Preventive Dentistry from Your Family Dentist in Ken Caryl & Littleton
Historically, patients sought dental care only in response to pain or damage, but as a result of years of research and changing treatment philosophies, dentists have shifted their focus to the prevention of major oral health issues before they have the opportunity to damage smiles. At Blue Sage Dental, we are dedicated to helping our patients keep their smiles whole and healthy for a lifetime. Littleton family dentist, Dr. Susan Kutis and her dental team provide a variety of preventive dentistry services, and the foundation of every treatment plan is twice a year checkups and teeth cleanings. Contact us to find out more or schedule your checkup today.
Dental Checkups & Cleanings
Many times biennial preventive dentistry appointments are referred to as “routine,” but at Blue Sage Dental, our thorough checkups are anything but routine. We consider prevention to be the key to helping patients keep their smiles whole and healthy for a lifetime, and ensure optimal health and well-being for our patients.
Every one we treat has a unique set of dental care needs, but we all need to attend regular preventive examinations in order to allow Dr. Kutis and her team to become familiar with these needs and offer a superior level of care. Our checkups include digital x-rays that expose patients to the lowest doses of radiation and produce high definition images of the underlying dental structures, periodontal charting to determine the patient's risk for gum disease, and a consultation with Dr. Kutis to develop a personalized plan for ongoing care.
Before you leave, Dr. Kutis or any of her team members will be happy to answer questions, listen to your treatment goals or concerns, and provide education to help you maximize your at home hygiene routine. Patients should plan to be at our office for about an hour and half for this initial appointment.
In recent years, dental sealants have gained popularity as one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay especially for younger patients who are still developing their oral hygiene routines. Sealants are a thin, clear coating of plastic material that prevents decay causing plaque and bacteria from accessing tooth enamel causing cavities. Dental sealants can be quickly and painlessly placed during any regular dental checkup. We simply paint a thin coat of sealant over teeth and let it seep into deep pits and grooves in the biting surfaces. Then, we harden it into position using a curing light. Once in place, dental sealants may last up to ten years with proper care, protecting teeth from plaque and tartar. While sealants are traditionally considered a preventive treatment for younger patients, we may recommend them for adults who experience frequent decay.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ/TMD) occurs when the joints connecting the jaw to the skull are strained or damaged due to over use, excessive force during chewing, or unconscious teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism). We are happy to offer oral appliance therapy to care for patients suffering from TMJ dysfunction or who grind and clench their teeth at night which exposes them to risk for TMD and other oral health concerns. These oral appliances work by positioning the jaws in their ideal alignment, which relieves the strain to the TMJ reducing unconscious teeth grinding that occurs due to discomfort in the jaw joints. These custom-crafted oral appliances also place a barrier between teeth protecting them from breakage and wear that may be caused by bruxism.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Dr. Kutis is a strong proponent for oral cancer screenings as part of every dental checkup. Many patients believe they only need screenings if they use tobacco, but more than 25% of patients diagnosed with oral cancer do not engage in any of the high risk behaviors including tobacco use. Dr. Kutis has published her research into oral cancer and the benefit of preventive screenings in Dental magazine, and she continues to be passionate about this topic and further her research into oral cancer. It’s no surprise that Dr. Kutis recommends oral cancer screenings for all of her patients, and conducts a thorough examination of patients’ mouths, throats, necks, and face looking for warning signs of oral cancer including:
- Discolored soft tissue
- Inflamed soft tissue
- Sores that don’t heal within a reasonable time frame
- Flat white or red bumps inside patients’ mouths
- Knots or swelling
- Difficulty breathing, eating, or swallowing
- Persistent sore throat or cough
As teeth develop, it's essential that children receive adequate fluoride from the water they drink or foods they eat in order to develop strong, healthy teeth. In some cases, we may recommend fluoride supplements. However, once teeth erupt from the gum line, topical fluoride is necessary to fortify tooth enamel. Most patients achieve successful enamel strength with fluoride absorbed during daily brushing and flossing, but those patients who are prone to decay or weakened enamel may need professional fluoride treatments to ensure their teeth remain strong and healthy.
Gum Disease Treatment
Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most prevalent oral health concerns in the US. Effecting more than 50% of US adults, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults over the age of 35. While these numbers are striking, possibly the most striking fact is that periodontal disease should be 100% preventable. With regular preventive checkups and thorough at-home hygiene, we are typically able to keep patients’ gums healthy. If we diagnose gum disease in the mild form, gingivitis, more frequent professional cleanings may be adequate to restore oral health. As gingivitis advances to the more severe periodontitis, we may need to perform more extensive scaling and root planing or topical antibiotic therapy to renew oral health and prevent loss of gum tissue or teeth.
We love working with young patients. Dr. Kutis and her team have experience helping young patients achieve and maintain their healthiest smiles. We are happy to treat the whole family in our dental practice near Littleton and Ken Caryl, which makes planning and scheduling your family's dental care much more convenient. Unless we notice a significant developmental concern when your child is young that requires the assistance of a pediatric dentistry specialist, our team is happy to care for your child’s smile.
In the last several decades, dental technology has advanced dramatically, but in many cases, these innovations have not directly affected the patients. Digital x-rays are a notable exception. Not only are these x-rays faster and easier to capture improving patient comfort, but digital x-rays also produce higher definition images, making it possible for Dr. Kutis and her team to diagnose and treat concerns in the earliest possible stags. Traditional x-rays had to be developed using hazardous chemicals, which was a time consuming process, and these lower quality images could only be viewed on specialized light boards. Digital x-rays are instantly accessible from any computer, and we are able to zoom in, color code, or otherwise enhance these images for improved patient comprehension. These digital images are easily stored and transferred, decreasing the time between preparation and completion of cosmetic and restorative care.