Preventive Dentistry

Take a proactive approach to maintaining a healthy smile.

Latimer Dental Arts offers many kinds of preventive dental services at our office. You can read about some of our most common preventive services below, and be sure to make an appointment with us soon – we’ll help you keep your teeth in tiptop shape.

Checkups

We recommend oral wellness visits twice a year for patients with good oral health. This suggestion complies with the American Dental Association’s national guidelines. Your oral wellness visit will consist of medical history updates, pulse and blood pressure checks, periodontal assessment, professional cleaning to remove tartar and plaque and discussion of any special concerns.  Depending on your gum health, Dr. Latimer and our hygienist therapist may recommend cleaning under the gum tissue to treat any active bacterial infection present.  Regular visits allow us to monitor for any current or potential conditions and avoid preventable problems.  Early diagnosis and monitoring is part of our philosophy because different treatment options are available during early stages of detection and painful emergencies are usually avoided.

How we can help:

Your oral wellness visit may also include the following services:

  • Dental x-rays
  • Digital photos
  • Tooth-by-tooth inspection
  • Head and neck exam
  • Occlusion/bite analysis
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Gum disease assessment
  • Dental cleaning
  • Treatment consultation
  • Prescription fluoride application

Children should begin attending bi-annual checkups by age 2 or 3. A child’s checkup is different from an adult’s in that X-rays or photos may not be taken, and the child will be assessed for any developmental issues. Children may not need a dental cleaning until age 3 or 4.  Typically we recommend young children see a specialist (or pedodontist,) but once your child gains permanent 2nd molars around the age of 10-12, they can begin seeing Dr. Latimer and our hygiene therapist.

Hygiene Therapy

Regular professional hygiene therapy will reduce your potential for tooth decay and gum disease. Plus, plaque produces a foul odor, so when it’s removed, your breath should be fresher. If your gums are red, tender, swollen, or if they bleed when you brush your teeth, you may have gum disease or an active bacterial infection.

How we can help: To keep teeth and gums healthy, you will need an oral wellness visit, or hygiene therapy, at least every six months. During this appointment, our hygiene therapist will assess your soft tissues, record the findings, and compare them with your last visit. Then the therapist will remove plaque, tartar, and food particles from your teeth.

Gum disease is the reason most people lose teeth, and it has been linked to overall systemic conditions, such as heart disease, respiratory problems, and mental dysfunction. Eighty percent of American adults suffer from some form of this condition. If you show signs of gum disease, our therapist will recommend a deep cleaning to remove plaque from below the gum line. Some patients benefit from special mouth rinses, antibiotic therapy, or habit changes to reduce gum disease. Regular maintenance visits are required to keep gums healthy and the infection under control.

Dental Appliances

A custom night guard protects your teeth and restorations from biting forces at night, as well as lessening any wear on your teeth from grinding.  The night guard (also called a bite guard) equalizes pressures placed on your teeth and prevents periodontal disease and gum recession.  The night guard is customized to your bite and fabricated after any restorative dental treatment is completed.

Every athlete should make a mouth guard standard gear. You wear protective gear during sporting events – pads, a helmet, the proper shoes, and gloves. It only makes sense to take the same precautions for your mouth. A custom mouth guard can protect your smile (teeth, mouth and jaw) against injury.

How we can help:  Dr. Latimer and our staff will fabricate a comfortable, custom-fitted appliance to address your specific needs.

Sealants and Fluoride

Dr. Latimer may recommend dental sealants, preventive resins and fluoride supplements during a checkup – especially for younger patients. These preventive measures can deter tooth decay.

How we can help: A dental sealant or preventive resin is a plastic coating that is painted on back teeth. It acts as a barrier against the sugars and starches that cause tooth decay. For kids, teens and adults, sealing hard-to-clean back teeth can greatly reduce the risk of cavities. Dental sealants and preventive resins wear off over time, so they may need to be replaced periodically.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that attracts other minerals to strengthen tooth enamel and deter cavity-causing bacteria. In some cases, fluoride can even remineralize your natural enamel. Adults and children benefit from professional fluoride rinses, prescription fluoride toothpaste and fluoride varnish.

Latimer Dental Arts wants to help you prevent problems with your teeth and maintain a healthy smile. For more information, please email us or request an appointment with Dr. Susan Latimer, and we will be in touch with you shortly.