Protecting Clayton Smiles with Preventive Dentistry
The most essential part of every oral health care plan is maintaining smile health by visiting Sevens Dental every six months. Many patients believe visiting so frequently without suffering from oral health issues is unnecessary, but the American Dental Association recommends this as the minimum standard for preventive dental care. The purpose of these checkups is not to treat decay or damage, but stop them before they even begin, allowing patients to keep their healthy smiles and avoid more advanced, costly dental treatments. Contact our team to find out more about general and preventive dentistry or schedule an appointment in our Clayton, MO dental office.
Dental Checkups & Cleanings
By visiting our office every six months, patients put themselves at an advantage when it comes to keeping their smiles healthy. During regular dental checkups and cleanings, we’re able to screen for and diagnose common oral health issues in their earliest stages, so our patients avoid more severe dental damage and the necessity for more advanced smile repair solutions that can be painful, costly, and time consuming. Checkups at Sevens Dental include a thorough visual examination of teeth, gums, and orofacial structures as well as the use of diagnostic x-rays to assess developmental concerns or issues below the surface of patients’ smiles. Next, one of our skilled hygienists will carefully remove plaque and tartar buildup from all tooth surfaces. Finally, patients sit down with Dr. Steve Dedrickson to discuss their current oral health, any issues that need to be addressed, and partner with the doctor to develop a plan for ongoing oral health care.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Many of our Clayton, MO patients believe oral cancer screenings are only necessary for people who use tobacco products. While tobacco usage significantly raises the risk for oral cancer, it is only one of several high risk behaviors associated with the disease, and more than a quarter of those diagnosed with oral cancer each year do not engage in any of these behaviors. That’s why oral cancer screenings are an essential part of every six month dental checkup at Sevens Dental. Dentists have advanced training and education understanding how orofacial structures function, and this makes your dentist ideally suited to diagnose oral cancers in their earliest stages. Let us know right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Lumps, bumps, or oddly textured patches in the mouth
- Discolored tissues
- Sore throat or hoarse voice
- Sores that do not heal
Digital X-Rays & Intraoral Camera
Traditional x-rays and photography allowed our team to clearly view the underlying structures of teeth and the visible portion of the smile. We could then develop images of these to share with our patients. However, the traditional methods took longer and didn’t offer the same high definition images available through digital x-rays and intraoral photography. Digital x-rays are more quickly and comfortably captured, expose patients to significantly less radiation, and these higher definition x-ray images are immediately viewable on our chairside monitors to review with patients. Intraoral photography allows us to capture similar images of the visible portion of smiles. We can even enlarge, color code, or otherwise manipulate the images to help patients better understand their current oral health and treatment options.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleeping soundly may seem easy, but for patients who suffer from sleep apnea, getting a restful night’s sleep is not as simple as it sounds. Many patients live for years without being diagnosed because they believe they’re just snoring. Sleep apnea’s most common side effect is loud, chronic snoring, but while this may seem like a harmless, if annoying, habit, it may be indicative of apnea events, the cessation of breathing for 10 or more seconds at a time multiple times during the night. Untreated, sleep apnea has a number of ill effects on health including severe daytime exhaustion, elevated blood pressure, and lack of concentration. Traditionally, sleep doctors treat sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, but our team offers a more comfortable solution using custom crafted oral appliances to gently shift the jaw forward and keep the airway clear during sleep, reducing instances of apnea and improving quality of sleep.
Fluoride in foods and drinks, especially tap water, are essential to help people develop strong, healthy teeth, but once these teeth have erupted from the gums, topical fluoride treatments are necessary to fortify tooth enamel. Many patients receive adequate levels of fluoride from their toothpastes and mouth rinses. However, other patients benefit from the application of professional doses of fluoride as part of their regular six month checkups. We simply apply a coating of fluoride paste at the very end of the appointment. Patients will need to wait about half an hour before eating or drinking (not even water in most cases) to allow the fluoride to be absorbed into the porous tooth enamel where it attracts minerals and nutrients that strengthen teeth.
Nightguards for TMJ & Bruxism Therapy
Patients who experience TMJ dysfunction, the strain or damage of the small joints connecting the jaw to the skull bone and those who have bruxism, the unconscious grinding and clenching of teeth, may need the same, simple treatment. At Sevens Dental, we are happy to custom craft nightguards that relieve undo pressure on the jaw joints and place a barrier between teeth protecting them from potential wear or damage. Over the counter varieties are available and can offer successful treatment for bruxism, but only custom crafted appliances are beneficial in treating TMJ dysfunction.
Protect your smile during athletic competition with custom crated sportsguards from Sevens Dental. There are a number of athletic mouthguard varieties available from local sporting goods stores, but these guards do not offer the same level of comfort and protection available with our custom options. The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine recommends patients use mouthguards during any sport where their face could come in contact with hard objects. This includes sports like football and hockey, but it also indicates use for swimming and diving, horse riding, and biking, which many patients don’t consider.