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Dental Hygiene & Prevention

Dr. Derham  Encourages Good Dental (Oral) Hygiene because dental hygiene is considered to be the best means of prevention of cavities and other dental disorders. Good dental hygiene prevents, and is vital to the treatment of, many of the dental and oral disorders.

Dental hygiene consists of both Personal and Professional care an good oral hygiene results in healthy teeth and mouth. Careful and frequent tooth brushing and flossing help to prevent build-up of plaque and calculus (tartar), which can lead to cavities. Cavities can be costly, in terms of the monetary cost to drill out the cavities and insert dental fillings, and in terms of damaged tissue.

Digital Radiographs

Digital Radiograph imageDigital radiographs are one of the newest X-ray techniques around. With digital radiographs, film is replaced with a flat electronic pad or sensor. The X-rays hit the pad the same way they hit the film. But instead of developing the film in a dark room, the image is electronically sent directly to a computer where the image appears on the screen.

Panoramic Radiographs

Panoramic RadiographPanoramic radiographs show the entire mouth area – all teeth on both upper and lower jaws – on a single X-ray.

This type of X-ray requires a special panoramic X-ray machine. The machines may have chin rests, forehead rests, and side head positioners, plus bite-blocks that patients will be asked to close their teeth around. All this may look and feel intimidating, but the process is very safe and often uses less radiation than intraoral radiographs.


Dental scaling of teethWithout proper cleaning and dental visits plaque and tartar build up in the mouth and collect at an area just below the gum line called the sulcus. Eventually this buildup will cause the gums to move away from the teeth forming pockets in the mouth. These pockets fill with even more plaque. This buildup can lead to periodontal or gum disease. The amount of times you will need to return to your dentist depends on how widespread your case of periodontis or gum disease is.

Dental Exam

Dental Exam AppointmentDentists recommend that you have a check up every six months so that any early decay can be spotted before it gets the chance to cause a lot of damage. The examination also makes sure that your gums are nice and healthy as in later years most teeth are lost to gum disease. It is still important to visit the dentist even if you wear dentures.


Once all the surfaces are smooth, the dental hygienist may polish your teeth. Polishing is done using a slow speed handpiece with a soft rubber cup that spins on the end. Prophylaxis (short for prophy) paste – a special gritty toothpaste-like material – is scooped up like ice cream into the cup and spun around on the teeth to make them shiny smooth.


Fluoride works by making the outer layer of teeth (called tooth enamel) stronger. When the outer layer is strong, teeth are less likely to get cavities.

Fluoride is provided mainly through drinking water, toothpaste, mouthwash, supplements (chewable tablets or drops), and other materials such as gels and rinses that may be applied during your visit to the dentist.

Prevention and Home Care

Home dental prevention

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
  • Ask your doctor if your medicines have side effects that might damage your teeth. (For example, some medicines may cause you to have a dry mouth.)
  • Look inside your mouth regularly for sores that don’t heal, irritated gums or other changes.
  • See your dentist regularly.
  • If you have any problems with your teeth or concerns about your mouth, see your doctor or dentist right away.

Dental Sealants

Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are usually placed on the chewing (occlusal) surface of the permanent back teeth — the molars and premolars — to help protect them from decay. The chewing surfaces of the molar and premolar teeth have grooves — “fissures” — that make them vulnerable to decay. These fissures can be deep, are difficult to clean,  Plaque accumulates in these areas, and the acid from bacteria in the plaque attacks the enamel and cavities can develop. 

Dental sealants provide extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas by providing a smooth surface covering over the fissured area.  The first dental sealant to be placed is usually on the fissure of the first permanent molar tooth, once the chewing surface of the tooth has erupted completely beyond the gum