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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Waking Up with a Sore Jaw Could Spell Bruxism
Has your dentist ever mentioned the term bruxism to you? They may have said it in passing or as something to watch out for, but if you regularly wake up with a sore jaw, you may be suffering from it without even knowing. Bruxism is when you clench your jaw, grind your teeth, or sometimes both. This is often done when you are asleep, but it can also happen during the day without you even noticing it at first.

Common Treatments for Bruxism

There are two common treatments when we see evidence of bruxism in your mouth. First, we can fit you for a mouth guard that you wear when you are clenching and grinding, either awake or when asleep. It protects your teeth from the excess pressure and keeps them safer from the damage that can come from these activities.

Second, we can work with you to figure out ways you can decrease your stress. Stress is the most common cause of clenching and grinding, even if you are doing it subconsciously. If you can reduce your stress, you can often stop this from happening. You may be asked to consider a new hobby, a change of job, or talking with someone about the stress in your life.

Both of these treatments can help decrease the damage bruxism can cause. If you want to find out more about bruxism, speak with us the next time you are in the office for an examination. We can look for evidence of it in your mouth, and talk to you about specific treatments that can help you.


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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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