dentistry, our array of hygiene services includes:
Gums and teeth benefit from brushing and flossing, but dental plaque and stains build up on tooth surfaces over time, leaving hard deposits that cause decay and that brushing, rinsing, and flossing alone can’t remove. At Bowser Dentistry, our York, PA dentist, Dr. Bowser, creates dental plans that include teeth cleanings every six months. Professional dental cleanings are one of the simplest preventive measures that can help you maintain and enjoy a lifetime of good oral health.
What Is a Professional Teeth Cleaning?
Having your teeth cleaned regularly helps prevent gingivitis, tooth decay, and loss of enamel from teeth. The type of cleaning you will need depends on the extent of the plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth. If buildup is extensive — which can result in inflammation of the gum tissue and some bone loss — a deep cleaning may be required.
During a professional teeth cleaning, our dental hygienist will use traditional instruments as well as an ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque, tartar, and stains that cannot be removed by brushing and flossing alone. An ultrasonic scaler achieves the desired results more comfortably by using a spray of water to remove the hardened debris, minimizing the scraping affect produced by traditional tools. A deep cleaning takes more time to complete than a traditional cleaning, and can even take up to 1 1/2 hours per side. During this process, the gums may feel sore, and local anesthetic may be applied to minimize any discomfort that may occur.
Services your hygienist will perform during your teeth cleaning include:
- A review of your dental and medical history
- An oral cancer screening
- An evaluation of your overall oral health
- X-rays to detect decay
- A deep cleaning to remove stains, plaque, and tartar
- Fluoride application
- Polishing of all teeth
- At-home oral health education and instruction
Most often fluoride and its use in dental treatments is associated with children and the strengthening of their young, vulnerable teeth. Although fluoride is important for young children, it is beneficial for adolescents and adults of all ages as well. In fact, new research indicates that fluoride’s role in fighting tooth decay as we age is just as important as its role in the strengthening and protection of newly developing teeth. That’s why at Bowser Dentistry, as a part of our commitment to preserving your smile, York, PA dentist Dr. Bowser encourages patients to receive a fluoride treatment as part of their routine oral health care.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in both food and water. It aids in the prevention of tooth decay and cavities by making teeth resistant to the acids created by plaque and sugars. Fluoride is deposited on tooth enamel when you eat foods and beverages that contain it; it is lost when the acids produced by plaque and sugars eat away at the enamel of a tooth. Tooth decay occurs when the amount of fluoride lost outweighs what is being deposited.
A fluoride treatment involves applying fluoride topically to teeth. The in-office fluoride treatment is simple, painless, and fast, and it involves applying fluoride in the form of varnish, gel, or foam directly onto the teeth. This can be accomplished by wearing a mouthguard filled with the foam or gel or by having varnish painted directly onto your teeth.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, tooth decay is the most prevalent and preventable chronic disease in children and adults today. Tooth decay is typically symptomless until there’s already a cavity or a tooth abscess (an infection at the root of a tooth or in the gums), both of which can lead to pain and tooth loss if left untreated. That’s why atBowser Dentistry, we make prevention of tooth decay your dental plan’s primary focus.
What Is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay occurs when the mouth’s naturally occurring, harmful bacteria combine with the sugars from food, producing acids. Over time, the acids eat away at your tooth’s enamel, causing tooth decay and eventually cavities or dental caries. Symptoms of tooth decay or a tooth abscess include:
- A toothache
- Swelling in the gums
- Bad breath/taste in the mouth
- Gray, brown, or black spots on your teeth
If you have a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates, drink from a water source that does not contain fluoride, or suffer from reduced salivary flow, you may be at risk for tooth decay. Young children are at higher risk for decay than are adults.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Successful preventive care requires good oral hygiene practices at home and routine visits to the dentist. At Bowser Dentistry, our York dentist Dr. Bowser understands that finding a dentist you have confidence in is key to maintaining a healthy smile, so we put extra effort and time into forming a long-term, trust-based relationship with all of our patients.
The following are steps you can take at home and during your routine dental visits to prevent tooth decay and improve your overall oral health:
- Eat healthy foods that are low in sugar.
- Brush and floss a minimum of two times each day.
- Use a mouthwash or rinse regularly.
- Schedule routine visits and cleanings.
- Consider having regular fluoride treatments, especially if you don’t get fluoride in your drinking water.
- Have dental sealants applied to your back teeth if they are free of fillings and decay; dental sealants are especially effective at protecting children’s teeth.
Treatment of Tooth Decay
If you have been diagnosed with tooth decay, the best course of treatment will depend on its severity. The following treatments are used once decay has eaten through tooth enamel:
- Filling: The decay is removed and Dr. Bowser fills the hole with one of several types of materials, based on your preference, returning it to its natural form.
- Crown: If your tooth is severely damaged, a tooth-shaped cap is made to replace the damaged area.
- Root canal: If an infection has reached the pulp of your tooth, Dr. Bowser will remove the infected area and replace damaged or missing parts of the affected tooth with a crown.
- Extraction: If the extent of the decay is severe, removal of the damaged tooth may be necessary.
At York’s Bowser Dentistry, we believe it’s our job to protect your whole health by providing superior, long-term preventive and restorative dental care. When your oral health declines, so does your overall health, as demonstrated by gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease is not just a serious dental concern; it has been linked to heart disease and diabetes, as well as low birth weight in children born to women suffering from it.
What Is Periodontal/Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, bleeding, or receding gums, as well as bad breath, painful chewing, and loose teeth. It starts when plaque is found in the mouth and hardens into a substance called tartar, which can only be removed with a professional cleaning. If plaque and tartar are not removed, the bacteria eventually cause a mild form of periodontal disease called gingivitis, in which the gums bleed and become red and swollen. Gingivitis is still reversible, and it can be treated with a professional dental cleaning and regular brushing and flossing. However, when left untreated, the gum disease worsens, leading to an advanced form called periodontitis that can cause severe damage to the soft tissue that supports the teeth, resulting in infection and eventual tooth loss.
Gum Disease Treatments
At Bowser Dentistry, York dentist Dr. Bowseroffers a variety of periodontal therapy treatments that address gum disease at its various stages. Periodontal therapy begins with a consultation and exam, so Dr. Bowser can determine the stage of the disease and develop a treatment plan. Treatments may include:
- Professional dental cleaning: Dr. Bowser will remove the plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. If you have gingivitis or signs of periodontitis, you will be required to have this level of cleaning twice a year or more.
- Scaling and root planing: Plaque and tartar are scraped away from both above and below the gum line while under local anesthetic (scaling). Rough spots on the tooth root are then smoothed out (planing). Locally applied medications, such as antimicrobials and antibiotics, may be used.
After you receive your treatment, you will be given instructions on specific oral hygiene techniques to use regularly at home. In severe cases of periodontal disease, surgery may be required to remove deep pockets of harmful bacteria.
A vital part of our standard of care at Bowser Dentistry is taking time to get to know your oral health history, your lifestyle, and your smile concerns so our cosmetic dentist can, in partnership with you, design the smile of your dreams.
Request an appointment by calling 717.757.3474 or by using our online form.