Preventive Dentistry Protecting Precious Tulsa Smiles
Keeping natural smiles whole and healthy for life is always our goal for patients at Rigdon Dental & Associates. Establishing a foundation of regular preventive dental care for each patient allows us to work in partnership with those we treat to significantly reduce oral health issues, and diagnose and treat those concerns that do arise in their earliest stages preserving the optimal amount of healthy dental structure. Contact our Tulsa dentist and team to find out more or schedule an appointment today.
Checkups & Cleanings
The most important parts of any preventive dentistry plan are twice a year dental checkups and teeth cleanings. Regular diagnostics and evaluation allow Dr. Rigdon and his team to examine smiles for signs of common oral health concerns such as tooth decay, gum disease, bruxism (tooth grinding and clenching), temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, and oral cancer. Even the most thorough at-home hygiene routines may have some gaps, but professional cleanings with one of our skilled hygienists remove plaque and tartar from even the most difficult to access parts of patients’ smiles preventing a number of oral health issues.
Oral Cancer Screening
Many patients believe if they don’t use tobacco products they are not at risk for oral cancers, but unfortunately, this is just not the case. There are a number of behaviors that put patients at greater risk for oral cancer, but even if patients engage in none of these high risk behaviors, they may still develop oral cancer. Research conducted by the Oral Cancer Foundation revealed that early diagnosis is the best way to decrease the number of annual deaths attributed to oral cancer. For these reasons, we screen for oral cancer as part of every six month dental checkup.
TMJ dysfunction and bruxism are not necessarily related. However, in many cases, treatments using comfortable, custom nightguards are the best solution for both concerns. TMJ dysfunction occurs when the joints connecting the jaw to the skull are strained or damaged and bruxism is unconscious grinding and clenching of teeth (typically during sleep). A custom nightguard provides relief from TMJ dysfunction by allowing the jaw to rest in its ideal position during the night preventing strain. Because the jaw is resting comfortably, teeth grinding and clenching is reduced. Additionally, the physical barrier of the mouthguard between teeth prevents the potential damage of bruxism.
Any patient who participates in an athletic events where they may come in contact with other players, hard surfaces, or sports equipment should always protect their smiles by wearing a sportsguard. There are a variety of options available in local sporting goods stores, but these mouthguards are often uncomfortable leading to lack of compliance. We offer custom crafted sportsguards for our patients that provide superior comfort and increase the likeliness that patients (especially young patients) will wear them consistently.
Unlike traditional x-rays which took a significant amount of time to capture and develop and required special light boards to view, digital x-rays are quickly captured, immediately available for view on a chairside computer monitor where the images can be enhanced for the patient’s benefit, and the files are easily transferred to specialists, insurance providers, and patients. We can also easily compare x-rays between appointments to track potential areas of concern. Most importantly, the digital x-ray images are much higher definition than traditional x-rays making diagnosis and treatment planning more precise.
For those patients in need of more extensive treatment planning for procedures like dental implants or tooth extractions, CT Conebeam imaging allows our team to more precisely plan these treatments as Conebeam images give our team a view of the full mouth and how it works together. Whenever possible, we also recommend patients receive a full 3D scan every three to five years. This allows our team to more accurately diagnose developing dental and oral health concerns.