Like a car or a beautiful garden, your mouth and teeth need constant maintenance to ensure it stays healthy. The bacteria that live inside your mouth are constantly producing acids and irritants that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Thus, you need to be proactive with your dental hygiene. We like to call it your 6 monthly Active Maintenance appointment where your Lifetime Dental Dentist and you can check for any early signs of tooth decay and gum infection and initiate simple preventive care before the infection takes hold and becomes irreversible and your dentist needs to pick up the noisy drill.
Prevention is always better than cure and so the Dentists at Lifetime Dental Health Group encourage all our patients to come visit us on a regular basis, usually every 6 months. However that may vary a little from patient to patient.
At Lifetime Dental Health Group we call our check up and clean appointments – “Active Maintenance Appointments”. We do a lot more than just a tooth check and a clean. During our active maintenance appointment, it will include the following:
Medical & Dental History – your dentist will ask you about any oral or general health problems you may have or that have changed since your last visit. The dentist will ask what medications you are taking as more than 300 common drugs effect your dental health promoting tooth decay.
Examination – your dentist will thoroughly examine all of your teeth, gums, jaw joints and associated structures. He will check you mouth for Oral Cancer. Two (2%) percent of cancer is in the mouth and usually as it is found late has a very poor chance of 1 year survival. Things that are noted here include decay, gum condition, premature tooth wear, cracked, fracturing and broken teeth. Poor or disturbed sleep, snoring and sleep apnoea. The dentist will also take intra oral photos inside your mouth that will allow you to see exactly what he sees. Scary for some but always informative.
Treatment Planning – after examination, the dentist will present the findings to you and what they mean. If treatment is required, the dentist will discuss with you your options, their pros and cons and risks and of course their costs, to ensure you are equipped with the knowledge to make the best choice for you.
Professional Cleaning – for that wonderful professional “Just Cleaned feeling” – a professional scale and cleaning, and polish is the removal of the bacteria and hard build up on our teeth and gums. This accumulation of bacteria left unchecked will cause our gums to become infected and our jaw bone to rot away. It only takes a week of poor brushing or missed flossing for our mouth to become infected. Apart from a bit of bleeding or some bad breath we generally have no indication that the germs are infecting and our jaw bone is rotting away. This jaw bone rotting is a silent disease and we only get significant symptoms – pain, discomfort – when so much jaw bone is rotted away that it is often too late to save the tooth and it needs to be extracted. Plaque is the build up of trillions of bacteria that are sticky and forms on your teeth all day everyday. A professional clean is the only way to remove this calcified accumulation called tartar. If the bacteria are left for months then they burrow down under the gum and eat the jaw bone away. The dentist needs to clean the deep gaps between your teeth and gums – called a pocket – or the teeth will become loose, then pain begins and the teeth become loose, and fall out. This is called deep cleaning and is usually done upper local anaesthetic or it would be very painful.
Oral Hygiene Advice & Instruction – We are always happy to give our patients hints on how to better look after your teeth and gums at home. Each active maintenance patient is given a a take home pack which includes the essentials in oral health maintenance.
X-rays – the dentist may need to take X-rays during the appointment, X-rays can show many things that can’t be seen with the naked eye such as:
- Cavities Between Teeth, Under Gums And Around Old Fillings and crowns.
- Bone Loss Caused By Gum Disease.
- Teeth That Are Trapped (Or Impacted) In The Gums, Such As Wisdom Teeth.
- Long Or Crooked Tooth Root That Need Special Care.
- Infections on the end of the Root Of Teeth often associated with Deep Cavities.
- Extra teeth and missing teeth
- bone for implants
At Lifetime Dental Health Group we use digital x-rays which reduce the amount of radiation you are exposed to. We will provide you the maximum protection to minimise your exposure to radiation, while obtaining all the information we need for you to make the best decision for your situation.