Preventative Dental Care
Routine dental office visits keep your smile healthy.
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.
Removal of Plaque – Naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth produce plaque. This filmy substance coats the surfaces of your teeth. If not removed, it can lead to periodontal disease, which is the leading cause of premature tooth loss. Regular cleanings at home and at the dentist can keep plaque from permanently damaging your teeth.
Tartar Removal – Also known as calculus, tartar is hardened plaque that is firmly attached to the tooth. This substance is above and below the gum line and can only be removed during a trip to the dentist.
Teeth Polishing – While a dental cleaning removes plaque and tartar from your teeth, polishing makes the surfaces of your teeth smooth. This technique removes the stains from substances like coffee, tea, and wine that build up over time.
Fluoride Treatment – Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making your teeth less susceptible to the acid that is produced by the bacteria in the mouth.
Home Dental Care Guidance – Good dental health needs to take place at home as well as at Dr. Walker’s office. Murray Scholls Family Dental’s staff will guide you through each step regarding how best to take care of your teeth and gums based on your special needs. Basic tips include how to effectively and efficiently brush and floss your teeth using complimentary supplies sent home with you after your appointment.
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 importantly, we will review with you and your child how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.
Beaverton dentist Dr. Walker and his staff are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store.
Here are some “First Visit” tips:
- Take your child for a “preview” of the office.
- Read books with him or her about going to the dentist.
- Talk about what the dentist will be doing at the time of the first visit.
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences.
What About Preventative Care?
At our office, we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We stress the importance of home care and teach adults and children how to properly care for their teeth between visits. Murray Scholls Family Dental uses the latest in dental sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Dental sealants are bonded into the pits and fissures of the posterior teeth where bacteria is often not removed, even with good home care. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.
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 digest the sugars. 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 to 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 and Therapy
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 re-evaluated 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 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 apnea 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 a 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 several chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s. 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.