General dentistry is what we call dentistry that’s intended to maintain the appearance, health, and function of your teeth. General dentistry includes preventive dentistry like your typical checkups and cleaning visits. It also includes dental treatments to address oral health problems and restorative dentistry that repairs tooth damage. General dentistry is vital to everyone’s health, and essential to maintaining a beautiful, healthy smile.
We offer general dentistry for the entire family, including children, adults, and seniors. If you are looking for a general dentist in Harriman or surrounding areas of Orange County, NY, please call (845) 783-6466 today for an appointment at Harriman Family Dental.
General Dentistry and Preventive Dentistry
Preventive dentistry includes oral hygiene and treatments that are designed to help prevent your teeth from developing decay.
Oral hygiene is the most vital part of preventive dentistry, and the most important part of oral hygiene is your daily home regimen. Everyone should brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and floss daily. Brushing removes food particles and dental plaque that contains parasitic bacteria. Parasitic bacteria secrete acid that attacks your teeth and can infect your teeth and gums. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between teeth. Fluoride in your toothpaste is a mineral that stimulates your teeth to repair themselves.
The other essential part of oral hygiene is your regular dental checkups where we perform thorough cleanings of your teeth. We remove hard deposits called tartar. This is essentially fossilized plaque, because plaque that doesn’t get removed absorbs minerals from your saliva and becomes rock-like. It’s important to remove plaque regularly because plaque provides a shelter for harmful bacteria. From this place of shelter, bacteria can avoid saliva (which is a natural antibiotic) and removal when you brush teeth, so they will build up, increasing your risk of gum disease and cavities.
During your appointment, we may recommend preventive treatments. This may include dental sealants and a fluoride varnish that helps your teeth get more critical fluoride. Dental sealants are essentially plastic that is used to fill in deep cracks and pits in your molars where food and bacteria can become trapped. This helps you avoid decay in these hard-to-clean areas.
At your regular dental visits, we will also check your teeth for decay and damage so we can recommend any necessary reconstructive dentistry that will help protect your teeth.
Preventive dentistry can reduce your risk of tooth decay, but it can’t eliminate the risk. If you develop tooth decay, it is important to get it treated early so that we can avoid more serious damage in the future. Reconstructive dentistry procedures we offer include:
For small decay, we recommend tooth-colored fillings that are made out of composite material. This is a resin (plastic) that has ceramic embedded in it for additional strength and durability. This type of filling is an improvement over metal amalgam fillings, which start out silver and can quickly turn black–looking as bad as or worse than having a mouth full of decay.
For larger fillings, we might recommend ceramic fillings. Ceramic fillings not only eliminate decay in your teeth, but they can restore strength to your teeth. They’re also more attractive than composite fillings, so in very visible places, they’re a much better option.
If your tooth has significant decay or has been compromised structurally by trauma, a dental crown might be the best restoration for you. Dental crowns fit over the entire tooth, protecting and beautifying it.
When decay reaches the tooth nerve or threatens to, we will recommend root canal therapy. This restores your teeth to a healthy functional state.
Sometimes your tooth cannot be restored and it will have to be replaced. Dental implants are the best tooth replacement option, but dental bridges and even dentures can be good, too.
Oral Health and Overall Health
It’s also important to remember that maintaining a healthy mouth is essential to a healthy body. Remember, pretty much everything that enters your body goes through your mouth (including the air you breathe through your nose!). Disease in your mouth can easily be spread this way into your lungs and digestive tract.
Plus, the blood vessels in your gums give oral bacteria free run of your circulatory system. Gum disease is strongly related to heart disease, and living oral bacteria are found in the plaque that builds up in your arteries. Oral bacteria can even infect your heart and cause heart failure!
In addition, gum disease is associated with many types of cancer, not just cancer in the mouth and throat, but also breast cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and even colorectal cancer.
Gum disease can increase your risk for diabetes and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
Healthy teeth and gums also reduce your dementia risk. And studies have shown that every tooth you have in your mouth at age 70 increases your 5-year survival odds by 4%!
If you are looking for a dentist in Harriman who will help you maintain a healthy mouth, healthy mind, and healthy body, please call (845) 783-6466 or email us today for an appointment at Harriman Family Dental.