When you pay a visit to James Schmidt, DDS in St. Louis, MO, you are not just visiting a “dentist”. Our office is a source for those who need a general dentist as well as all kinds of preventative dentistry. Often, these terms are rolled into one, yet there are multiple areas that general dentistry covers, and these include general dentistry treatments.
Each of these areas of dental care are vital to your long term oral health. When you think of your regular, twice annual dental exams, also think of them as the perfect time to discuss preventative dentistry and the steps you can take to ensure your teeth and gums do not face any disease, decay or other preventable issues.
Did you ever stop to consider that your once or twice annual dental exams are your proverbial front line against all kinds of oral health issues? While regular checkups are an obvious way to halt tooth decay in its tracks, our services help you achieve much more. Patients who book dental exams will be able to access our services such as diagnostic x-rays that look for early signs of decay, bone loss, and even oral cancer.
During our dental exams, patients also get full gum evaluation to ensure that there are not even early signs of periodontal disease. We look at the surfaces of each tooth and check for any pain or decay, and if you happen to have any restorative work (such as crowns or fillings) we also ensure that these are in good shape.
We also include oral cancer screenings in our dental exams, and this will include a look at your lips, tongue, the soft tissue of the mouth, the face, neck and the throat. We recommend at least once annual dental exam, but twice annually ensures the best outcome.
If you are past a certain age, you may remember how uncomfortable it used to be to get even a simple set of dental x-rays. Uncomfortable cardboard “wings” had to be awkwardly held inside the mouth and it was not uncommon for several of the x-rays to need to be redone. Fortunately, those days are long in the past and we have digital x-ray technology available.
With this advanced system, we use a simple electronic sensor to send your images instantly and clearly to an observation screen that our dental team can use to diagnose problems and even detect issues before you are aware of them. Safer than standard x-rays because they reduce radiation by up to 90%, they are also superior diagnostic tools.
We can look for decay, problems with the roots or below the gum line, cysts or abscesses, bone loss, cancerous growths, and more. As part of your dental exams, dental x-rays are good for three to five years, but we also suggest them during at least one annual checkup.
While brushing and flossing each day is one sure-fire way of performing effective dental cleanings, it is never enough to protect you from more serious issues. Therefore, we recommend that our patients book a full dental cleaning and dental exam at least once (preferably twice) each calendar year.
During our cleaning treatments, we are going to remove any calculus or tartar. This is the plaque that you typically remove when brushing, but if you miss any spots that can harden and adhere to the surface of your tooth. It often forms just above the gum line and is removed with professional tools. We also remove plaque that is the invisible but harmful material that forms on the surface of each tooth. If left in place, it can begin to cause decay or gum swelling, and this can lead to gum disease.
Finally, with any of our dental cleanings, we are going to polish the teeth to ensure that any staining is reduced and that any plaque is completely removed.
As part of any of our dental exams and dental cleanings, we also review dental hygiene with our patients. This may seem unnecessary but the simple fact is that many of our patients are brushing and flossing inefficiently or in ways that cannot do the best job. Our dental team can immediately detect if your techniques are missing some areas of plaque or tartar, and if your gums can benefit from more regular flossing and care.
Ideally, we encourage our patients to develop dental hygiene habits that include twice daily brushing (upon waking and before going to bed) as well as flossing at that time. We review ideal techniques for both and then discuss the right toothbrush for their needs. There are different sizes and bristles can be soft to firm. We also discuss the frequency that your toothbrush needs to be changed and we may even suggest an electric toothbrush if it will benefit your oral health. During any dental hygiene consultations, we might also recommend specific products such as toothpastes or oral rinses.
Don’t mistake periodontics for periodontal disease. Periodontics is the area of dentistry that focuses on the structures supporting and/or surrounding your teeth. We can offer a full range of periodontics treatments.
This is an area that can most certainly address periodontal disease, but there is more to it than that. It can be of help if you have suffered gum recession or if you have cosmetic concerns such as a gummy smile or uneven gum line. Our periodontics can also be part of your dental implant treatments.
When patients hear the word “fillings” they may still envision the classic amalgam or metal fillings. These are becoming outdated and most, modern dental practices are going to offer tooth-colored fillings as a preferable option. Also, described as composite fillings, they are a blend of materials that can include tooth colored porcelain.
While they are going to help alleviate the pain and discomfort of dental decay or offer a way to repair the tooth, they are available as a variety of restoration types. For example, we offer inlay and onlay restorations that work as composite fillings. They are a very effective way to repair teeth or replace outdated and/or failing fillings.
Composite fillings are ideal for decayed teeth, replacing large amalgam fillings, replacing broken fillings, serving as a repair for some fractured and broken teeth or as a cosmetic treatment. They differ only in the spaces they fill in the teeth. Inlays are placed between the cusps of the tooth – filing the center. Onlays cover one or more cusps as well as the center. Both, however are very conservative and effective.
Oral Cancer Screenings
While you may not feel worried about an issue like oral cancer, it is not something to ignore. This is a main reason that we build oral cancer screenings into our dental exams, but you can also book a screening if you have any concerns.
Thorough oral cancer screenings take only a few minutes of time and look at the head, neck, face and all of the soft tissue in the mouth, including the tongue and cheeks. The dentist is going to gently feel your face and neck to ensure there are no abnormalities. You will not need any special preparation for oral cancer screenings and if more in-depth screening or testing is required, we can offer those services on the premises, too.
Most patients hear the term root canals and groan. This is incredibly unfortunate because root canal therapy is one of the most beneficial treatment options imaginable. Not only does it quickly bring the pain of dental decay or even an abscess to an end, but in doing so it also saves your adult tooth. The loss of even a single tooth can cause a variety of unwanted outcomes, so saving your adult teeth through root canal treatment is a fantastic choice.
Additionally, it is important to note that root canals are not at all challenging or painful. Like a filling, they require the use of a numbing agent and then the dentist is going to access the tooth, removing the infection and treating and sealing the tooth to allow it to remain in place but for pain to be instantly ended. Once the tooth is healed (in roughly a week), you return to have a filling or a dental crown placed and the tooth is fully restored and fully functional. If you have dental pain and believe it may be decay, root canals may be the best solution.
Schedule Your Next Dental Exam Today
Now that you know we have many preventative options, it is time to talk with a dentist in St. Louis about the treatment. Get in touch with us today by calling 314-968-7979 or by visiting our contact page.