It happens to everyone, right? We get older, our hair — at least what remains of it — turns gray, our joints become creaky, and our teeth fall apart. All just unfortunate but inevitable effects of aging.
Hold up right there. At The Smile Center, we can’t help your hair stay the same color or prevent arthritis from settling in, but we can help you keep a gorgeous and healthy smile for life.
It’s true — you don’t have to be headed for a future of mouth pain, gum disease, and extensive dental restorations. The key is preventive dentistry.
Preventive dentistry encompasses practices — both at our dental office and at home — that keep teeth and gums healthy, thus thwarting problems before they occur. It can save you countless hours of discomfort and potentially thousands of dollars in restorative and other dental procedures.
Preventive dentistry is not difficult, but it is vitally important.
Visit Our Dental Office Every Six Months
You can brush and floss regularly, eat well, and take care of your teeth and gums meticulously at home. All of that is important, but it is not enough. It’s essential to visit the dentist twice per year. Don’t tell yourself that you’re too busy and don’t put it off.
But why are regular dental checkups so important, anyway?
- You will get a professional cleaning. Our trained, experienced, and thorough (but gentle) hygienists will be able to scrape away plaque and tartar that you just can’t reach with your toothbrush at home. They will even be able to get the stuff that’s built up under the gumline and that will lead to gum disease if left unchecked. They will expertly floss and polish your pearly whites so they look as clean as they are!
- Dr. Miller or Dr. Cerasaro will give your teeth, gums, and entire mouth a thorough examination. Many dental problems, like gingivitis, do not necessarily exhibit symptoms in the early stages. Our doctors will be able to spot signs of disease and enable you to get started on treatment.
- If you are due, we will take digital X-rays of your teeth. These show us things not visible to the naked eye, like cavities between the teeth, impacted teeth, and abscesses. Digital X-rays expose you to a fraction of the radiation of conventional X-rays, and they are much faster.
- Our cutting-edge DIAGNOdent pen allows us to spot (non-invasively) very small cavities using laser fluorescence.
- We will screen you for oral cancer.
At The Smile Center, we offer a few additional preventive services you may want to consider for yourself or your family:
- Athletic mouthguards
- Dental sealants
- Fluoride treatments
Take Care of Your Oral Health at Home
How you brush, floss, and care for your teeth at home is just as important as visiting our dental office for your twice-yearly checkups. It’s easy to get into a rut with your dental habits, or to rush through the routine (especially on those busy mornings). But if you don’t take your time or use proper technique, you risk plaque and tartar buildup, cavities, and gum disease. So what is proper technique anyway?
You should brush at least twice per day for two minutes each time, using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums, and use gentle pressure. Brushing too hard (or using a hard- or medium-bristled toothbrush) may wear away the enamel, injure your gums, and increase your likelihood of decay and periodontal disease.
Be sure to reach all areas of the teeth, including the chewing surfaces, backs, and gumline. Use short back-and-forth or circular strokes. You should even brush your tongue, which will remove decay- and odor-causing bacteria.
You should replace your toothbrush when the bristles become frayed or every few months, whichever comes first.
Flossing, which should be a daily habit, also requires care and attention to technique. Use an 18-inch length, and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving a couple of inches in the middle. Bring the floss up and down between the teeth, keeping it taut against the enamel. The idea is not just to dislodge food bits, but to remove bacteria and plaque on the tooth surface. Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth.
If you’re due for your next checkup, call coastal South Carolina’s The Smile Center, with offices on Murrells Inlet (843-491-5353) and in Georgetown (843-492-5026). You may also use our online form to book an appointment at either location.