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Preventive Dental Care

Cleanings

Practicing good oral hygiene means maintaining your smile by visiting the dentist regularly and taking care of your teeth and gums between checkups. Our practice wants to make sure that you get the most out of your office visits, and that your teeth stay healthy for life!

We’ll work with you to provide complete dental care and show you how to maintain your smile at home with the right dental products for you and your family.

Dental Cleanings and Regular Checkups

Regular dental checkups are an important part of maintaining your oral health. During your regular checkup, your hygienist will:

  • Check for any problems that you may not see or feel
  • Look for cavities or any other signs of tooth decay
  • Inspect your teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
  • Provide thorough teeth cleaning, rinse, and polish

Visiting the dentist every six months gives you the chance to talk with your doctor and receive answers for any questions you may have about your oral health. Checkups are also a great way for you to find out about new treatments that may benefit your smile.

Choosing the Right Toothpaste and Toothbrush

From toothpaste and mouthwash to toothbrushes and dental floss, it’s important to choose the right products for your smile. Keep in mind that when you’re looking for a new toothpaste or toothbrush be sure to choose one that has been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Your dentist can also help by recommending certain dental products for use at home.

Learn More

Did you know that at birth, people already have 20 primary (baby) teeth that begin erupting after six months and that by age 21 there are no more primary teeth, and all 32 permanent teeth have erupted?
Getting to know your teeth can be fun and educational!

Gum Disease

Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease and is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. Gum disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults, and because it is virtually pain-free, many patients do not know they have the disease. During each regular checkup, your dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth). If the plaque is not removed (by flossing, brushing, and regular dental checkups), it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. Periodontal disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.

  • Gingivitis — This is the early stage of gum disease, when the gums become red and swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
  • Periodontitis — If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, and the gums and bone that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or be removed by a dentist.

Certain factors can increase a patient’s risk of developing periodontal disease, including:

  • Smoking or using chewing tobacco
  • Diabetes
  • Certain types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
  • Bridges that no longer fit properly
  • Crooked teeth
  • Old fillings
  • Pregnancy

While it is possible to have periodontal disease and not know it, some symptoms can include:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • 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

Treating Gum Disease

Treatments for gum disease can vary depending on the severity of each individual case. Typical treatments include:

  • Non-surgical treatments such as at-home periodontal trays, and scaling and root planning (deep cleaning)
  • Periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery
  • Dental implants

Preventing Gum Disease

Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Remember to brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits to help keep your smile healthy.

Fluoride

You brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and visit the dentist every six months, but did you know that rinsing with fluoride — a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay — also helps keep your teeth healthy and strong?

Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay by coating your teeth and preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface.

Fluoride comes in two varieties, topical and systemic:

  • Topical fluoride is applied directly to the tooth and includes toothpaste and mouth rinses.
  • Systemic fluorides are generally only used by your dentist and are not often available for at-home use. Systemic fluoride treatments are generally designed to help protect the oral health of children undergoing dental procedures. Fluoride used in the dentist/orthodontists office is often a much stronger concentration than in toothpaste or mouthwash but is available at some drug stores or a pharmacy (ask your dentist before purchasing professional strength fluoride).

Receiving a fluoride treatment from your dentist

A fluoride treatment in your dentist’s office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or your doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months. Your doctor may also prescribe an at-home fluoride product such as a mouthwash, gel, or antibacterial rinse.

How to choose the right fluoride treatment

When choosing your own at-home fluoride product (such as toothpaste or mouthwash), always check for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined by the ADA and approved based on safety and effectiveness. Take care of your teeth and smile bright with dental fluoride treatments!

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