Prevention is always better than treatment. By actively preventing disease and decay through regular home care, professional dental cleanings and regular exams, you will maintain a healthy beautiful smile.
In addition, effective prevention can help you avoid costly treatments in the future to remove decay, restore teeth and treat gum disease. Regular prevention is truly your best investment.
Brush your teeth twice daily using a soft tooth brush. Gently vibrate the brush in a circular fashion at a 45 degree angle to the gum line. Then gently vibrate the brush back and forth on each tooth surface until you have effectively cleaned the entire mouth. You should also brush your tongue to remove the bacteria that causes bad breath.
You can use any soft bristled, ADA approved tooth brush. We also recommend the use of modern electric tooth brushes such as Sonicare and Braun.
Floss daily to remove plaque between teeth that you can't reach with regular brushing. Take 12" to 18" of dental floss and wrap it around the middle finger of each hand. Pull the floss tightly, and then use your thumb and forefingers to slide the floss gently between each set of teeth. Curve the floss around each tooth and move the floss up and down along the tooth, going as low as you can comfortably get under the gum line. Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth until you have flossed the entire mouth.
Always rinse thoroughly with water after brushing (or after meals if you are unable to brush.) You may occasionally use a mouthwash to rinse. However, recent studies indicate that the over-use of mouthwash in an otherwise healthy mouth can change the normal biological activity of the mouth, leading to dried tissues and other problems.
Professional cleanings (dental prophylaxis) performed by a registered dental hygienist form the foundation for preventing gum disease and tooth decay. In a professional cleaning, your hygienist will:
Dental examinations help to diagnose disease before it becomes hazardous to your health. In addition, regular examinations can save you money by alleviating problems while they are small and before they become expensive to repair, or in some cases, impossible to repair. Your dental examinations generally include the following:
We cannot express enough how important it is to see your dentist regularly. Remember, preventing disease is always better than treating disease.
Modern dental x-ray machines are very safe. We use only state-of-the-art, low radiation machines. The amount of radiation exposure your body receives on an airplane flight from Los Angeles to New York exceeds the amount of exposure you will receive from a modern dental x-ray machine. Contrast this minimal exposure with the risk of not finding an illness until it is too late, and you can see why we prescribe regular diagnostic x-rays.
Normal pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth can trap food that can't be removed by brushing or washed out by water or saliva. A sealant is a tough, plastic material designed to bond (stick) to tooth enamel. These clear or tooth colored sealants are painted onto the tooth surface to "seal" the pits and grooves and protect against decay. They are generally applied to children's first permanent back teeth. They can also be useful for adults in certain situations.
Sealants are an excellent way to protect chewing surfaces of teeth from decay. They are a much better financial investment than treating decay after it has started
Sealants are not permanent. They generally last about five years with normal wear, but can wear off or chip off earlier in certain instances. Also, sealants do not prevent decay between teeth or the onset of gum disease, so regular home care and dental visits are important.
There are no appropriate alternatives to sealants. If a tooth has decay, it will need a filling or other restoration.
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Federal Way smiles provides progressive family dentistry, including preventive care, restorative dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry in the greater southern Seattle area. Drs. Lawrence Ladowski and Danielle Tomlinson serve the Federal Way, Sea Tac, Des Moines, Kent, Lakeland North, Lakeland South, Auburn, Commencement Bay, Edgewood and Tacoma areas by providing exceptional dental care to all patients.