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Preventative dentistry is all the things you and your dentist do to keep your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy. It’s the biggest investment you can put into your teeth—and significant investment into your total health! In Rochester Hills, we take preventative dentistry very seriously. It can save you the headache and pain of avoidable dental problems and the money it takes to fix them. Gum disease treatment alone can cost anywhere from $500 to $10,000, depending on the severity and what it’ll take to restore your mouth, gums, and teeth after we clear the disease. And in most cases, gum disease is entirely preventable!

The goal of preventative dentistry is to keep your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy so you don’t have to experience the negative consequences of an unhealthy mouth. Your Rochester Hills dentist performs dental exams, dental cleanings, tooth-colored fillings, tooth extractions, and mouthguards to achieve this goal. Your job is to keep a good oral hygiene routine at home.

Dental Cleanings

Most people are familiar with dental cleanings. You’ve likely gotten them since you were young but might not understand the benefits and necessity.

Even if you brush and floss your teeth twice a day, some spots are likely going unbrushed and unflossed just because they’re hard to get to. Or it’s a tight spot that is easy for plaque to build up. Plaque is a sticky film that builds up on your teeth. When it hardens, it’s called tartar. Tartar is as hard as a rock, and it won’t come off with regular brushing. If tartar continues to build, the bacteria will infect your gums (gum disease) and cause tooth decay. We remove any tartar buildup at your cleanings, so it doesn’t progress and cause an infection.

Besides being a breeding ground for bacteria, tartar is unsightly. It causes your teeth to become discolored.

After removing the tartar from your teeth, we’ll polish them. Polished teeth are smooth and shiny. They’ll look great, feel great, and bacteria will have a harder time sticking to your teeth because they’re polished.

Dental Exams

We perform dental exams with every cleaning. You may not know it’s occurring, but your dentist is looking for signs of gum disease, tooth decay, chips, cracks, wear, and oral cancer after your teeth are clean. This is a vital part of preventative dentistry in Rochester Hills. Catching problems early will save you time, money, and pain from severe dental problems. Dental exams are important for those who have restorations too. Even if you’ve replaced all your teeth with dentures or dental implants, we still need to perform a dental exam to ensure that your gums are healthy. Even restorations can have bacteria buildup that turns into gum disease—including porcelain veneers!

If you have any restorations in your mouth, your Rochester Hills dentist will check them to ensure they’re still intact and functioning the way they should.

Usually, you’ll get a cleaning and exam twice a year. However, there are situations where you may need to visit your dentist more often. If you fall into any of these categories, we may recommend that you come in more than twice per year.

  • Have a personal history of gum disease
  • Family history of tooth loss
  • You’ve recently gotten dentures
  • You’ve recently gotten dental implants

Some conditions make gum disease and tooth decay more likely, and we may recommend supplemental cleaning and exams in these cases, too.

  • You smoke cigarettes or use chewing tobacco
  • Have diabetes and a history of gum disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Chronic dry mouth
  • Cancer

Tooth-Colored Fillings

We consider fillings preventative dentistry, too, because even though you have a small amount of tooth decay (a cavity), we can still save most of your tooth and prevent further damage and decay. If we see cavities during cleanings and exams, we’ll let you know and recommend you get a tooth-colored filling. If you let the cavity fester, it’ll grow, and you’ll eventually lose your entire tooth.

There are many different fillings you can get to repair a cavity. A popular filling of the past was metal amalgam filling. This is a mercury filling, and you may have one if you have an old filling. Today, we recommend tooth-colored fillings. These are fillings made of a composite material that looks and feels just like the color and luster of your natural tooth. Unlike metal fillings, they don’t require any additional drilling to allow them room, and they won’t expand and contract over time. Your tooth-colored fillings can fit into the tiny space left behind by your cavity and won’t fluctuate due to temperature changes. With the benefits of being mercury-free, inexpensive, and reliable, tooth-colored fillings are the top choice in Rochester Hills, MI.

Tooth Extractions

We also consider tooth extractions preventative dentistry, but we try to avoid them. We want you to keep your natural teeth! We may need to remove a tooth if it’s damaged beyond repair, is a detriment to your oral and overall health, or looks unsightly.

Having a tooth extracted isn’t painful. At Signature Dentistry of Rochester, we do everything we can to ensure your comfort as we remove your tooth. We can remove the tooth using local anesthetic and sedation dentistry in many cases. You’ll feel calm and won’t feel any pain. Depending on the tooth, we’ll use a tool called an ‘elevator’ to remove the tooth in parts or as one gently. Otherwise, we may do a surgical extraction where we move your gum out of the way before removing the tooth.

Mouthguards

We provide custom mouthguards for teeth that we can tell are becoming damaged due to grinding. Or, if you play a contact sport, we can make you a mouthguard that will fit your teeth and mouth. With a custom-made mouthguard, you don’t have to worry about any involuntary grinding at night or that your beautiful straight teeth will move due to a poorly fitted one.

At-Home Oral Hygiene

Keeping your teeth, gums, and mouth clean at home is essential to prevent costly and painful dental consequences. Brush your teeth twice per day, floss, and use mouth wash. If you keep up with these habits, you’re less likely to have gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.

Preventative Dentistry in Rochester Hills

Is it time for your cleaning and exam? Make an appointment with Dr. Matthew Wolfe at Signature Dentistry of Rochester by calling (248) 651-0897 or make an appointment online.