Preventative Dental Care
Oral Examination and Professional Teeth Cleaning
At your first appointment, Dr. Walker will perform a comprehensive dental exam that includes a visual and radiographic examination, charting of your teeth, periodontal probing, oral cancer screening and diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
Regular dental cleanings are the best investment in your smile. At your initial appointment and regular check-ups, a trusted dental hygienist will gently and thoroughly clean your teeth.
Cleanings help prevent cavities, tooth decay, gum disease and other conditions that affect your oral and systemic health. A regular cleaning includes the removal of plaque, calculus and stains from teeth using ultrasonic and hand instruments. A fluoride treatment may also be applied to help further prevent tooth decay.
Our exceptional care, knowledgeable staff and comfortable surroundings are a few reasons why patients love us. Our hygienists perform thorough dental cleanings as well as teach you how to keep your smile healthy.
Dental Care for Children
Your child’s first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child’s first birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask you to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the examination.
During the appointment, we will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken to reveal decay and check on the progress of your child’s permanent teeth under the gums. After cleaning your child’s teeth, we may apply topical fluoride to help protect them against decay and ensure that your child is receiving adequate fluoride at home.
Most important of all, we will review with you and your child how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.
Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Tips for Cavity Prevention:
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
- Drink water or milk instead of drinks high in sugar.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
Dr. Walker may decide that fluoride should be part of your overall treatment. Fluoride treatments re-mineralize teeth, stop developing cavities and make your teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque, bacteria, and sugars in the mouth.
Food particles and plaque collect in the grooves of your teeth that often cannot be reached by regular brushing and flossing. In these cases, sealants can be applied to these surfaces of your teeth which effectively protect teeth from decay through “sealing” these areas.
Dr. Walker can provide this simple procedure in one visit, in which a tooth-colored “coating” is applied onto the surface of the tooth. Generally, sealants take only a few minutes to apply, wear well under ordinary circumstances, and can last several years before a reapplication is needed.
Periodontal Disease & Scaling and Root Planing
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease or periodontitis, occurs when the bone and gums around teeth become infected. Gums can become irritated as a result of the bacteria found in plaque, at times turning red, swelling and bleeding easily. If the condition remains untreated, the supporting bone of the teeth gradually deteriorates, resulting in a deeper periodontal pocket that is increasingly difficult to clean. The long term result of periodontal disease is often premature tooth loss.
Scaling and root planing is a common initial treatment for periodontal disease. This allows for the removal of bacteria below the gum tissue that is responsible for causing periodontal disease. Once this “deeper cleaning” is complete the health of the tissues will be reevaluated in several weeks to determine the most appropriate recall frequency.
A variety of dental problems are the result of teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. Symptoms can include sensitive teeth, jaw pain, headaches and ear or neck pain. Teeth grinding can have serious, long-term effects, such as broken, chipped or cracked teeth, as well as joint damage.
Once teeth grinding has been diagnosed, Dr. Walker can provide a custom fitted night guard for your teeth from a simple impression of your top and bottom teeth. Dr. Walker will take special care to ensure that your night guard is adjusted to your unique needs and fits perfectly for maximum protection. This helps to prevent unnecessary damage to the teeth as well as minimize stress and problems with the joint.
Sleep Apnea Appliances
Sleep apena appliance therapy is one of the most effective treatment options for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Patients who don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy may prefer an sleep apnea appliance instead.
Sleep apnea appliance therapy uses a small plastic device that fits in the mouth like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer. The appliance helps prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat, keeping the airway open during sleep and promoting adequate air intake. Sleep apnea appliances may be used alone or in combination with other treatments for sleep-related breathing disorders, such as weight management, surgery or CPAP.
If you snore, have trouble sleeping or frequently wake up feeling exhausted regardless of how much sleep you get at night, you may suffer from sleep apnea. Recent studies have found that individuals with sleep apnea have a higher risk for a number of chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s Disease. Don’t wait to address your sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with Dr. Walker to see if you’re a candidate for sleep apnea appliance therapy.