Your dental health is an important part of your overall wellness, and the New Year is a great time to create resolutions for improving your health. Many people have dental health resolutions that range from improving their toothbrushing habits to completing delayed dental treatment, such as that crown or bridge that has been put off.
Routine Dental Visits
A resolution to make routine visits to the dentist may help prevent oral disease or reveal an existing disease in its early stage. Dental visits should take place every six months to allow your dentist and dental hygienists to monitor the condition of your oral cavity and develop an appropriate treatment plan to meet your wants and needs.
Ask About Silver Diamine Fluoride
For more than 80 years, dentists in Japan have been using silver diamine fluoride (SDF) to help reverse and prevent tooth decay, but until just recently, there hadn’t been a way for North American dentists to effectively reverse tooth decay without using a drill. Now approved by the FDA, silver diamine fluoride combines the antimicrobial properties of silver with the re-mineralizing ability of fluoride. With its one-two punch, SDF actually kills the bacteria that causes tooth decay while protecting the tooth from further bacterial invasions.
Silver diamine fluoride 38% is being used for protection on high-risk sites. Silver penetrates into and remains on the surface of healthy dentin and/or enamel, providing anti-microbial biofilm resistance. This is particularly valuable in furcations, food traps, root surfaces, and newly erupted occlusal surfaces difficult to dry and isolate for sealants.
Silver diamine fluoride is appropriate for: patients with high risk sites, exposed root surfaces, furcations, deep pits/fissures, food traps, sites sensitive to hot/cold, and “watch spots.”
Cavity active patients: Primary, permanent or Class V decay, incipient decay, interproximal decay, elderly patients with secondary decay (multiple medications), special needs patients, decay close to the pulp.
The New Year may be the right time to start or complete deferred restorative dental work, such as crowns, implants or fillings. Completing these types of procedures will help you to preserve the tooth structure and to maintain proper tooth alignment, which could ultimately improve your oral health.
Replacing missing teeth with a dental implant, bridge, full or partial denture helps promote dental health. Filling in empty spaces in the mouth can help prevent cavities in the remaining teeth because odd-shaped gaps are vulnerable spots for plaque-causing bacteria to build up. Missing teeth also put extra stress on your remaining natural teeth because you don’t have as much surface area to chew with.
Keep in mind that dental fillings break down, so now may also be a good time to have old fillings checked. Fillings have a life expectancy of 8-10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.
Be sure to include better oral health on your list of this year’s resolutions. Most dental insurance company’s benefits for the year kick in on January 1st, so now is the time to plan a visit to the dentist to get started.