Check-ups and Cleanings
It is important to have regular appointments, at least twice a year, with your dental hygienist to maintain the health of your teeth and gums, as well as to promote your whole body health. A hygiene appointment at River Oaks Dental isn’t just about cleaning your teeth. You can expect the following at your hygiene appointment:
1) Review of medical history, including changes of medications, and recording blood pressure
2) Thorough cleaning of teeth and gums, which may include ultrasonic cleaning and polishing
3) Assessment of periodontal condition (gums)
4) Oral Cancer Screening
5) Check for cavities and make sure all restorations (fillings, crowns) are in good working order
6) Ultrasonic cleaning of any removable appliance or prosthetic, including dentures, partials, retainers, Invisalign trays, occlusal/night guards, sports/bite guards, and sleep apnea appliances
7) Oral hygiene instructions/home care instructions
8) Exam with Dr. Monteiro to check oral health and answer any questions you may have
9) Review of any treatment prescribed with our treatment coordinator
10) Personalized product recommendations and samples
Other things that may occur at your hygiene appointments depend on your individual needs! We do not have a one size fits all approach to preventative dental care:
1) X-rays are typically taken at your first visit, and then as needed as determined by Dr Monteiro. Patients who have had a lot of dental work, or those prone to cavities may need x-rays more often than patients who don’t have any fillings or cavities. If you have any concerns about x-rays, please let Dr. Monteiro and her staff know and we will be happy to discuss it with you.
2) Fluoride application
3) Oral irrigation with Chlorhexidine for active inflammation, gingivitis, and periodontal disease
4) Periodontal (gum) therapy (SRP)
5) Tobacco cessation
6) Dietary guidance
7) Prescriptions for home care products to promote optimal dental health
Dr. Monteiro and the River Oaks Dental team love kids! At our convenient Lakewood office, we are happy to take care of your family’s dental needs, even infants starting at 6 months old. That’s right-did you know that according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child should start having regular dental visits when they get their first baby tooth? Is your little one a bit older and hasn’t had a visit yet? No worries! We are happy to help your family begin a positive and fun dental routine at River Oaks Dental, no matter where you are in the process. Give our office a call today and let us schedule appointments for your family at a convenient time for you!
We like to practice preventive dentistry at River Oaks Dental. That is why we may recommend dental sealants as a way to protect your teeth from cavities. A sealant will fill in the grooves on the chewing surfaces of your teeth, blocking access to food particles and bacteria that cause cavities. This helps teeth stay clean and healthy. In fact, sealants can reduce cavities by 70%! Don’t’ worry, sealants don’t count as a filling, and they are completely painless and require no numbing.
Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. That couldn’t be more true than when it comes to occlusal guards, also known as night guards or bite guards. An occlusal guard can protect your teeth from the stress of grinding or clenching, preventing costly fractures and pain down the road, or helping protect your investment in your crowns, veneers, and implants. Furthermore, if grinding your teeth is causing you pain in your TMJ’s (temporomandibular joints), a nightguard can help alleviate this pain and help you sleep better at night.
“But I don’t grind my teeth!”
Sometimes, people aren’t aware that they grind their teeth. Some people grind their teeth every night, while for others it may be periodic. Oftentimes a stress from our jobs, school, or a life event can trigger grinding. Even some medications, such as anti-depressants and medications for ADHD, can cause you to grind your teeth. A thorough dental exam with Dr. Monteiro at River Oaks Dental will help determine if tooth grinding is a problem for you, and appropriate treatment will be recommended.
Dr. Monteiro uses an occlusal guard that has a soft lining on the inside, which is more comfortable on your teeth and gums. Your guard will be custom made just for you, and your bite, or the way your teeth and jaws come together, will be calibrated so that the guard distributes your biting forces equally across your teeth and minimizes stress put on your TMJ’s. After a few nights, your occlusal guard will feel more comfortable and you can rest easy knowing your smile is protected.
Athletic mouth guards
Did you know that millions of teeth will be knocked out in sporting accidents this year? Help protect your children’s smiles with a custom made mouthguard from River Oaks Dental. Traumatic injuries to the teeth and gums are surprisingly common, and not just in contact sports like football and wrestling. Even athletes who participate in sports like track and field or soccer would benefit from the protection and peace of mind of a mouth guard. There are many pre-made mouth guards on the market that you can find at your nearest drug store, but if your child is reluctant to wear it or if it doesn’t comfortably fit his or her mouth, you may want to consider a custom athletic mouthguard. At River Oaks Dental, your child can help design his or her custom mouth guard, selecting from a wide array of colors and patterns. All of our custom athletic mouthguards come with a personalized protective case, accessories for cleaning and maintaining the appliance, and professional ultrasonic cleaning of the appliance at every 6 month hygiene visit at River Oaks Dental.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Each year, nearly half a million people are diagnosed with Oral Cancer worldwide. Within 5 years of diagnosis, oral cancer will claim more than 40% of those lives. The remaining 60% may carry the lifetime effects, such as loss of portions of the tongue, difficulty swallowing, tooth loss, chronic dry mouth, and the need for major reconstructive surgery and prostheses.
The high mortality rate of oral cancer is largely due to the diagnosis being made in late stages, when the cancer has already spread. When detected early, 5 year survival rates are high, between 70-90%.
The good news is that oral cancer is not hard to detect. Screenings are inexpensive, painless, non-invasive, and fast! Ask Dr. Monteiro for more information at your next visit!
Fluoride is a natural mineral that has the ability to strengthen teeth and provide protection from tooth decay. Professional fluoride treatments are the easiest and most cost effective way to prevent cavities for adults and children alike. It is also effective at treating tooth sensitivity, especially along the gumline.
At your dental exam, Dr. Monteiro will evaluate your risk for tooth decay. Based on her findings and your preferences, she will develop a customized cavity prevention routine for you to optimize your oral health.