Preventive Dentistry for Millis, MA
During your checkup appointment, a gentle professional cleaning will be performed by a registered dental hygienist. At each recall appointment, you will be checked for any signs of gum disease and will be screened for oral cancer. We take periodic digital x-rays of your teeth and display the images on a chairside computer monitor. We encourage you to schedule your next periodic cleaning appointment when you leave the office that day. Most patients are seen two times a year at six month intervals, but we customize the frequency of your dental cleaning based on your individual needs and desires.
Check-Ups & Cleanings
The American Dental Association recommends patients visit the dentist two times each year to prevent the most common oral health concerns, keep smiles healthy, and increase the chances that patients retain their natural teeth for life. Dr. Michael H. Davies and the Main Street Dental team couldn’t agree more. While this routine isn’t perfect for every patient, six month checkups and cleanings are a great place to start down the path to optimal oral health. If we notice concerns like severe decay or persistent gum disease, we may recommend more frequent visits to help you improve your dental health before shifting to a regular six month schedule. This is just one more way our team is dedicated to ensuring patients get dental care that meets their unique needs and goals. There’s no such thing as one-size-fits all when it comes to smiles.
Dental Checkups have three main sections:
Diagnostics – before we can build your personalized treatment plan, we have to know what your current oral health looks like. Diagnostic information may include collecting medical and dental health history, x-rays, digital photos, and visual tooth-by-tooth examination. Additionally, we screen patients for tooth decay, gum disease, bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), and oral cancer.
Cleanings – once we have an idea of your current state of oral health, our hygienists thoroughly clean every surface of each tooth getting plaque and tartar out of those places regular brushing and flossing don’t reach. We may also recommend changes to your hygiene routine or specific products that might improve your oral health at this time. If you have questions about keeping your smile clean outside the office, don’t hesitate to ask.
Consultations – finally, Dr. Davies sits down with each patient to discuss what we see in your smile, explain any necessary treatments, and make recommendations for your oral health plan going forward. Most importantly, Dr. Davies takes the time to listen to your concerns, answer questions, and make sure you feel completely comfortable with every part of your treatment plan.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal (gum) disease effects up to 70% of US adults each year, and is the leading cause of tooth loss in patients over the age of 30. In the earliest stages, gum disease irritates patients’ gums causing bleeding, inflammation, and mild discomfort. This mild form of periodontal disease is commonly referred to as gingivitis, and can typically be treated with more frequent professional cleanings and small changes to patients’ at-home care routines. Left untreated, periodontal disease may progress to the more advanced form known as periodontitis. The most common symptoms of advanced periodontal disease are persistent bad breath, bleeding in gums even when tissue is not stimulated, teeth that feel loose, and a bite that doesn’t fit together properly. Treatments for periodontitis are more extensive and may include scaling (removal of plaque and tartar below the gum line), root planing (smoothing root surface to prevent further plaque and tartar buildup), antibiotic therapy, and laser dentistry. In extreme cases, we may refer patients to a periodontist for surgical care.
Nightguards for Bruxism & TMJ
Do you grind or clench your teeth while you sleep, or have difficulty or discomfort when opening your mouth to speak or chew? You may be experiencing bruxism or TMJ. Bruxism is often referred to as teeth grinding. Because patients typically grind or clench teeth during sleep, it can be difficult to prevent or reverse this behavior. Nightguards are custom fitted oral appliances that prevent teeth from grinding and clenching together during sleep, and relieve pain and discomfort associated with this behavior when worn consistently. Nightguards may also be a treatment option for some patients who suffer from TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder occurs when misaligned bite or excessive pressure on the jaw causes strain or other injury to the TMJ joints connecting the jawbone and the skull. Nightguards may help prevent patients from putting excessive pressure on the TMJ during sleep and readjust patients’ bites to more comfortable position.
