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Dental Hygiene – maintaining your Oral Health and preventing dental disease

The foundation of healthy, lasting smiles with strong durable teeth is excellent oral hygiene and a personal commitment to maintaining preventive care. Professional dental cleaning eliminates plaque and tartar that brushing and flossing cannot remove on its own. Preventive care refers to measures taken to prevent diseases, rather than curing them or treating their symptoms.
Modern dentistry is focused on the preservation of healthy teeth and gums and the prevention of dental diseases with minimal intervention. Oral health is linked to overall health and is important to overall wellbeing. Oral diseases can interfere with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, eating, speaking and of course smiling.

Importance of Regular Dental Check-ups

At St Clair Dental, we stress the importance of regular dental visits to healthy teeth and gums. Brushing and flossing every day is not enough to keep your mouth disease-free; professional teeth cleaning, a tooth-by–tooth analysis, is necessary to identify and treat small problems before they become big ones. Routine appointments also save you money by aiming to avoid more complex dental treatments associated with neglect over time.
Throughout the lifespan, our lifestyle goes though periods of change and these changes impact on our daily routines, eating habits and therefore our teeth. Regular dental check-ups are necessary for everyone, because our mouths and lifestyle habits rarely ever stay the same, as are always changing and being subjected to wear and tear.
At times, certain symptoms not related to dental conditions can also be revealed during a regular dental check-up. The mouth can provide medical professionals with an insight to the health of the rest of the body.
A regular dental examination interestingly also aims to detect the presence of other serious medical conditions such as osteoporosis, cancer, leukaemia, diabetes and even HIV. Signs of nutrient deficiencies such as iron and vitamin C, B12 can also be brought to your attention during a dental check-up. Our caring dentists are advocates for all things health related and will advise you if they suspect any signs of other diseases. That is one of the main reasons why you may hear that oral health is essential for overall health and wellbeing.

Gum Disease

The connection between periodontal disease and risk of heart disease is well established. High levels of bacteria in the mouth can led to clogging of the Carotid Artery in your neck and increase the risk of stroke.
Periodontal disease may be an early sign of cardiovascular problems. It is difficult to detect heart disease as you can never feel your arteries hardening or your cholesterol rising, but you will notice pain from bleeding gums. It is recommended to prevent oral health problems if you are at high risk of developing heart disease. Advanced cases of periodontal disease will require treatment and a careful cleaning of the roots of the teeth.
Our gentle dentist may prescribe antibiotics prior to performing some dental procedures if you have had recent cardiac surgery to avoid infection of the heart tissues thus preventing the spread of bacteria throughout your body. Hence, the maintenance of good oral hygiene with a twice daily routine and professional cleans are necessary to prevent many more serious health problems that can develop as we age.

Dental check-ups in children

Dental problems in children can include missing, crooked, and crowded teeth, poor ability in keeping their teeth clean and early detection of a diet high in simple sugars.
Dr Mitesh Sanghavi has a masters degree in paediatric dentistry, so has advanced knowledge and experience to evaluate your child’s dental condition and provide you with an insight into how their dental future is likely to unfold and take shape.
We recommend that children have their first visit to the dentist at age 2-3 yrs and then at least annually there after. During physical growth & development, many dental anomalies can be detected and assessed very early on in life. The enamel layer on baby teeth is very thin & as soon as dental decay process starts, it progresses very quickly (within just a few months), meaning that children develop dental cavities that can cause pain from a bacterial infection as they persist.

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We will Bulk Bill* basic dental care for children and teens aged 2yrs – 17yrs of age.

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Lift your child’s top lip once a month to check for early signs of tooth decay. White lines near the gum line can be the beginning of tooth decay. At this stage professional dental treatments are aimed to reverse the effects and re-harded the enamel that has softened in those areas. Dark yellow or brown lines indicate that decay has progressed to a more severe state and requires professional attention.
By fostering positive experiences with our gentle dentists, early on in life – your child can learn how to take good care of their teeth and prevent costly and uncomfortable experiences later on.

How frequently are dental check-ups required?

After your first dental check-up, your dentist will recommend a date for your next visit. For optimum health, most people are recommended that their mouth is examined and teeth are professionally cleaned twice a year, to maintain oral health and control frequent build up of plaque and tartar. You may require check-ups more regularly than 6 monthly if you:

  • have a weakened immune system
  • do not control plaque well
  • are prone to dental decay that forms cavities
  • have gum disease

What can you expect at a regular dental check-up?

Our caring dentist will first check the oral soft tissues for lesions or ulcers. Your teeth will then be examined for immediate problems that require attention such as broken fillings or areas of decay. Each tooth and the surrounding gums will be evaluated thoroughly and charted as a medical record. Our caring dentist will ask you about how you take care of your teeth at home and likes to recommend ways that you can improve your daily oral hygiene routines yourself. If required, an X-ray of a particular tooth or a complete view of the top and bottom jaws may be taken to check on the status of wisdom teeth, gum disease, jaw trauma or hidden decay between the teeth as a way of proactively managing your oral health and detecting things early.
Our gentle dentist will clean your teeth to remove hardened calcified plaque (called calculus or tartar). During a regular dental check up, you may be provided with specific advice in relation to your dietary habits, smoking, dry mouth or bad breath, correct brushing technique, flossing and other practical ways of how to improve your dental hygiene. If noticeable problems are detected during the check-up, options for treatment will be explained thoroughly and all costs associated will be estimated to you in advance.
The dentist at St Clair Dental, Adelaide is committed to providing you with the best possible care, and to do so, require the opportunity to provide you with regular check-ups to monitor any existing dental work that you have and to professionally clean your teeth for the prevention of further diseases.

