Your regular routine cleaning and a comprehensive dental exam are the foundation of dental hygiene at Healthy Smiles Dental in Lancaster, PA
Cleanings and Dental Hygiene
Healthy gums are a very important part of maintaining good overall health. Recent studies have shown that poor oral health care (periodontal disease) is linked to numerous systemic diseases including heart disease, diabetes and several types of cancer. The cause of these systemic health concerns is due to oral bacteria entering the blood stream through periodontal pockets in your gums. By maintaining healthy gums, you can decrease the risk for many systemic diseases, and keep your teeth longer too!
Following a comprehensive periodontal examination by Dr. Kingston and your hygienist, an individualized plan will be presented for cleaning your teeth. Additionally, each patient will be placed on a personalized re-care plan. Many patients need to be seen for cleanings twice a year. But for some, up to four times a year may be necessary.
Most patients will have a routine prophylaxis or cleaning performed by the hygienist. However, some individuals will require a more extensive or deep cleaning. This procedure is called scaling and root planing, and it may involve one, two or more visits. After someone completes scaling and root planing, short term re-care visits may be recommended until the gum health is improved.
Digital Radiography (X-Ray)
Routine X-rays are crucial in the diagnosis of tooth decay between the teeth, and allows Dr. Kingston to treat the decay in its' earliest stages. This means more conservatively sized restorations, easier visits, and less tooth pain and sensitivity.
Because we are concerned about your health, Healthy Smiles Dental has integrated the most state-of-the-art technology into dental imaging. Using digital technology, we are able to reduce the exposure to X-ray by up to 80% of traditional dental film. Digital images are also instantaneous. This means that you, the patient don't have to wait for images to develop. This saves your time.
For your comfort, a rounded sensor is used to capture intraoral images rather than the dental film that often feels sharp. In some cases a panoramic image is recommended. This type of imaging does not require any intraoral sensor.
These digital images are used to evaluate the teeth and bone structure. Because of the ability of enlarge the images, change the contrasts, and magnify pinpoint areas of the picture Dr. Kingston can make the most accurate diagnosis possible.
Dr. Kingston recommends four bitewing X-rays annually to check for tooth decay between the teeth. Bitewing X-rays capture a partial image of both the top and bottom teeth in the same picture. While they do not show the entire root of the tooth, they are an efficient way to see most of the back teeth in four simple pictures, and are the best image for decay detection.
Full Mouth Series of X-Rays
A full mouth series (FMX) of digital X-rays is the most comprehensive and detailed way to see all the teeth and supporting jaw bone. Depending on your teeth and gum health, Dr. Kingston recommends a full series of digital X-rays every three (3) to five (5) years.
A Panorex is a single digital image that shows all the teeth, the jaw, temporal mandibular joint (TMJ), sinuses, and more. This image does not require an intraoral sensor, and has a radiation equivalent to only three bitewing images. Dr. Kingston recommends a Panorex for:
- Children (at or around age 7) to evaluate the presence of all future adult teeth, and check on the timing and sequence of tooth eruption.
- Young adults (ages 16-22) to check for the presence of third molars (wisdom teeth) and the position/angle of eruption of the third molars.
- Adults with multiple missing teeth or no teeth. It is of great importance for people who do not have any teeth to still be evaluated on a routine basis. A Panorex allows Dr. Kingston to check the health of the remaining jaw bone, look for cyst formation, properly check for oral cancer in the jaw bone, and evaluate the health of the TMJ.
You may be surprised that when Dr. Matthew Kingston completes an initial comprehensive examination of his patients, he does not just look at your teeth! Dr. Kingston will perform both an extra-oral and intra-oral examination for you.
The extra-oral examination includes an evaluation of the temporal-mandibular joint (TMJ), palpation of the lymph nodes in your cheeks and neck, as well as an evaluation of your dental profile, lip position and chin position.
The intra-oral exam includes a visual look at all of the tissues of the mouth, including the cheeks, lips, palate and throat, floor of the mouth, gums and tongue. He also completes a comprehensive oral cancer screening. Once this is complete, Dr. Kingston will evaluate the teeth. Existing dental work is charted and evaluated for health. Each tooth is checked for decay, and older restorations are evaluated for strength, durability, and leakage.
Following a comprehensive examination, Dr. Kingston will advise you of any concerns and recommend treatment if necessary. Often, there are multiple options for treatment. Each of these options will be reviewed with you, and together a treatment plan will be made.
Oral Cancer Screening
Each patient at Healthy Smiles Dental will receive a complimentary visual oral cancer evaluation. This exam will be completed at your initial visit, but will also be repeated at each of your routine re-care visits/check-ups.
If any suspicious areas are found, Dr. Kingston is trained to complete a painless brush biopsy. This can be done in just a few minutes at the same time as your re-care visit.
If you have any concerns, Dr. Kingston will recommend augmenting his visual exam with VELscope Vx imaging. This safe, non-invasive technology offers earlier detection of a host of tissue abnormalities, including oral cancer.
In addition to a clinical examination to check for tooth decay, Dr. Kingston or your hygienist may elect to use DIAGNOdent to assist in diagnosis. DIAGNOdent is a completely safe, state-of-the-art laser instrument that scans the grooves of your teeth in search of hidden decay.
Topical Fluoride as well as Fluoride in drinking water has made a huge impact in the strength of the enamel of our teeth. Unfortunately, the inner part of the tooth beneath the enamel does not become as resistant to decay from the Fluoride. The clinical impact of this is that small pits or grooves in the teeth may act as an avenue for bacteria to enter the inner part of the tooth. So what we see is that while the enamel of the tooth is strong, hidden decay can go undetected until it is of significant size.
Routine X-rays and a clinical exam may not detect sub-surface cavities until they are much larger. DIAGNOdent is able to assist in finding this decay at the earliest onset and allow us to do more conservative treatment.
Sealants for Children and Adults
The grooves of our teeth are often deeper and narrower than our toothbrush can reach. As a result, bacteria or plaque can be left behind after we clean our teeth. This chronic exposure of our teeth to bacteria and plaque can unfortunately lead to tooth decay in the grooves or below the enamel in the dentin of the tooth. Once decay is present, a filling will need to be done to "clean out" the cavity and restore the tooth to proper shape and function.
A sealant is a preventive resin material that your hygienist flows deep into the grooves and pits of the tooth to "seal off" those unreachable and susceptible areas of the tooth - thus making the tooth more cleansable and helping prevent tooth decay.
Sealants are a great way to prevent tooth decay for both children and adults. Many people think sealants are just for kids, but Dr. Kingston believes that adults can gain a great benefit from them as well. Ask Dr. Kingston about sealants for your children AND for you!