Restore & Enhance Smiles

Walnut Creek Prosthodontics

Dental Exams, Cleanings & Disease Prevention

A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by Dr. Barmby or Dr. Frick at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:

  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
  • Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay using intraoral magnification. Modern dentistry understands better than ever before why some patients have frequent episodes of new tooth decay, and others do not. Caries (decay) management by risk assessment (CAMBRA) is the modern protocol which incorporates anti-bacterial rinses re-mineralization techniques and dietary recommendations into a winning strategy for a caries free mouth.
  • Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns or dentures for serviceability.

A professional dental cleaning (dental prophylaxis) will be performed by a Registered Dental Hygienist. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam, periodontal screening, necessary radiographs and the following:

  • Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease.
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist or dental hygienist during a periodontal examination. An evaluation of your periodontal health includes tissue pocket depths, inflammation, amount of bleeding, and tooth mobility.

  • Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Plaque and its toxin by products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed.
  • Periodontitis As calculus and plaque continue to build up, the gums begin to recede form the teeth. Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and become filled with bacteria and pus. The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily. Slight to moderate bone loss may be present.
  • Advanced Periodontitis occurs when the teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed. Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and may be lost. Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present.

With prompt preventative and or periodontal treatment, proper home care and regular dental visits, most patients can achieve and maintain a healthy mouth for a lifetime.