Preventive and Diagnostic Care
(Digital X-Rays • Prophylaxis • Fluoride • Dental Screening • Consultation • Preventive Resin Restoration)
Digital radiography is an imaging technology that employs digital X-ray sensors instead of traditional photographic film and is otherwise known as "Digital X-Rays". In addition to providing valuable information that helps us evaluate your oral health (beneath the surface of your teeth and gums), Digital X-Rays are time-efficient (since they do not require chemical photo-imaging processing) and can be digitally transferred and enhanced for greater accuracy. And aside from being more visually accurate and time-efficient, Digital X-Rays use less radiation.
How Dental X-Rays Work:
As X-rays pass through your mouth they are for the most part absorbed by your teeth and bone because these hard tissues are denser than your cheeks and gums, which are called soft tissues. As the X-rays reach the digital sensor, an image called a radiograph is created. These Radiographs allow us to check for any abnormalities, such as tooth decay, infections and signs of gum disease. In addition, we can check for changes in the bone and ligaments holding teeth in place.
How Often Should Radiographs be Taken?
The frequency of X-rays (radiographs) depends on several factors, such as your present oral health, your age, your risk for disease, and any signs and symptoms of oral disease you may be experiencing. For example, children may require X-rays more often than adults due to the fact that their teeth and jaws are still developing and that their teeth are more prone to tooth decay. We will review your history, examine your mouth and then decide whether or not you need radiographs.
If you are a new patient, and have not had any dental radiographs (digital or traditional film) taken within the last 12 months, we will recommend radiographs to determine the present status of your oral health and to help identify changes that may occur later. A new set of X-rays may be needed to help us detect any new cavities, determine the status of your gum health or evaluate the growth and development of your teeth. If a previous dentist has any recent radiographs of you, we may ask you for copies of them.
What are the Benefits of Digital X-Rays?
Many dental and gum related diseases are hidden from the naked eye. Digital X-ray examination can help detect the following :
small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings);
infections in the bone;
periodontal (gum) disease;
abscesses or cysts;
some types of tumors.
Early detection in key in intercepting and treating dental problems. It can save time, money and (last but not least!) unnecessary discomfort. Radiographs can help us detect problems in your mouth that otherwise would not be seen.
What are the Risks?
The amount of radiation that we are exposed to from dental X-rays is very small compared to our daily exposure from things like, cosmic radiation and naturally-occurring radioactive elements (for example, those producing radon).
If you are pregnant, a radiograph may be needed for urgent dental treatment. Because untreated dental infections can pose a risk to the fetus, dental treatment may be necessary to maintain the health of both you and your child. Radiation exposure resulting from dental Digital X-rays is low. However, every precaution is taken to ensure that radiation exposure is As Low As Reasonable Achievable. Towards that aim, and in every case and for each patient, an apron made of lead covering the chest and abdomen will be used when any dental radiograph is taken. Also, a leaded thyroid collar can protect the thyroid from radiation, and will be used whenever possible. The use of a leaded thyroid collar is recommended for women of childbearing age, pregnant women and children. Dental X-ray exams need not be delayed if you are trying to become pregnant or are breast feeding.
Before undergoing any dental treatment, some patients who have particular heart conditions and those with artificial joints are given antibiotics because they may be at risk of developing an infection in the heart or at the area of the artificial joint. Therefore, antibiotics reduce the risk of developing infection and this process is called antibiotic prophylaxis (pronounced pro-fuh-lax-iss).
When we treat patients with heart conditions, we follow recommendations developed by the American Heart Association (AHA), with input from the American Dental Association (ADA). For patients who have total joint replacements, we refer to recommendations developed by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS).
We will talk to you about how these recommendations might apply to you.
If you, or a family member, are at a moderate-to high risk of developing dental cavities (caries/tooth decay), we might recommend a professional fluoride treatment consisting of a more potent concentration than that in over-the-counter toothpastes or fluoride mouth rinses. Professional fluoride treatments generally take mere minutes. The fluoride application may be in the form of a liquid, foam, gel, or varnish. It is typically applied with a cotton swab or brush, or it is administered as a rinse, or it is placed in a tray which is positioned in the mouth for a few minutes. Once the treatment is complete, we may direct you to not rinse or consume any food or drink for at least 30 minutes; that is to allow your teeth to absorb the fluoride and help repair tiny (microscopic) cavity areas.
PREVENTATIVE RESIN RESTORATION (PRR)
PRR is a highly specialized and delicate method of cleaning and restoring the grooves on the chewing surface of the tooth (typically the first, and second, molars in children) with minimal exploratory openings (AKA drilling) of the tooth's enamel.
Kindly note that the term "sealant" is often used generically and is commonly confused with PRR. Thus, it is worthwhile to note that — today — although sealants are still a viable treatment, neither their longevity nor durability can rival that of Preventive Resin Restoration. To summarize our process: PRR involves cleaning the groves on the teeth, removing all the stains that can potentially develop into caries (cavities) then seal the tooth or restore it with flowable resin material instead of sealants.
"Dento" is a trademark of Thao P Doan D.D.S., P.C. Copyright © 2003-2014 by Thao P Doan D.D.S., P.C. All rights reserved.