Cleanings & Prevention

Shoal Creek Dental Care Cleanings & Prevention

It is no secret that daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing practices are good for your teeth. After all, dentists have been preaching the benefits of good oral hygiene for generations. However, many don’t realize that these practices are just the beginning and that regular visits to a professional for cleanings and exams are key to maintaining optimal oral health.

If you live in North Shoal Creek, Balcones, Jollyville, Allendale, or Northwest Hills and would like to schedule a dental exam and cleaning, contact our office today!


The Importance of a Regular Dental Exam

smiling woman having having her teeth examined by dentist in clinic

Dental exams start with a series of x-rays that are quick, painless, non-invasive, and produce high-quality images that allow our team to accurately diagnose any potential issues or concerns. We also administer a thorough oral cancer screening. All of this information allows us to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that meets your unique needs. Each part of your exam serves an important purpose.

Examination of dental x-rays: We use x-rays to check for the development of decay, cysts, tumors, and bone loss. X-rays also help us to see the exact placement of your teeth and their roots.

Oral cancer screening: We check the soft tissues of your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, and gums for any signs of oral cancer. Early detection is important when treating oral cancer, and routine oral cancer screenings are essential to this. Your risk of oral cancer may be higher if you frequently consume tea or coffee that is hotter than 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or if you smoke or chew tobacco. Oral cancer is very dangerous, so catching it early is critical to effective treatment.

Examination of tooth decay: We check all surfaces of your teeth for signs of decay using special dental instruments. If left undetected, tooth decay may develop into dental caries (cavities), which can lead to painful toothaches or the need for root canal therapy.

Examination of existing restorations: If you have any existing restorations such as fillings, crowns, veneers, implants, etc., we will check them to see if they require repair, adjustment, or replacement. Each of these restorations should last many years if properly cared for, but due to normal wear and tear, they may eventually require attention.

Gum disease examination: We examine your gums and the bone around your teeth for any indications of periodontal disease. Nearly 50 percent of people have gum disease and remain unaware of it. Gum disease can lead to receding gum lines and tooth loss if not treated promptly. Studies have even linked gum disease to the development of other more serious health problems in other parts of the body, including heart disease, diabetes, and bacterial pneumonia.

Professional Dental Cleaning

Dental cleanings are typically performed by one of our skilled hygienists. Our cleaning appointments include a full dental examination, in addition to all the following:

Removal of calculus (tartar): We carefully remove any hardened plaque deposits which have accumulated on the surface of your teeth. These deposits can gather above and below the gum line, and we remove them using special dental instruments. The removal of these deposits is important because it can reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay, both of which can lead to serious oral health problems later.

Removal of plaque: We also remove the sticky substance known as plaque from your teeth. Plaque is composed of a colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. These bacteria produce toxins (poisons), which inflame the gums and lead to periodontal disease.

Teeth polishing: We remove any stains and plaque that were not removed during brushing and scaling and polish the teeth using a rotary brush and polishing paste. This treatment smooths the tooth surface and makes them feel as clean as they look.

SOLEA® Dental Laser for More Effective Treatments

laser dentistry equipment

This modern dentistry method utilizes intense beams of light projected by a dental laser. Laser dentistry is a quite remarkable technology which is leaps and bounds ahead of conventional methods in many ways.

In recent years, laser dentistry has superseded many conventional dentistry practices. Lasers  make treatments less painful and more precise, reducing discomfort and bleeding in the process. This advanced tool also helps to reduce treatment and recovery times and makes much less noise and vibration than traditional drills, which can drastically reduce dental anxiety.

We also use lasers for soft tissue shaping and removal. Dental lasers are far more precise than conventional methods, so they allow us to work on very specific areas with precision and accuracy. If you need a treatment that requires soft tissue shaping or removal, ask about dental laser treatment options. The Solea laser can also be used for:

Whitening: Lasers greatly expedite the teeth whitening process by elevating the activity of particles in the peroxide bleaching solution.

Tooth preparation: Before laser dentistry, a drill would be used to prepare a tooth for a filling. Today, lasers eliminate the need for drilling and anesthesia. They also successfully kill oral bacteria around the surgical area.

