Family & Cosmetic Care in a Comfortable, Relaxed Environment.

Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

Why do most dentists want you to come in for a cleaning at least every 6 months?? While it might not seem like it is necessary, these regular and routine dental visits are

Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS

Regular Dental Visits Are The Key To Good Dental Health

essential  for monitoring and maintaining healthy teeth and gums.Earlier changes can be detected, and they can be addressed. Recent research has also shown how important it is to maintain a healthy mouth for our general health as well. There are many disease states related to poor dental health. These systemic diseases include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even, alzheimer’s disease.

The Six Month Dental Visit

What goes on in the dental office is only a small portion of oral health maintenance. Most of the work is done at home through maintaining a good oral hygiene regimen to keep our teeth and gums as clean and healthy as possible. A six month dental visit will include a professional cleaning as well as a thorough dental examination. There are many facets to this appointment. Most people would be surprised at how many different items the dentist and hygienist are actually checking.

What Does The Dental Examination Include?

Your teeth are just one part of a routine, thorough dental examination. Your dentist will evaluate the health of your teeth, your gums, TMJ, and entire inner tissues of the mouth and upper throat. They will also examine your mouth, tongue, lips, and skin for any signs of  disease, like oral cancer or diabetes.

The Head And Neck Examination

Your dentist will start off by looking for symmetry, irregularities, swellings, etc. by:

-Examining your face

-Examining your neck

-Checking your lymph nodes. They are specifically looking for any abnormal swellings or changes to one side and not the other. Also noting the presence of any tenderness.

-Checking your Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ) for any clicking, popping, or irregularities. As we age, the TMJ, like any joint can begin to deteriorate and give us issues. A good dentist will be able to note the presence of TMJ disorder even without symptoms developing.

 The Teeth And Gums Examination

Next, your dentist examine the state of your teeth and gums by:

-Taking x-rays ( radiographs) as needed. Radiographs are generally taken once per year. These radiographs allow the dentist to see some areas that are not visible to the naked eye and are not felt by an instrument. This allows for early detection of tooth decay, as well as determination of infection, or bone loss. Unfortunately, fillings and crowns, depending upon location of breakdown,  still hide many areas of decay or fracturing., Such areas are generally found later due to discomfort, discoloration, or other changes.

-Examining the gum tissue for the presence of periodontal disease, infection, systemic disease. The symptoms can include bleeding, inflammation, recession, redness and irritation, swelling, sloughing tissue, and bone loss around the teeth.

-Checking if any teeth are becoming loose or show any sense of movement.

-Looking at the tissues inside of your mouth. This will include all sides of the tongue, the tonsils, the hard and soft palate, and inside your cheeks and lips. The dentist will look for tissue abnormalities that could be suspected to be oral cancer. Many dentists use the VELscope to detect oral cancer as early as possible. The VELscope is a special light that allows the dentist to see changes in tissue that occur when oral changes, such as cancer, are present.

-Checking the way your teeth fit together, how well you bite, if you clench or grind, signs of sleep apnea.

-Looking for the presence of tooth decay. This is achieved through the use of radiographs and by checking each tooth individually to see if there is any decay visibly, tactilely, or radiographically, present or beginning to form.

-Checking for broken teeth, fracture lines, chipping, wear.

-Checking for older dental restorations that need to be replaced. Generally when an older dental restoration begins to fail there is staining present around the margins where food and bacteria are leaking inside the restoration. Also, the dentist will examine any dental crowns present to check for decay and to see that the fit is still acceptable.

-Evaluating any previous dental appliances you might have. This can include retainers, nightguards, sport guards, dentures or snore/apnea appliances. The dentist will ensure they are still fitting properly and that they are in good condition.

The Dental Cleaning

The dental cleaning is generally completed by the hygienist but some dentists do clean teeth as well. This part includes the following:

Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS

6 Month Dental Visits For The Whole Family

-Checking the state of your teeth and gums.

-The use of an ultrasonic device to remove the pellicle, plaque, and tartar. The pellicle is a protein layer, much like a cuticle, that allows plaque and bacteria to more easily wick up and under the gum. The hygienist uses both an ultrasonic cleaning tool (called a cavitron) as well as using hand instruments. These tools allow the hygienist to remove substantial plaque and bacteria, and all of the pellicle, from above and below the gumline.

-Polishing your teeth with prophylaxis paste. This paste is slightly abrasive to remove any extrinsic stains that might be present. Polishing also helps to smooth surface roughness so that plaque will not stick as easily.

-Fluoride treatment. This is not just for kids! There are many types of fluoride with many different applications. Some of us are more susceptible to cavities, some of us have white spots, sensitive spots, or stubborn periodontal pockets. Different types of fluorides can help with all of these.

