• Preventative Dentistry

  • Maintaining great teeth and healthy gums starts with preventative dentistry.  At Henrico Dental, we provide preventive care to patients of any age so that their smile will last a lifetime.  Regular oral health maintenance consists of brushing and flossing properly, regular dental exams, and healthy habits. By not neglecting your oral health, problems can be detected, diagnosed, and treated early; before they get out of hand.

    Our Glen Allen dentist and staff firmly believe that prompt attention to possible oral health complications means your health will never be at risk.  Bacteria, decay, and plaque can invade your mouth and cause cavities, gingivitis, and oral infections. The goal of preventative dentistry is to minimize and eliminate these problems so you and your mouth remain healthy.  Additionally, more extensive and expensive procedures are the result when oral health is neglected. Protect your wallet and your smile by preventing oral health issues.

    Preventive Prophylaxis

     

    A dental prophylaxis is an industry term for actions taken to protect and maintain a patient’s oral health.  The prophylaxis includes a thorough examination of your oral cavity including teeth, bones, and soft tissues and gums.  Our dental hygienist will perform a professional cleaning using specialized instruments in order to remove plaque and tartar thus promoting health gums and teeth.  When necessary, we can polish and scale teeth in order to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Our Glen Allen dentist recommends that patients schedule their dental prophylaxis every 6 months; every 3-4 months if your oral history requires additional attention.

    Dental Sealants

     

    Dental sealants are recommended by our Glen Allen dentist in order to prevent decay growing in the small crevices and grooves that make up the tooth.  Most often, the molars are candidates for dental sealants. Sealants are a thin liquid plastic-type material that is painted on the tooth and then hardened by a light or chemical process.  When cured, or hardened, dental sealants fill in small grooves that are susceptible to decay and plaque. The sealant is invisible so as not to affect your beautiful, healthy smile.

    Children, adolescents, and teenagers are the best candidates for dental sealants.  At Henrico Dental we apply sealants to baby teeth and molars. New molars are ideal for sealants as decay has not set in yet and put patients at risk for cavities.  Adults can benefit from dental sealants as well. Our Glen Allen dentist will first remove any plaque and decay before sealing the tooth.

    The application of sealants takes very little time yet protects our patients’ teeth for years.  The pain-free process begins with the cleaning, polishing, and drying of the area. Then, the material is painted onto the tooth where it will bond with the tooth’s surface.   A light is most often used to harden the liquid resin and to complete the process.

    Fluoride Treatments

     

    Fluoride naturally occurs in the food we eat and the water we drink in minimal amounts.  In dentistry, fluoride treatments are necessary to prevent tooth decay. A fluoride treatment is recommended when teeth are prone to decay and cavities.  Using a small amount of fluoride, our Glen Allen dentist ensures your teeth are protected from harmful decay. Fluoride protects tooth enamel and is one of many steps our Glen Allen dentist takes to ensure a healthy smile.  

    Root Canal Therapy

     

    Endodontic treatments, including root canal therapy are one of many preventative dentistry options available at Henrico Dental.  Our Glen Allen dentist uses X-rays and oral examinations to determine the so called ‘root’ of the problem. Once diagnosed, we administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and gums.  A protective rubber overlay is used to isolate the tooth so that it stays dry during the procedure. Our Glen Allen dentist uses small files to remove the decay, then sterilizes and seals the root.  

    If an infection is present in the root or pulp chamber, a course of antibiotics may be administered before resuming root canal therapy.  In the meantime, a temporary crown is put in place to protect the tooth. Should the area be free of infection, our team restores the tooth using a crown and dental post.  The post and crown add support to the tooth so it is as strong as its predecessor.

    TMJ

     

    Temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are the hinge-like joints located on either side of your jaw and allow your mouth to close and open.  The TMJ connects your mandible, or lower jaw, to your skull. When problems arise with a patients TMJ, our Glen Allen dentist refers to it as TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder.

    Many patients experience TMD from time to time.  Known causes of TMD are genetics, arthritis, stress, and bite issues.  Though TMD tends to be more prevalent in females, men can also suffer from it.  

