Proactive Preventive Oral Health Care
Planning & Controlling Your Oral Health for Your Preferred Dental Future
Although most people want to save all their teeth, eat all the foods they enjoy, and smile with confidence throughout every day of a long life, they are rarely given the opportunity by their dentist to plan for this future of optimal oral health. In most dental practices, disease is treated and teeth are restored once damage negatively impacts the patient’s life.
Not so in our practice. Dr. Johnson Hagood believes most aspects of oral health can be planned and controlled before you experience pain and periodontal inflammation, that fuels systemic inflammation, affects all organs of your body and your total health—and, before you are faced with extensive and expensive treatment to restore both your oral and systemic health.
We believe most aspects of health can be planned, and we enjoy helping our patients look 10-20 years into their future and envisioning what they would like to have happen. Good health doesn’t happen by accident, and if you’re not moving toward health, you are likely breaking down. We believe in looking at our patients’ health comprehensively and assessing the little dental and periodontal changes that are occurring year to year. In this way, we can help our patients prevent negative changes and progressively achieve positive ones toward their preferred oral health future.
Believe this. Any patient can achieve optimal oral health and an exquisite smile appearance over time if we continually work together to build toward that goal. Let’s work together to help you reach the best level of health and a rejuvenated, beautiful smile!
Regular Dental Visits for Preventive Health & Maintenance of an Optimal Smile
Comprehensive preventive care includes far more than cleanings, hygiene instructions, and checkups. During your visits to our office, we perform a thorough assessment of your oral health. Dr. Hagood and his team at Vero Beach Art of Dentistry believe that healthy habits are foundational to great overall health. Plus, teeth, gums, and bone around the teeth need to be healthy and clean for our dentistry to be successful!
Dr. Johnson Hagood’s Comprehensive Oral Health Exams
After conversing with you about your medical and dental history and spending some time getting to know you and your concerns, Dr. Hagood will take you on a tour of your mouth and smile. During this tour, you will learn details about your oral health and what is possible for you. He will look for tooth decay, gum disease, and structural dental problems. He will also palpate your jaw and neck muscles, looking for tenderness—as this can be indicative of clenching, grinding, a poor bite, and problems of the jaw joint.
Dental records will be made during your exam. Depending on your oral health status and goals, these records may include digital x-rays, intra-oral photographs, photo images of your smile, periodontal charting, occlusal (bite) records, and impressions to make a model of your mouth. With the records made during your comprehensive exam, Dr. Hagood will be able to carefully plan a custom course of treatment that is most appropriate for your needs and preferences.
If your smile objectives include making cosmetic enhancements, he will discuss with you what is possible to achieve with various treatment options and give you the opportunity to think about what you might like to do. You also will be offered the opportunity to have a trial smile, at a subsequent appointment, that focusses on your smile concerns and enables you to visualize what your smile will look like after cosmetic treatment.
Annual Dental Exams & X-Rays to Maintain Optimal Oral Health
After your oral health has reached an optimal level and you have achieved the smile you desire, you will continue to have comprehensive exams on an annual basis. Dr. Hagood also will perform a quick “checkup” examination each time you have your teeth cleaned. By having a
Hygiene Visit every six months or less, Dr. Hagood and our Hygienist will be able to observe changes in your mouth and spot problems early for the most conservative and low-cost treatment.
Because cavities are often invisible to the naked eye, we typically take digital x-rays once a year. These x-rays are essential in diagnosing decay and structural problems in individual teeth. As Dr. Hagood examines your digital x-rays and teeth, he will converse with you about what he is finding and the possible causes of any uncovered problems.
Hygiene Visits at Vero Beach Art of Dentistry
Dr. Hagood and his staff are devoted to the prevention of gum disease throughout your lifetime, and we offer a full array of hygiene and non-surgical periodontal services to help ensure our success. To spot gum inflammation and other oral health problems early, as well as prevent damaging bacterial plaque from building up on teeth, you should have your teeth cleaned every six months or more frequently. Many of our patients prefer their teeth be cleaned three or four times a year, instead of twice a year. Still other patients need prophylactic cleanings every three months to keep gum inflammation under control. We will advise you about the frequency that would be most beneficial for you.
Periodontal disease is a disease of the gums that can also affect the bone. For many years, chronic low-grade gum inflammation (gingivitis) has been called a silent killer, because it spreads inflammatory bacteria and viruses through your circulatory system to all organs of the body. Most patients don’t realize they have this low-grade infection that exacerbates heart disease, diabetes, auto immune diseases, and a whole host of systemic health conditions, because gingivitis can be painless and asymptomatic until it advances to a more severe and damaging condition called periodontitis. By then, gum tissue is typically swollen, red, tender, and bleeds when teeth are brushed and/or flossed. At this stage, gum pockets around dental roots are measurably larger, and corrosive bacterial acid in these pockets erodes tooth enamel, roots, and bone.
At Vero Beach Art of Dentistry, we offer the latest in periodontal therapy techniques to prevent this from happening. We also will not hesitate to refer you to a periodontist should the need arise. Our dental hygiene services include:
- Regular professional dental cleanings
- Thorough periodontal exams
- Oral cancer screening
- Blood pressure screening
- atient education, including hygiene instructions
- Digital x-rays
- Treatment for periodontal disease:
- Scaling and root planing (“deep cleaning” using local anesthetic)
- Irrigation with antimicrobial medication
- Referral to a periodontist if needed
- Fluoride treatment
- Dental sealants
- Treatment of dry mouth (xerostomia)
- Ulcer and fever blister treatment
- Stain removal and teeth whitening
Protective Fluoride Treatments & Dental Sealants
Fluoride is a natural element that is found in water, tea, meat, eggs and fish. It helps prevent tooth decay and speed up the remineralization process in which tooth enamel is built back up. Teeth absorb fluoride from fluoride toothpaste and rinses, fluoride-containing water (almost all public water systems), and from fluoride treatments in the dental office. Have you noticed your teeth are sensitive? Have you or we observed some recent changes in the appearance of your tooth enamel? Clinical fluoride treatments, performed by our Hygienist, will be of benefit. In fact, we suggest a fluoride treatment at six-month intervals, at the end of your Hygiene visit if you are not having a tooth whitening treatment that same day. Our Hygienist simply applies a clinical fluoride solution to each tooth with a brush, and you are cautioned not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. This treatment is not toxic and completely safe.
One of the greatest advancements in preventive dental care was the development of dental sealants. Available since 1970, dental sealants are partly responsible for the reduction of tooth decay in the United States over the past forty plus years. Because normal teeth brushing does not always fully clean away bacteria from deep pits and grooves on teeth, Dr. Hagood recommends plastic sealants be applied to the pits and grooves of molars to prevent enamel decay. Applying sealants is fast and easy. We clean and dry the tooth to be treated and then paint a thin layer of clear plastic material on the pits and fissures of the tooth. The material quickly dries in place. Usually, sealants last a long time before retreatment is recommended. Retreatment might not be needed for several years.
Note: Even if you are using oral hygiene products containing fluoride and having clinical fluoride treatments in our office, some of your teeth may benefit from sealants.