-Reviewing oral hygiene instructions for you to practice at home away, and from the office. This includes recommended brushing and flossing techniques as well as what products might work best for you.

Conclusion

Upon completion of the examination and cleaning, your dentist will be able to advise you of any further treatment needed. If nothing abnormal is found, you will set up your next appointment in 3- 6 month,s knowing you have been doing a great job at home with your dental care. If something is found, you should have it taken care of as soon as possible. You should try not to put off  dental work, as it will get worse over time. Remember, by seeing your dentist every 6 months and following daily oral hygiene practices at home, you have a better chance of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Being healthy will  save you time, discomfort, and money in the long run. Prevention is always the goal!

A dental abscess is an infection of the mouth, face, throat, or jaw that begins as a tooth infection or cavity. Generally these infections are caused by poor dental health and can be the result of lack of proper and timely dental care. A Dental abscess may also occur in people with medical conditions such as autoimmune disorders (Sjögren’s syndrome and similar conditions)  or conditions that weaken the immune system (diabetes, following radiation or chemo from cancer). A dental abscess can also be triggered by minor trauma in the oral cavity…such as a fractured tooth. Openings in the tooth enamel allow bacteria to infect the nerve tissue (the pulp) in the center of the tooth. Infection may spread out from the root of the tooth and out to the surrounding bones supporting the tooth.

A dental abscess occurs when there is an infection to a small area of tissue and the body is able to seal off the infection and keep it from spreading further. White blood cells (the body’s defense mechanism against certain infections) travel through the walls of the blood vessels in the area of the infection and collect within the damaged tissue. When this happens pus forms (A generally viscous, yellowish-white fluid  formed in infected tissue, consisting of white blood cells, cellular debris, and necrotic tissue). This pus pocket is the dental abscess, which is represented by inflammation, redness, and pain.

Dental Abscess

X-ray showing Dental Abscess

The inflamed area can burst, allowing the pus to drain out, but it will come back if the cause of infection is not removed. The bacteria and host cells cause quick destruction of connective tissues around the tooth and into the jawbones as the dental abscess develops. The pain is constant and may be described as gnawing, sharp, shooting, or throbbing. Putting pressure or something warm on the tooth may induce extreme pain. There may be a swelling present at either the base of the tooth, the gum, and/or the cheek, which can be alleviated by applying an ice pack. A Dental abscess can be acute or chronic. Acute abscess are the most painful. A chronic dental abscess may produce a dull pain with intermittent swelling, but can develop into an acute abscess at any point. Sometimes the infection can progress to the point where swelling threatens to block the airway, causing difficulty breathing. A dental abscess can also make you feel ill, with nausea, vomiting, fevers, chills, and sweats.

In some patients, a dental abscess may penetrate the bone and start draining into the surrounding tissues creating a localized facial swelling. it is also possible for the lymph glands in the neck will become swollen and tender in response to the infection. It may even feel like a headache as the pain can shift from the infected location. Generally, the pain does not travel across the face, only up or down as the nerves that serve each side of the face are separate.

A dentist can determine by a thorough examination, if you have a drainable dental abscess. X-rays of the teeth are usually necessary to show smaller abscesses that may be at the deepest part of the tooth. The objective of any treatment is to remove the infection, save the tooth (if possible), and prevent further complications.

The most frequently seen types of a dental abscess are:

1) Periapical abscess. These are located at the apex of an infected tooth surrounding the roots. This type of dental abscess can occur on any tooth that has severe decay or is broken or chipped.

Dental Abscess

Dental Abscess

2) Periodontal abscess. These are located in the periodontal ligament (PDL) surrounding the tooth. This type of dentalabscess will commonly involve the mandibular and maxillary first molars, maxillary incisors, and cuspids, followed by maxillary second molars.

Treatment of a dental abscess can include:

-A Regimen of antibiotics may be given to fight the infection. Along with drainage of the infected area (if it has not already begun to drain).

-Endodontic or Root Canal Therapy (RCT) can be performed if the dentist feels the tooth can be saved. Even after the root canal therapy is completed, the dentist may want to see the patient periodically to ensure the area is healing properly.

-Teeth that cannot be restored must be extracted, followed by curettage of all apical soft tissue to remove necrotic infected tissue..

An untreated dental abscess can be life threatening and should not be taken lightly. Timely treatment usually allows the dentist to be able to cure the infection. The tooth can usually be saved in many cases but not all. Prompt treatment of dental cavities reduces the risk of a dental abscess. Teeth that have been subject to trauma should be examined immediately by the dentist.