    Typical TMD symptoms include jaw pain, ‘popping’ sounds when chewing and talking, headaches, ear aches, and facial muscle fatigue.  The most profound cause of TMD is related to stress and the pressure applied to the joints when clenching one’s teeth. To remedy the situation, often our Glen Allen dentist will fit patients with a nightguard.  Nightguards ease the tension being put on the TMJs so your muscles and joints have the ability to relax and heal.

    Patients with bite issues experience pain in their TMJs as the improper alignment of the upper and lower jaw cause extra stress and pressure on them.  Corrective measures to realign the bite are the best course of action if a nightguard or dental apparatus cannot achieve the desired results.

    TMJ Signs and Symptoms

    • Sore muscles when eating/chewing
    • Headaches
    • Popping or clicking sounds when closing and opening the mouth
    • Locking jaw
    • Limited range of motion in joints

    TMJ Exam

    • Thorough oral history
    • Joint load test
    • MRI
    • Palpate muscles and joint
    • X-rays

    TMJ exams are routine at Henrico Dental and part of every regular dental exam.  If TMD symptoms are present, further examination of the area will occur until the cause is successfully diagnosed.

    TMJ Treatment

     

    Treatment for TMJ pain is handled on case by case.  Your treatment plan may include one or more of the following:

    • Pain medication
    • Physical therapy for the joints
    • Surgery
    • Occlusal splint
    • Occlusal adjustment

    Oral Cancer Screening

     

    As with any form of cancer, the early the disease is caught and diagnosed, the better the survival rate.  At Henrico Dental, our Glen Allen dentist includes an oral cancer screening during every regular exam.  We want to stop cancer in its tracks by detecting it as quickly as possible. By being vigilant with your oral health and regular exams, our dentist is alerted to any possible problems before they get worse.  Oral Cancer Screens take only a few minutes, but can be lifesaving.

    On average, 37,000 Americans receive an oral cancer diagnosis every year.  Unfortunately, only about 55% of those patients will survive. Oral cancer has one of the lowest survival rates; not because it is fast growing, but because it is often only detected in the late stages of the disease.  Glen Allen dentist patients who schedule 6-month appointments beat oral cancer due to our vigilant attention to oral health. Don’t wait to schedule an appointment if you experience abnormal symptoms. Regular dental visits to Henrico Dental ensure any signs of cancer are detected early and properly treated.  

    Early detection is the key to surviving oral cancer.  Often symptoms are difficult to self-detect. A trained professional knows what to look for.  Symptoms range from pain and bleeding to swollen tissues and unexplained lumps. If you avoid dental exams until you notice a problem, the rate of life expectancy decreases.  

     Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

     

    If you notice any changes in your oral cavity or find an abnormality, call our office to schedule a screening; don’t wait for your normal exam.  Some signs of cancer might be:

    Sores that won’t heal for more than 2 weeks

    Red, blue, or white patches on soft tissues

    Lumps, bumps, or thick areas within the cheeks

    Numbness in the oral cavity

    Swelling that does not decrease

    You know your body better than anyone.  If you have cause for concern, get it checked out.  In many cases, the symptoms can be associated with other dental issues. By getting a professional opinion and oral cancer screening from our Glen Allen dentist, you can rest assured that oral cancer is not the problem.

    Oral Cancer Risk Factors

     

    • Tobacco and/or alcohol use
    • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
    • Unknown (5%) – Genetics suspected

     In the past 75% of patients with oral cancer who were over 50 used alcohol or tobacco products at one time or another.  However, in recent years, younger aged patients who have never smoked have been diagnosed with oral cancer. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the cause of this change in demographics.

    Oral Cancer Screening

     

    • Assess face for swelling, ulceration, discoloration, and asymmetry
    • Evaluate lips and cheeks (inside and out), and tonsils
    • Palpate lymphatic chains
    • Check tongue, floor of mouth and soft palate for discoloration, bumps, swelling
    • Evaluate neck, head, and face for abnormalities