Your First Visit
Your first visit to the doctor typically includes an x-ray that allows the doctor to view the structure of the jaw, the position of any teeth that have not yet erupted, malformed roots, and tooth decay.
The initial visit also involves getting your medical history. When you share your medical history with the doctor, be sure to provide complete, up-to-date information on your health. Inform your doctor if you have experienced recent hospitalization or surgery, or if you have recently been ill. Also tell the doctor the names, doses, and frequency of any medications you are taking — whether prescription or over-the-counter products — and the name of your physician. Inform the doctor of any changes in your health or medications. This information will help the doctor to select the most safe and effective method of treatment for you.
We encourage regular checkups for individuals age four and up. Most people find that it is valuable to have a checkup at least every six months.
Regular checkups include a thorough cleaning and an oral exam by Dr. Partovy. During the oral exam, Dr. Partovy checks the health of your mouth — teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. At each visit Dr. Partovy also checks old fillings and restorations because constant pressure from chewing, grinding, or clenching can cause them to wear away, chip, or crack.
A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars). This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. Sealants are most effective on primary teeth because these teeth will be replaced by age eleven.
Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque, so sealants are used to protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Sealants work well for all ages. Because the likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life, children and teenagers are obviouscandidates. But, adults can benefit from sealants as well.
Sealants are easy for your dentist to apply. It takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. First, the tooth is cleaned. Next, the chewing surfaces are roughened with an acid solution to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. Then the sealant is ‘painted’ onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.
As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.
Ask your dentist about whether sealants can put extra power behind your prevention program.
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