Professional Teeth Cleaning

Calcium deposits that build up over time on your teeth is called calculus and requires professional removal. Removal of calculus (tartar) or scaling is essential to clean and maintain a healthy mouth. Special instruments are used to remove calculus (tartar) that attracts bacteria to accumulate above and below the gum line. Having clean and smooth teeth prevents bacteria from adhering and multiplying on your teeth and in your gums that initiates inflammation and causes dental disease.
After scaling or removing the calculus off the teeth, they are polished with an abrasive paste to remove any remaining stains or residue. If you haven’t been to the dentist in many years, our gentle dentist may recommend deep cleaning to improve your oral health as the build up would have accumulated and spread beneath the gum line creating a unhealthy pocket around each tooth.

Preventing Dental Decay and Cavities

If you are prone to dental decay and present with some of the warning signs in the early stages, Dr Sanghavi recommends fissure sealants and fluoride therapy.
Fissure sealants are a preventative treatment that work to protect teeth from developing cavities on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. A special resin material flows deep into the grooves and pits that teeth naturally have to fill them up. Once sealants are applied, food particles and plaque can no longer get trapped in these areas where dental decay is likely to first occur.
Fluoride helps to make the enamel on your teeth more resistant to fluctuations in ph levels that occur after eating and drinking. There are many sources of safe fluoride and our experienced dentists will recommend a customised fluoride therapy regime suitable to your specific needs, if they think that your teeth will benefit from therapeutic fluoride agents like toothpastes, mouthrinses, creams, gels and varnishes that have been proven to be highly effective in replacing mineral content in enamel that has been depleted in certain areas.
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Preventive oral health care involves all of the following measures to reduce your risk of dental disease:

Clean your teeth twice every day

Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Move the brush in circular motions without applying too much pressure to the inside, outside and then finally tops of all chewing surfaces of each tooth.

If you are using a powered toothbrush, hold the brush still on the inside, outside and then finally tops of all chewing surfaces for 10-20 seconds on each tooth one by one at a time. DO NOT move your hand backwards and forward like a manual toothbrush. Powered toothbrushes are designed to be fully automated and heads ossolate to do all the brushing action for you. All you have to do is hold it still in place for enough time to clean your teeth for you.

Powered toothbrushes have been proven to be far more effective in controlling levels of plaque accumulation than manual toothbrushes.

Toothpaste

Apply a pea sized amount of toothpaste onto a wet the toothbrush. Imagine that each tooth is being cleaned one by one.

To get the most out of the therapeutic ingredients in your toothpaste, be sure to spit the toothpaste out after brushing, but do not rinse your mouth with water.
Rinsing your mouth with water after toothcleaning, means that you are washing all the goodness of the toothpaste away down the sink. The longer and more times toothpaste is applied to your teeth the more protection and benefits they get from its therapeutic ingredients.

Australian Dental Association and South Australian Dental Service recommends that all children and adults adopt the mantra “Spit don’t rinse” as a part of their twice daily personal oral hygiene routine at home.

Dietary Influences

5 lollies at 1 time = 20 minutes that your teeth are exposed to becoming decayed
1 lollies at 5 different times = 100 minutes that your teeth are exposed to becoming decayed

It’s not realistic for anyone not to ever enjoy lollies or chocolate, but there are certainly limits. The more times you snack on sweets, biscuits or starchy foods, the more likely it is that you will suffer from dental decay. By limiting the frequency of consumption of sugary and acidic foods and drinks, you can gain control over the decay process and prevent it from occurring and progressing.

Snack wise with a piece of cheese, carrot and celery sticks, apples or a serve of natural yoghurt.
The most common substance that contributes to dental decay is softdrinks and fruit juices. Sipping on a drink that is high in sugar or acid content for an hour or so at a time a few times day means that your teeth are being drenched in a substance for many hours (until they are cleaned again) and the teeth become weakened and cannot withstand the resistance in low acidic ph levels and start to break down.

We recommend that you enjoy your sweets and treats, only at meal times or all at once, rather than many times throughout the day or late at night. During meal times, your salivary flow is might higher and this will help to buffer the damaging effect that sweets and treats have on your teeth over time.

Fluoride Therapy

Fluoride is a mineral that helps make enamel more resistant to cavities and helps to replace mineral loss in enamel that has begun to decay. Fluoride may be able to restore parts of enamel that has begun to be affected by dental decay. When applied professional, fluoride works very well to control early dental decay in several ways. The most effective method for the prevention of decay is the regular use of fluoride. The more times a day fluoride is in contact with the enamel, the more resistant your teeth become to acid attacks after eating or drinking sweets, acidic and starchy foods.

Fluoride comes in many different forms as a gel, foam, mouth rinse, varnish and in tap water. It can have an immediate effect and or have slow releasing properties that continue to provide benefit for months. Our experienced dentist will prescribe the most effective type of fluoride to achieve the desired results that you require. When applied professionally and monitored, fluoride therapy can help you to achieve great results in the fight against dental decay, especially in children.

Fissure Sealants

Fissure sealants are a preventative form of dental treatment that work to protect teeth from developing cavities on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. A special resin material flows deep into the grooves and pits that teeth naturally have to fill them up. Once sealants are applied, food particles and plaque can no longer get trapped in these areas where dental decay is likely to first occur and the teeth become much easier to clean yourself.

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