Oral Health From the Beginning
It's our goal at Integrity Family Dental to share with our patients the best oral health practices based on the unique needs of each individual, in order for each patient to own their own oral health. Yes, that means brushing and flossing, but there's so much more for a healthy smile, depending on your needs.
With regular professional cleanings and routine exams at Integrity Family Dental, as well as a conscientious, at-home oral hygiene system, you'll be set for a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles.
During your routine dental exam, you may wonder, "What exactly is the dentist doing in my mouth." Quite a number of things, actually! Whether it be your initial comprehensive exam or your regular check-ups, Dr. Emmons exams all of the surfaces of your teeth for possible decay. She also checks all existing fillings and crowns, etc., to make sure they are still intact, still protecting the tooth and that there's no recurring decay around or under them.
Then there's the gums. Either Dr. Emmons or Michelle will exam the gums and the bone around the teeth for possible gum disease. While examining in and around the mouth, they will look for signs of cancers by checking the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, gums and oral tissue.
Finally, there are the x-rays, and, yes, x-rays really are necessary for diagnostic purposes. X-rays not only detect tooth decay, but also tumors, bone loss and cysts and help determine tooth and root position.
Too often, patients perceive dental professionals as just “tooth scrapers and drillers,” but we’re so much more than that! The mouth is the gateway to the body, and a multitude of scientific studies prove the link between oral bacteria and systemic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease/stroke, Alzheimer’s, obesity, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and even complications with pregnancy. An unhealthy oral environment poses a significant health risk to the rest of the body.
As your friendly Heath dental family, we come alongside you in your own preventive, oral hygiene program to help you save your teeth and gums as long as possible, and to help you live a long and healthy life. If you’re a current patient at Integrity Family Dental, you have probably heard Dr. Emmons say, “There’s nothing like what God gave you.” We prefer to focus on preventive oral care rather than see our patients go through the struggle and expense of caring for tooth decay and gum disease.
Diet and lifestyle also play a key role in your oral health; therefore, we sometimes play detective roles in helping you discover what could be contributing to oral disease.
Taking care of your health takes team work, and we love getting to help our patients however the Lord allows. The American Dental Association recommends preventive cleanings to remove calculus and plaque every 6 months and sometimes as often as 3. Plaque, a sticky substance that forms on your teeth, is full of living bacteria, and if not removed thoroughly, will inflame the gums and lead to gum disease. We also provide sealants when needed and fluoride treatments.
Gum disease is like a game of golf; the lower your score, the better! Have you ever heard your hygienist call out numbers while probing your gums? Two-one-one; three-two-four; etc. What do all those numbers mean? Those numbers correspond to the depth in millimeters of the periodontal pockets around your teeth. A 5 is a deeper pocket than a 2. The deeper the pocket, the more serious your gum disease. Probing those pockets thoroughly once a year allows us to monitor the health condition of your gums and to prescribe any needed treatment such as a deep cleaning, called scaling and root planing, the placement of a special antibiotic in those pockets, or the use of an antimicrobial rinse. Typically a 1 to a 3 means your gums are healthy; anything over 3, however, may be cause for concern. Our professional dental hygienist is highly skilled at detecting periodontal issues and restoring your gums to full health.
Oral Cancer Screening
Many people think that oral cancer is quite rare, a miniscule slice of the cancer pie, yet according to statistics reported by Cancer.net, oral cancer is the 8th most common cancer among men. According to the ADA "...over 51,500 people are diagnosed with cancers of the mouth, throat, tonsils and tongue each year." The importance of early detection cannot be overstated, since the 5-year survival rate increases from 65% to 84% when the cancer is detected in an "early stage." (See https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/oral-and-oropharyngeal-cancer/statistics). It's estimated that nearly 53,000 people will get oral cancer this year (2019). We don't want our patients to be in that number, but if they are, we want to know it early because we care about the overall health of our patients.
Mouthguards & Snoreguards
At Integrity Family Dental we have options to help you get better sleep and protect your teeth from clenching and grinding. We custom fit one of two types of mouth guards for our patients, depending on the patient's needs. If you find yourself hurting from TMJ pain, tooth pain, or your teeth are starting to chip or wear, you may be in need of a mouth guard. Or perhaps your student is in need of a professional mouth guard for sports, or maybe you need relief from your snoring. We can help! Make an appointment today to discuss your options with Dr. Emmons.