Preventive Dentistry, Cleanings, and Exams
Professional Cleanings
Professional cleanings performed by a hygienist are just as important to your dental health as daily brushing and flossing. Using specialized tools and training, your hygienist will:

• Remove plaque build-up from the surfaces of teeth. (Bacteria in the mouth form plaque, which collects on teeth and causes decay, gum disease, and gingivitis.)
• Remove tartar from teeth surfaces. (Tartar, or calculus, is plaque that has become so hardened on the teeth that its removal requires special procedures. Tartar below the gum line is also an indicator of gum disease.)
• Remove surface stains from teeth through polishing.

Examinations
Regular examinations help detect and prevent health issues before they become serious. Consistent dental check-ups help catch problems when they are small and easier to treat. Left unattended, small treatable problems become worse and may require more extensive, expensive procedures to repair. Dental examinations generally include the following:

• Gum Disease screening
• Oral Cancer screening
• Visual tooth decay evaluation
• Visual gum disease examination
• Gum pocket measurement and tracking
• X-ray examination to detect: tooth decay, cysts, tumors, problems below the gums and other hidden issues

Regular examinations are very important for your health. Remember, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." –Benjamin Franklin

X-rays (Radiographs)
X-rays are a primary tool for early identification of dental problems. Detecting issues with X-rays before they become problems can save you money in the long run by preventing the need for more extensive, expensive procedures or surgeries. X-rays are primarily used to detect:

• Internal tooth decay
• Cysts (fluid filled sacks at the base of your teeth)
• Tumors, both cancerous and non-cancerous
• Impacted teeth
• Teeth that are still coming in

Dr. Ausink exclusively uses Digital X-rays because of these advantages over traditional X-rays

• They emit up to 90% less radiation
• They are ready for examination nearly instantly
• They can be viewed on a computer screen
• Their image can be refined and enlarged
• They are greener; no chemicals are needed for processing

Sealants
Sealants are generally used to help prevent tooth decay on the biting surfaces of back teeth (molars). The natural grooves of these teeth can trap food that can resist casual brushing and rinsing. If left in place, the trapped food allows bacteria to multiply, eventually causing tooth decay and requiring costly attention.

Sealants are painted directly onto the tooth where they seal the natural grooves to help prevent tooth decay. While sealants are durable, they are not permanent. They can last up to 5 years of normal wear before needing replacement.

Sealants offer a cost-effective, preventative step to reduce the chances of tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of molars. However, they do not replace the need for regular brushing and flossing.

Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)
Gum disease accounts for approximately 70% of all tooth loss in adults. Early signs of gum disease include bleeding gums when flossing or brushing and gums that are red, inflamed, or swollen.

Gum disease and tooth decay are caused by the same bacteria. These bacteria form plaque beneath the gum-line, which eats away at the bond between tooth and gum. If deterioration is allowed to continue, "pockets" form in between the teeth and the gums. Pockets deeper than 3ml may require special treatment to remove the bacteria and plaque. Without treatment and continuous maintenance, gum disease will eventually weaken the bonds that hold the teeth in place.

There is no permanent treatment for gum disease. However, it can be kept under control with proper personal hygiene and regular visits to a trained dentist or hygienist.

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Long-Term Effects of Clenching Your Teeth
Clenching your jaw, also known as bruxism, is something a lot of people do without realizing it. They try to focus or get stressed out, and the next thing they know their jaw or teeth hurt because they were holding it together tightly. If you do this for too long, it can leave you with a myriad of issues to deal with. Here are some of the more common things that happen when you clench your teeth often:

• When you clench your teeth together tightly, it can cause your teeth to wear down and even crack.
• Clenching your teeth can cause your jaw to hurt, and even lead to TMJ disorders.
&bull Headaches are a common side-effect of regularly clenching your jaw and teeth.
• Having trouble sleeping is common when you clench your teeth regularly.
• You can begin having earaches when you regularly clench your teeth together because the jaw is located in the same area as the tiny bones of the inner-ear.
• Your shoulders will often end up very stiff and sore when you clench often, because the muscles used can often leave you feeling tense.
• Receding gums, and even inflamed gums, can also happen when you regularly clench your teeth.

The longer and more often you clench your teeth, the worse the problems are going to be. If you want help to avoid clenching your teeth, contact our office today. We can help you protect your teeth from the effects of bruxism, such as fitting you for a mouth guard.


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Donald C. Ausink DDS | www.ausinkdental.com | 253-838-6200
2345 SW 320th Street, Federal Way, WA 98023



 

 

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