Preventative Dental Care
Regular checkups and digital x-rays are fundamental for the best possible oral health. As your choice for family dentist in Gladstone, McDowell Dentistry will determine what type of cleaning is best for your individual dental needs, recommending that each patient visit our office every six months. For those with specialized treatment needs, visits may be scheduled more frequently as needed.
Dr. McDowell may decide that fluoride should be part of your overall treatment. Fluoride treatments re-mineralize teeth, stop developing cavities and make your teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque, bacteria, and sugars in the mouth. A patient’s medication may be a determining factor for fluoride treatment.
Our goal is to help keep your teeth and mouth clean and healthy. You’ll find that our hygienists do a great job of communicating with you during your appointment so you feel more at ease.
The dental hygiene process of care has five steps:
- Assessment: Gathering data about each individual patient.
- Dental Hygiene Diagnosis: Interpreting data into a coherent description of a patient’s condition in terms that can be addressed by a dental hygienist.
- Planning: Determining the technical dental procedures that will meet each patient’s specific needs, solve the problems indicated in the dental hygiene diagnosis and the order in which those techniques will be applied.
- Implementation: Communicating the options and procedures with patients, listening to and addressing individual concerns, making a plan of dental treatment and following through with that plan.
- Evaluation: Determining the effectiveness of the work that was performed.
- Over a period of months or years, a dental hygienist may have evaluated his or her work several times, altering the diagnosis and plan numerous times as each patient’s condition changes.
Sealants seal the pit and fissures of your permanent molars and premolars to prevent the cavity bugs from getting to them. Food particles and plaque collect in the grooves of your teeth that often cannot be reached by regular brushing and flossing. In these cases, sealants can be applied, effectively sealing the deep grooves and protecting tooth enamel from plaque and resulting decay.
At McDowell Dentistry, Dr. McDowell can provide this simple procedure in one visit, in which a tooth-colored acrylic coating is painted onto the surface of the tooth. Generally, sealants take only a few minutes to apply, wear well under ordinary circumstances, and can last several years before a reapplication is needed. Sealants are recommended for newly-developed teeth as well as for prevention in adult teeth.
McDowell Dentistry offers you and your team a chance to keep your teeth safe during athletic practices and competitions. We make custom mouth guards that fit precisely to your teeth and bite. They’re extremely comfortable, provide superior protection and allow you to be understood when speaking. A properly fitting mouth guard can lessen the chance of a concussion.
The cost for the custom mouth guard is $30. Have a parent or guardian call us today!
When your gums are tender, swollen or bleed easily, you may have gingivitis. At McDowell Dentistry, we believe it is important to treat periodontal disease symptoms so that they don’t get worse.
Some patients have special conditions that need special attention. The screening process (probing) evaluates each patient’s jaw bone level and support around each tooth. If disease is prominent in an area (a single tooth or multiple teeth) a procedure called Scaling and Root Planing will be needed to remove areas of bacterial colonization (calculus and plaque). A follow up appointment and more frequent hygiene appointments will be required to keep your oral health at its optimum state.
Here are ways you can help prevent periodontal disease:
- Be sure to brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss or other interdental devices.
- If you need extra help in controlling plaque and gingivitis, your dentist may recommend that you use an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
- Regular dental visits and professional cleanings are essential.
- Eat a balanced diet for good general health and limit snacks.
- It’s essential to keep periodontal disease at bay because patients with this condition can be at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), adverse pregnancy outcomes, diabetes, pulmonary disease, stroke, and prostate cancer. This is especially true as epidermiologic data estimate that approximately 60 million adults in the US have moderate to advanced periodontitis.
In advanced periodontitis, teeth lose more support as the disease continues to destroy the periodontal ligament and bone. Unless treated, the affected teeth frequently become loose, infected, and may even fall out or require removal by a dentist.
How would I know if I had periodontal disease?
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gums are red, swollen, or tender
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Pus between the teeth when the gums are pressed
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures.
Scaling and root planing is a common treatment for periodontal disease. This method allows Dr. McDowell and a registered dental hygienist to provide a deeper cleaning between the compromised teeth and gums, preventing progression of the disease.
Dr. McDowell provides preventive, restorative, and full-mouth restoration work for adults with special needs. We work at Legacy Emmanuel Hospital, which provides a controlled environment that is safe and clean. For more information, please call us at 503-655-4111.
Coming in for your check-up is a great way to prevent oral cancer. At McDowell Dentistry, we have a variety of tests that help us detect oral cancer.
Oral Cancer: Who’s at risk?
Doctors cannot always explain why one person develops oral cancer and another does not. However, we do know that this disease is not contagious and does not discriminate. You cannot “catch” oral cancer from another person. Research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop oral cancer. A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of developing a disease.
The following are risk factors for oral cancer:
- Tobacco: Tobacco use accounts for most oral cancers. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes; using chewing tobacco; and dipping snuff are all linked to oral cancer.
- Alcohol: People who drink alcohol are more likely to develop oral cancer than people who don’t drink. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol that a person consumes. The risk increases even more if the person both drinks alcohol and uses tobacco.
- Sun: Cancer of the lip can be caused by exposure to the sun. Using a lotion or lip balm that has a sunscreen can reduce the risk.
A personal history of head and neck cancer.
At McDowell Dentistry, we have also observed the negative consequences of oral piercing. Although it has increased in popularity, many people aren’t aware of the following risks associated with oral piercing:
- Swelling and/or Infection
- Localized and systemic nerve damage
- Fractured teeth or dental work
- Excessive salivation and drooling
- Gingival recession
- Alteration of taste
- Interference with speech, chewing, or swallowing
- Scar tissue
- Sensitivity or allergic reaction to metal
- Prolonged bleeding following the procedure
- Airway obstruction caused by swelling, ingestion or aspiration of jewelry
- If you happen to see any lesion, discoloration or anything unusual in your mouth, contact McDowell Family and Cosmetic Dentistry at 503-655-4111 for a personal consultation.
We welcome you and your children to come in and experience our office before their first real dental appointment. We’ll let your child sit in the chair, see the dental instruments and talk with you about general dental care.
Meet Dr. McDowell and the rest of our friendly staff while comfortably talking about your dental questions. Your child will have their teeth counted, learn about the instruments, and even try on dental glasses.
In these examples on the left showing regular baby teeth (include photos) to extreme decay, you can see why dental care is very important from an early age.
Ways to Prevent Early Decay
- Put only water in a bedtime or nap time bottle.
- Never use a nursing bottle-filled with sweet liquid (including milk and fruit juice) as a pacifier.
- Never dip your infant’s pacifier in honey, syrup, or sugar.
- After each feeding, wipe your infant’s gums and teeth with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze pad.
- As soon as the first tooth appears, brush your child’s teeth daily with a child-size toothbrush.
- Make sure your child gets the fluoride needed for decay-resistant teeth.
- Take your child to see your dentist by the first birthday.
Call McDowell Dentistry at 503-655-4111 to schedule this complimentary happy visit. We look forward to meeting you!