Healthy Teeth for Your Whole Family
Preventative dentistry involves everything we do to keep your teeth healthy. This includes routine cleaning and tooth maintenance before problems like cavities and tooth decay even have a chance to form. With good dental care and direction, we can reach this goal together.
See us for regular cleanings and health assessments for your whole family, and don’t forget that the most important part of dental health if daily brushing and flossing.
- Prevent disease through regular exams and teeth cleanings.
- Detect cancer in its early and most treatable stages with an oral cancer screening.
- Learn how to properly brush your teeth by asking about our brushing tips.
- Learn how to properly floss your teeth by asking about our flossing tips.
Exams & Cleanings
Good for More Than Just Your Teeth
When you visit our Willits office for your routine check-up, our team does a lot more than just looking for cavities. In addition to caring for your teeth, we’re giving you the next best thing to a physical check-up. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen your family physician, it could prove to be a lifesaver.
How’s That Possible?
Your mouth is a unique combination of teeth, skin, muscle, fluids, and germs. It gives us a chance to look inside your body without surgery.
Over forty serious diseases, including bulimia, tumors, and AIDS can be detected by looking at your mouth. The texture, color, and condition of your tongue and gums can be evidence of high blood pressure or osteoporosis.
That’s why we encourage you to see a dentist twice a year, especially if you don’t get annual physical examinations. We’re here to make sure your teeth and the rest of your body stay in great shape.
Oral Cancer Screening
Early Detection Is the Key to Successful Treatment
Oral cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world. It kills about one-third of patients diagnosed with it, and 28,000 new cases occur each year.
25% of oral cancers occur in people who don’t smoke or have other lifestyle risks.
Trouble Spots and Oral Lesions
If you experience any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment.
- Red or white spots you haven’t noticed before
- Small sores in your mouth that linger
- Unexplained swelling
- Discoloration, even if it doesn’t hurt.
Most oral lesions are harmless. A piece of crusty French bread with can be enough scratch delicate tissues. But if you use tobacco and alcohol, have or have had HPV, or are being treated for any number of systemic diseases—diabetes, autoimmune disorders among them—that harmless irritation is a red flag.
During your appointment, we’ll take a closer look. When we find a lesion, suspicious or not, we check it to be safe.
Facts About Oral Cancer
- Accounts for 6% of all cancers
- Symptoms: white spots on gums, sores that won’t heal
- Typical victims: smokeless tobacco users; older men; alcohol drinkers
- More than 25% of cases occur in non-smokers under 40
- HPV plays a role in more than 20% of cases
- First to notice symptoms: often, the family dentist
- Early detection can lead to life-saving treatment
Best Techniques for Brushing
An effective, easy to remember technique is to use a circular motion to brush a couple of teeth at a time, gradually brushing your entire mouth. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle and gently brush in a circular motion.
Using a back and forth motion causes the gum to recede or can expose the root or make the root tender.
Soft or Hard Bristles?
Your toothbrush should have soft nylon bristles with round ends. Some brushes are too abrasive and can wear down teeth, so we don’t recommend medium or hard bristles.
A brush with soft, rounded, and multi-tufted bristles cleans effectively without causing damage. Electric toothbrushes are also effective. The bristles of an electric brush should be placed against your teeth and gums and moved systematically over your teeth to the brush can do its job.
How Long Should I Brush?
We generally recommend brushing 3-4 minutes—the length of an average song. Even if you think you’re brushing longer, most people spend less than a minute brushing.
Should I Brush at Work?
It’s a good idea to keep a toothbrush in your desk because getting debris off of your teeth right away stops sugary snacks from turning into damaging acids.
If you brush with fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before going to bed, you don’t even need to use toothpaste during the day. You can just brush and rinse. If you don’t have a toothbrush with you, you can rinse your mouth with water for 30 seconds after lunch.
Tips to Improve Your Brushing Habits
- Post a sticky note on your desk or computer at work as a reminder to brush teeth after lunch.
- Brush teeth right after lunch, before you get back to work.
- Store a toothbrush and toothpaste at work in a convenient and handy place.
- Make brushing your teeth part of your freshening up routine at work.
Should I Floss?
Yes. Flossing removes plaque and debris that stick to teeth and gums in between teeth, polishes tooth surfaces, and controls bad breath. Flossing the most important weapon against plaque, even more than brushing.
Many people don’t spend enough time flossing or brushing or have never been how to do either correctly. When you visit us, ask us to show you how.
How Should I Floss?
There are two flossing methods: the spool method and the loop method.
- Spool method: take an 18-inch piece of floss and wind the bulk of it lightly around the middle finger (make sure you don’t just off your finger’s circulation). Wind the rest around the same finger on the other hand. Move the floss between teeth with your index fingers and thumbs. Don’t pull it down hard against your gums or you’ll hurt them. Don’t rub the floss side to side. Instead, bring the floss up and down several times forming a “C” shape around the tooth and below the gumline.
- Loop method: This method is better for children or adults who are less nimble or have poor muscular coordination or arthritis. Take an 18-inch piece of floss and make it into a circle. Tie it with three knots. Place all of your fingers, except the thumb, within the loop. Use your index finger to guide the floss through the lower teeth, and use your thumbs to guide the floss through the upper teeth. Make sure you form a “C” on the side of the tooth and go below the gum line.
How Often Should I Floss?
At least once a day. It should take 2-3 minutes.
What About Floss Holders?
Floss holders are a good choice for those who are just beginning to floss, those with limited dexterity, and caretakers who are flossing someone else’s teeth. However, anyone can use them if they prefer.