Frenectomy: Lasers can be used to improve the speech and eating abilities of babies, children, and adults by untying the tongue.

Tumor removal: When a benign tumor has developed in the tissue of the mouth, a dental laser can completely remove it while minimizing discomfort in the process.

Biopsy: Lasers can also be used to perform an instant, high-precision biopsy on suspicious areas of soft tissue.

Reshaping soft tissue: A dental laser can be used to dissolve soft tissue to expose more of the natural tooth (crown lengthening). It can also reshape soft tissue to make “gummy smiles” more attractive and remove uncomfortable soft tissue folds created by wearing dentures.

What is Involved in a Laser Dentistry Procedure?

wide smile of young woman with great white smile

There are different types of dental lasers which are used to treat various conditions. The most popular types of dental laser are the carbon dioxide laser and the diode laser, which are frequently used to treat both hard and soft tissue. Solea is an isotropic CO2 laser, which is different from typical carbon dioxide lasers used to treat gums or remove decayed enamel. Solea is the first laser of its kind approved by the FDA for such a vast array of treatments.

Laser beams are extremely bright, so special glasses are used to protect your eyes during a dental laser procedure. We will direct the beam at the affected area to carefully dissolve the soft tissue, harden fillings, or whiten teeth.

A dental laser procedure will typically take far less time than its conventional alternative, causing less discomfort and anxiety as well. Laser procedures may cost more in some cases, but for most patients, the numerous and clear upsides of dental lasers are well worth the cost.

Lasers for Periodontal Treatment.

Closeup of happy young man looking at camera at home

We can use dental lasers to address a wide variety of oral health issues to improve your gum health and repair damage. Gum disease and gum recession can create areas that collect infection. Lasers can gently and effectively burst through these infected pockets and kill bacteria and smooth out the tooth surface. A smooth surface helps healthy tissue re-grow and attach so there are no more pockets and gums look and feel healthier.

When you choose a dental office that uses the latest in laser technology, you benefit from the best and most modern dental treatment technology available today. We are committed to delivering the best and most advanced dental care available, and dental laser technology is one of the tools which helps make that possible.

If you have any questions about laser dentistry or are interested in a procedure, contact our office today! We’d be happy to help.

Professional Fluoride Treatments

Dental caries, or cavities, are caused by the growth of bacteria on the teeth and gums. These bacteria congregate in a sticky substance known as plaque, which accumulates on the teeth. Good oral hygiene and routine dental visits can help prevent plaque buildup and keep your gums and teeth healthy.

three happy children having fun in spring

If you or a family member are at a high risk of developing tooth decay, a professional fluoride treatment may help. Professional treatments are much stronger than fluoride found in toothpaste or mouthwashes found at your local store or pharmacy.

Fluoride treatments can be especially beneficial to children and teens because tooth decay often develops during these younger years. Children and teens also tend to consume a lot of snacks and sugary beverages, which can result in plaque buildup and harmful bacteria. The bacteria produce acidic secretions which eat into the enamel, causing tooth decay. Fluoride treatments can provide a protective barrier and reduce the risk of cavities.

A professional fluoride treatment usually takes just a few minutes. The fluoride may be applied via a gel, foam, or varnish. It is usually applied using a cotton swab or brush. It may also be administered in the form of a rinse or placed in a tray which is held in the mouth for several minutes. You should not eat or drink anything for about half an hour after the treatment. This allows your teeth to absorb the fluoride and penetrate any microscopic decay areas that had begun to form.

How Often Should I Have Dental Fluoride Treatment?

Depending on your unique dental history and health, we may recommend fluoride treatments every three, six, or twelve months. We may also recommend various at-home preventive measures if you are prone to tooth decay, including fluoride mouth rinses, gels, or antibacterial mouth rinses.

Optimal Oral Health Begins at Home

The most important thing you can do at home to reduce your risk of developing tooth decay is to maintain a healthy diet low in sugar and be consistent with daily brushing and flossing habits. Regular dental visits are also a vital part of a good preventative strategy.

At Shoal Creek Dental Care, we have been helping patients from all around the North Austin area maintain good oral hygiene and prevent cavities for many years, and we look forward to helping you keep your smile healthy. Contact our office today to schedule your first appointment!