General & Preventative Dentistry

"Our goal at Southard Dental is to help our patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles
with preventative, restorative and cosmetic dentistry in a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere"

General dentistry is the practice of inhibiting oral health problems before they begin. A preventive program is a cooperative effort by the patient, dentist, and dental hygienist to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions. Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. It is continued in the dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health. Prevention also includes regular dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Sealants and fluoride are also great preventive treatments that help protect the teeth. A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by Dr. Southard at your hygiene appointment.

At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:

Examination of Diagnosticx X-Rays (radiographs):

Examination of Diagnosticx X-Rays (radiographs):

Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
Gum Disease Evaluation

Gum Disease Evaluation

Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
Examination of Tooth Decay

Examination of Tooth Decay

All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
Examination of Existing Restorations

Examination of Existing Restorations

Check current fillings, crowns, etc.

Cleaning and Prevention

A cleaning or prophylaxis should be done every 6 months or more frequent as determined by you dental hygienist. At your cleaning appointment the hygienist will clean plaque and tartar that has accumulated above the gum line and slightly below the gum line. This is accomplished by using an ultrasonic scale and hand scaling instruments. The hygienist will also polish your teeth to help remove surface stains with a slow speed hand piece and special paste. The hygienist will also assess the need for fluoride treatments and sealants. Proper home care should be practice daily which includes: brushing at least 2 times each day for 2 minutes each time with a SOFT bristle toothbrush, flossing daily, and using a mouthwash that protects against gingivitis. If you go for a period of time with inadequate home care and without professional cleanings you may put yourself at risk for gingivitis, or worse, gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease. In the next section periodontal disease and periodontal therapy is discussed.

Periodontal Therapy

Assessment

Periodontal disease is a disease that affects your gums and the bone that surrounds your teeth. It is caused by bacteria in your mouth that produce harmful toxins that cause inflammation, also known as gingivitis. When gingivitis is left untreated it can then turn into periodontal disease. Other factors that can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease include but are not limited to; smoking, crooked tooth, and defective fillings. The hygienist will perform a periodontal assessment. This will include periodontal charting in which measurements are taken around each tooth and the gums will be assessed for swelling, bleeding, recessions and any kind of infection. X-rays will also be taken to determine the level of bone surrounding the teeth. After reviewing the findings, the dentist and hygienist will discuss with the patient the findings and what type of periodontal therapy is needed to ensure disease treatment and control.

Periodontal Therapy

Usually the first step in periodontal therapy is to clean. Clean, meaning to remove bacteria and toxins from the periodontal pocket, including plaque and tartar. The periodontal pocket is the pocket in which the tooth sits. This cleaning is commonly referred to as “deep cleaning” or “scaling and root planning”. This type of cleaning is commonly done in 2 separate appointments, right side then the left side or vice versa. Due to the extent of the cleaning, the hygienist will give you anesthetic to numb the areas to be cleaned. After the cleaning you will be numb for a few hours and most people experience little or no discomfort after treatment. After both sides have been cleaned, an appointment for approximately 4-6 weeks later will be made to evaluate the gums and home care of the patient. At this time the hygienist will discuss with you the best intervals for your re-care appointments, also known as periodontal maintenance appointments. Most often periodontal maintenance appointments will be every 3-4 months. The goal is ensure control of the periodontal disease through proper home care and professional treatment.re disease treatment and control.