Preventative Dental Care
As a Louisville, CO dentist, our staff at Louisville Dental Associates wants every patient to enjoy the very best oral health possible. In recent years, a growing amount of research has found compelling links between an individual’s oral health and his or her overall health. Studies have found that individuals suffering from poor oral health – which includes conditions like tooth decay and gum disease – have a significantly higher risk of developing serious long-term illnesses that include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even some forms of cancer. While researchers continue to further explore these connections, the state of your oral health matters more now than ever.
To enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, patients need to practice quality at-home oral care that includes:
- Brushing at least twice a day. The American Dental Association recommends that patients brush for at least two minutes once in the morning and again at night. While brushing after every meal is preferred, thoroughly brushing at least twice a day is vital to protecting your oral health.
- Floss daily. While many oral health experts consider flossing as even more important than brushing when it comes to protecting a patient’s oral health, studies have found that only 40 percent of Americans floss daily. Flossing helps remove bacteria and lingering food particles from areas of your mouth a toothbrush just cannot reach and ranks as a vital part of any oral hygiene routine.
- Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash. Our Louisville, CO dentist at Louisville Dental Associates recommends rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash after brushing to help remove any remaining bacteria from your mouth.
While practicing these daily oral hygiene habits will help to dramatically improve your oral and overall health, enjoying a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums also means scheduling regular dental exams and x-rays with your Louisville, CO dentist.
Dental Exams and Digital X-Rays
Regular checkups and x-rays rank as a fundamental part of maintaining and protecting your oral health. Dental exams provide our Louisville dentists the opportunity to identify the signs of tooth decay and gum disease early on before either condition can cause serious damage to your long-term oral health. Early detection provides our dentists with the opportunity to treat these types of oral health conditions more effectively, so any damage to your oral health can be repaired and future problems prevented.
While our team of Louisville dentists recommends that patients visit our office every six months, patients suffering from certain types of oral health conditions may need to receive additional treatment. Patients suffering from gum disease or from an existing medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease may need to receive more frequent exams and cleanings. Expectant mothers may also require additional dental care due to their constantly shifting hormones to avoid pregnancy-related oral health problems.
Drs. Skinner and Chudleigh may decide that fluoride should be part of your overall treatment. Fluoride treatments re-mineralize teeth, stop developing cavities and make your teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque, bacteria, and sugars in the mouth. Studies have found that the use of topical fluoride – found in mouthwashes, toothpastes, and fluoride treatments – can help prevent the damage caused by tooth decay and make your teeth stronger and more resilient in the future.
Our Louisville dentists may recommend fluoride treatments to patients who:
- Take prescription medications that cause dry mouth or have a medical condition that causes dry mouth. Your mouth needs a steady flow of saliva to wash away harmful bacteria and food particles that linger after eating. Without saliva, you have a higher risk of suffering from tooth decay and gum disease.
- Have receding gums. The fragile roots of your teeth become exposed to harmful oral bacteria when your gum line pulls away from the base of your teeth.
- Wear braces. Orthodontic appliances can trap food and bacteria in the mouth if not cleaned properly. This buildup of harmful material increases your risk of tooth decay and cavities.
- Receive radiation therapy. Radiation therapies such as chemo can damage salivary glands, leading to the development of dry mouth.
Grooves in our teeth can sometimes collect food particles and plaque that cannot be reached by regular brushing and flossing. To prevent decay, tooth sealants can be applied, effectively “sealing” the deep grooves and protecting tooth enamel from plaque.
Dr. Chuck Skinner and Dr. Brian Chudleigh can provide this simple procedure in one visit, applying a simple tooth-colored acrylic coating onto the surface of teeth in need of the procedure. Tooth sealants are safe for children and adults, requiring only a few minutes for application. Sealants also wear well and remain on the applied teeth for several years before a reapplication is needed.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can result in a wide range of dental problems over time. Sensitive teeth, jaw pain, headaches, and ear or neck aches are all indicators of teeth grinding, which can have serious, long-term effects, including broken, chipped, or cracked teeth.
If you suspect that you grind your teeth during sleep, Dr. Chuck Skinner and Dr. Brian Chudleigh can help you discover whether or not a medical condition may be contributing to this habit.
Once diagnosed with bruxism, your Louisville, CO dentist at Louisville Dental Associates can provide a custom-fitted nightguard for your use from a simple impression of your top and bottom teeth. Dr. Chuck Skinner and Dr. Brian Chudleigh will take special care to ensure that your nightguard is adjusted to your personal needs, fitting perfectly for maximum protection.
Gum Disease Treatment
Gum disease – also known as periodontal disease – is caused by bacteria that form plaque, the yellowish film that sticks to your teeth along your gum line and causes tooth decay. Periodontal disease progressively destroys the gum tissue and jaw bone that support your natural teeth.
Bacteria found in plaque irritate your gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. Prolonged irritation causes the gums to separate from the teeth, leading to the formation of pockets (also known as “spaces”). As periodontal disease progresses, gum tissue and bone that hold teeth in place deteriorate, which leads to tooth loss if left untreated.
Plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar) if not consistently removed each day. Periodontal disease is best prevented by thorough daily brushing and flossing of your teeth, along with regular routine visits to see one of our hygienists at Louisville Dental Associates.