Dr Adler is a member of the American Academy of Sports Dentistry, an organization dedicated to the treatment and prevention of sports related dental injuries. He fabricates custom-fitted athletic mouthguards for the Millis High School football team and will make an athletic mouthguard for any of his student athlete patients free of charge.
Oral Cancer Screenings
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, cancers of the mouth, throat, and face claim the life of 1 US adult every hour. When called upon to determine the best way to decrease this number, the foundation offered a response that did not surprise many health care providers: early diagnosis is the best way to prevent oral cancer related death. For this reason, oral cancer screenings are a basic part of every six month checkup at Main Street Dental. The process is simple. We examine the surfaces of your mouth, gums, tongue, and throat looking for visible changes in the texture, color, or shape of soft tissues. We also physically palpate your face, neck, and throat, gently feeling for out of the ordinary bumps or lumps.
We welcome patients of all ages, and offer comprehensive dental care to meet the wide variety of patients’ needs at different stages in dental development. We recommend that patients begin seeing our team two times each year around the age of three. If you notice concerns with your child’s teeth or gums prior to this age, please feel free to schedule an appointment. In order to begin building positive associations with the dentists’ office, we also encourage patients to bring their children along to watch a regular checkup and teeth cleaning. This allows little ones to get used to the sights, sounds, smells, and dental care providers they’ll interact with. We refer to this non-treatment appointment as a Happy Visit. We may take a quick look at your child’s smile to make sure we don’t notice any signs for concern, but the entire process will be quick and painless. No need for stress. Regular appointments beginning at age three are very similar to adult visits including tooth-by-tooth inspection and periodontal examination. We’ll also keep an eye on developing primary and permanent teeth, and make recommendations for treatment if we notice any areas for concern.
As your child’s smile grows, we recommend six month checkups and hygiene appointments, and we typically take diagnostic x-rays at least once each year. During these visits, our goal is to help your child develop naturally healthy, beautiful smiles. We may demonstrate proper at-home flossing and brushing styles, and ask you to help kids keep up the good work outside the office. We may also recommend dental sealants to block out bacteria and plaque that lead to tooth decay, and fluoride treatments to fortify tooth enamel by attracting minerals that strengthen teeth. Fluoride treatments may be especially helpful if your child drinks mostly bottled water since these waters do not contain fluoride. We may also suggest non-topical fluoride for those patients who are not absorbing adequate amounts of fluoridated water or other minerals to help their developing teeth.
Whatever age your child is, it’s never too soon to start down the road to a life time of happy, healthy smiles. Contact our friendly team to find out more about a Happy Visit, express concerns about your child’s smile, or to schedule your little one’s first visit at Main Street Dental. In rare cases, we refer children to a pediatric dentistry specialist, but whenever possible, we try to keep your child with our team so we can help them comfortably transition from one stage of dental development to the next without having to change practices which is ideal to ensure your child’s comfort and improved convenience for the whole family.
Sedation dentistry sometimes sounds stressful to patients. Being asleep or out of control during treatment doesn’t appeal to everyone, but in most cases, a minimal amount of sedation helps to ensure patients remain comfortable throughout treatment. We offer three levels of sedation at Main Street Dental:
- Local anesthesia – typically using Novocain, we numb the area that will be directly affected by treatment in order to minimize pain during and after the procedure.
- Nitrous oxide – inhaled through the nose throughout the procedure with easily adjusted dosage, nitrous oxide takes effect quickly and wears off within minutes making it easy for patients to drive to and from their appointment. This is a great option for patients who are mildly anxious about dental care, and for those who have sensitive teeth, gums, or gag reflex.
- Oral conscious sedation – using an oral medication, this sedation option allows patients a heightened level of relaxation that begins before they ever arrive at our office, and lasts for several hours following care. This is a great option for those patients who are very fearful of the dentist or who need numerous or complex treatments. With oral conscious sedation, patients should plan to have a trusted friend or family member transport them to and from our office, and avoid driving or returning to regular daily activities for at least 12 to 24 hours from the time they take their medication.