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What is prevention?
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…” Our job as medical professionals is more than just curing ailments as they become apparent. At Windham Family Dentistry we focus our efforts on stopping diseases before they have the opportunity to cause long lasting harm and require potentially costly procedures.
Sealants are thin coatings adhered to the chewing surfaces of teeth. They are designed to prevent the intrusion of bacteria and other debris that can form cavities in the deep crevices that are a natural part of your tooth. Sealants are completely painless, help prevent tooth decay, and are considerably more cost effective than more invasive procedures like fillings.
Helping patients maintain healthy, strong teeth and sound oral health are the goals of dental hygiene. Regular dental hygiene visits, at a frequency recommended specifically for you by your dentist, is vital in maintaining your overall health and detecting any disease process in the earliest stages. Early detection of changes can not only save you considerable time and expense, but could even save your life. Dental hygiene and oral health are often taken for granted but are an essential part of our everyday lives.
Oral Cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses and throat, can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early. Early detection and treatment of cancer related lesions increases the survival rate of patients. At our office, we provide regular oral cancer screening for all our patients.
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The pits and grooves of your teeth are prime areas for opportunistic decay. Even regular brushing often misses some of these areas since it can be smaller than your toothbrush bristles yet wide enough to decay. Dental sealants actually were developed about 50 years ago, but didn’t become commonly used until the 1970s. Today, sealants are becoming widely popular and effective; young children are great candidates for preventative measures like sealants because in many cases, decay has not set in. Even on teeth where decay is present, sealants have been shown to fight additional damage. Sealants are applied by first cleaning the tooth surface. The procedure is followed by “etching” the tooth with an abrasive substance, which allows the sealant to better adhere. After the sealant is applied, a warm light source is directed to the site to promote faster drying. Sealants usually need re-application every five to 10 years.
Dental Hygiene visits are so much more than “just a cleaning.” During your visit, we will take any necessary x-rays to detect decay since 92% of adults ages 20 – 64 have had dental decay in their permanent teeth. The hygienist and dentist will also provide 6 separate screenings and examinations to ensure your health. We will check your teeth for any dental disease and your gums for any sign of gum disease. We will also screen your overall health, since your oral health plays a vital role in systemic health and vice versa. You will be screened for oral cancer as well as checked for the healthy function of your jaw joint (TMJ) and screened for obstructive sleep apnea, which can be life threatening. Once all that is complete, we will professionally remove any tarter and deposits from your teeth and polish them to remove stains. We also can provide preventative fluoride treatment and oral hygiene instructions to help you maintain your oral health at home. Dental hygiene visits are often the first line of defense in maintaining your health and detecting oral health issues as well as many systemic health concerns early.
Oral Cancer Screening
The prevalence of oral cancer has seen a 33% increase in the last 10 years and has a low 5-year survival rate, due primarily to being detected in more advanced stages. To combat this, our offices provide visual and palpation oral cancer screenings as part of our regular examination during a dental hygiene appointment. Additionally, we also make available to our patients, the most advanced technology to screen for oral cancer and detect abnormalities in the earliest stages, often when it is undetectable to the eye. We offer both the ViziLite PRO Oral Lesion Screening System and the Velscope Enhanced Oral Assessment System in our office protocol. These oral cancer screening devices feature light-based fluorescence, which helps to detect early tissue changes which could be pre-cancerous. Fluorescence designed visualization from this new device, provides information that is fundamentally different from what clinicians see when they look in the mouth. Screening with these technologies is easy and painless for our patients. We provide these services to enhance your patient experience and provide for your peace of mind.