Cleaning and Prevention
At First Impressions Dentistry, we work with you to devise a program that will keep your natural teeth and the supporting structures clean and healthy, to prevent diseases or conditions from starting, progressing, or returning. The core of this program starts with you, at home, maintaining a balanced diet and following good oral hygiene practices. Then, when you come here, Dr. Cole and the hygienist work hard to ensure you maintain excellent oral health.
Additional features of the best preventive program are routine dental visits for cleaning and x-rays. We may also recommend fluoride treatments or sealants to help protect your teeth and keep them in tip-top shape. Following the program we devise with you will avoid problems that cost money, time, and teeth, and help you keep that gorgeous smile.
For decades, dental professionals have known that fluoride is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay. This mineral that naturally exists in most food and water supplies helps strengthen the teeth in two ways.
Once teeth have emerged through the gums, fluoride that is applied to the surface seeps into the tooth, making the enamel more resistant to decay. The ways we apply this topical fluoride are through the use of toothpaste, rinses, and gels. Here in the office, we recommend a professional application for children twice a year.
The other way fluoride strengthens teeth is systemically. Through the food we eat and through community water supplies, or via prescription drops or lozenges, systemic fluoride strengthens teeth both above and below the gum line.
There are a few reasons we might recommend fortification of the usual access to fluoride.
- If the patient doesn’t have a high enough exposure to fluoride, perhaps because of a lack of access to fortified water supplies.
- If chewing surfaces of the teeth contain pits and fissures.
- If a history of bad habits or poor oral care have led to decay.
- If intake of sugar and carbohydrates is high.
- If root surfaces are exposed or sensitive.
- If the patient’s history of dental decay is extensive.
Fluoride is only one of the tools we use to defend against decay! Remember to keep up daily brushing and flossing, eat balanced meals, keep sugar intake low, and visit us twice a year!
Most dental decay (up to 75%!) starts in the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars, and especially in deep grooves (aka pits and fissures) of the teeth. That’s because these areas are more difficult to clean, and can harbor bacteria despite our best efforts.
Our weapon against decay in these conditions is sealants. This is a thin plastic coating applied to the tooth surface. It seals the grooves, making the surface smooth and easy to clean. We check them for wear and chipping during your routine exams, which means they can protect your teeth for years.
Perio Protect© is a comprehensive method that is customized for individual patients to help manage biofilms, communities of bacteria, growing in the spaces or pockets between teeth and gum tissue. The overall goal of the Perio Protect Method™ is to manage oral biofilm with minimally invasive dentistry for lasting oral health.
The method is a combination of treatments, including a non-invasive chemical debriding therapy used in conjunction with traditional mechanical debriding procedures. The chemical therapy involves a tray application of doctor-prescribed solutions to chemically debride biofilm from the periodontal pocket and alter the pocket's microbiological environment to disrupt biofilm growth.
The standard cleaning procedures in dental offices (e.g. scaling and root planing) help remove plaque and tartar and help reduce bacteria, but unfortunately bacteria reproduce quickly and biofilms regenerate very easily, so it is difficult to control them between office visits.
With the Perio Protect Method, you can place prescribed solutions into periodontal pockets with an appropriately formed, customized dental tray between office visits to help manage biofilm. Although a dentist must choose the most appropriate solution for individual patients, the most commonly prescribed solution with the method has oxidizing and oxygenating agents. Oxidizing agents debride (chemically remove) the slimy protective coating of a biofilm and its underlying layers and also cleanse the oral wounds.
For most people following the Perio Protect Method, the placement of prescribed solutions into a periodontal pocket via a customized prescription tray requires only minutes each day. Patients describe the tray delivery as comfortable and appreciate its non-invasive technology.
The actual combination of mechanical treatment, chemical therapies, and a prescribed treatment plan is determined by your dentist, and evaluating your specific conditions.
Overcome Dental Anxiety & Relax Through Your Treatment
Many patients have anxiety when visiting the dentist, yet at First Impressions Dentistry, our patients comfort is of the utmost importance. We offer nitrous oxide to those patients who may be nervous or anxious, also known as laughing gas, to achieve the relaxed sensation they desire. This is achieved by placing a mask over the nose that lets the patient breathe in the gas. The sedated feelings begin anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes after inhaling. Numbness throughout the cheeks and gums also begins quickly, allowing our patients to relax throughout their treatments.
Root Canals & Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special medicated dental materials which restore the tooth to its full function. Teeth needing root canal therapy are not always symptomatic.
Having root canal therapy on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would get infected, swell and lead to severe complications. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the best solution, but extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth. Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although occasionally a tooth may have to be re-treated due to new infections.