Zelienople Preventive Dentistry
Comprehensive Preventive Dental Care
Preventing a dental problem is always better than having to cure it. The foundation of our practice at Marion Smile Center is based on preventive dental care. Good oral health includes regular, thorough dental examinations by our Zelienople dentist, screenings for oral cancer using state-of-the-art technology, professional dental cleanings, fluoride treatments, and sealants. We provide a full spectrum of dental treatments for adults and children of all ages.
Our preventive dentistry services include:
- Professional Cleaning (A Healthy & Whiter Smile)
- Deep Cleaning & Other Gum Therapy
- Oral Cancer Screening
- Fluoride Treatment
- Night Guards
A Healthy & Whiter Smile
It is nearly impossible to ensure you clean every corner of your teeth and gums on your own. At Marion Smile Center, your hygienist will perform a thorough cleaning on every surface of your teeth as well as your gums. This means that stains on the surfaces of the teeth will be removed and even the tiniest, hard to reach spaces will be cleaned, even those that are easy to miss.
This prevents plaque buildup, helping you achieve a brighter and whiter smile. Your hygienist can also recognize if your teeth have darkened or yellowed and may recommend teeth whitening or another cosmetic procedure. Find out What to Expect at Your First Dental Cleaning at Marion Smile Center.
Cavities are not the only dental issue you should be worried about. A lack of adequate cleaning can also cause gum disease. Professional dental cleanings are thorough cleanings, which can help prevent gum disease. The relationship you establish with your dental hygienist over time can translate into better dental care at home, too. Regular dental cleanings are an opportunity for your hygienist to assess how well you are brushing and flossing on your own. Your hygienist can point out areas you may be missing and recommend techniques to better clean those areas.
If you have existing health conditions, you may need more frequent dental cleanings. Regular dental cleanings reduce your risk of oral health issues – especially when other health problems can increase the likelihood of dental problems. For example, people with diabetes are more prone to cavities. In addition, some blood pressure medications can cause dry mouth, which can lead to a host of health problems. Regular dental cleanings are an opportunity to catch dental issues early, especially those requiring treatment.
Deep Cleaning & Other Gum Therapy
Given that the majority of adult Americans have periodontal disease and the significant harm it causes to both your oral and overall systemic health, our providers will assess your risk factors for the disease and perform a clinical assessment. Typically, this occurs during your routine professional cleaning with one of our hygienists.
By using state-of-the-art technology, the hygienist will determine if your gum tissue has destructive bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Our high-tech office uses microscopes, slide studies, saliva DNA testing, digital radiography, loupes magnification, and digital impression scanners.
In consultation with Dr. Mark Marion, the hygienist will determine if you have periodontal disease and at which disease stage you are in. From there, we provide you our recommendations for the appropriate periodontal therapy. Find out more about the periodontal gum disease treatments we offer.
Oral Cancer Screening
Given the staggering incidence of oral cancer, early detection with regular oral cancer screenings is critically important. The ADA recommends that dentists screen adult patients every year and high-risk adults every 6 months.
At Marion Smile Center, we examine patients using the latest in medical technology, which includes a specialized instrument utilizing three different wavelengths of light to determine whether cancer is present. With this technology, our providers can see below the tissue. This fluorescent light technology allows us to detect a tissue abnormality before it can be seen with the naked eye. If a suspicious lesion is observed during the oral cancer examination, Dr. Marion may take a biopsy for laboratory analysis and/or refer you to an oral surgeon for further assessment.
Each year, the American Cancer Society issues its oral cancer statistical estimates for the United States for the upcoming year. This year, they estimate the following:
- 54,000 people are projected to be diagnosed with oral cancer.
- 10,850 people are estimated to die from oral cancer – this equates to one American dying from oral cancer every hour of every day.
- Age 62 is the average age most people are diagnosed with oral cancer, but it can occur in younger adults also; one-quarter of all diagnoses are in patients under 55 years old.
- Only 43% of those diagnosed with late-stage oral cancer will survive 5 years or more. However, if detected early, the survival rate is 80% to 90%. Unfortunately, those who do survive late-stage oral cancer often suffer disfigurement due to surgeries to remove the lower jaw, lips, and tongue.
The risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use (1 or more drinks per day)
- Alcohol use
- Sun exposure to your lips
- HPV virus
- Weakened immune system
Don’t put off your oral cancer screening from Marion Smile Center in Zelienople, Pennsylvania. For more information on the importance of oral cancer screenings, listen to what actor Michael Douglas has to say in this video:
If you or your loved ones have gum disease, tooth sensitivity, or an increased risk of cavities, a professional fluoride treatment can help. The topical fluoride preparation used in our office is a much stronger concentration than can be found in toothpaste or mouth rinses available over the counter or by prescription.
FAQs About Fluoride Treatment
A fluoride treatment applied to your teeth in our office can benefit you in a variety of ways, including that it:
- Helps prevent cavities: It helps to make patients less vulnerable to cavities.
- Repairs weak teeth enamel: Fluoride helps the body use minerals better, such as calcium and phosphate. Your teeth reabsorb these minerals, strengthening your tooth enamel.
- Slows or reverses cavities: Fluoride damages the bacteria that causes cavities, helping to slow and even reverse tooth decay.
- Reduces tooth pain: It can help reduce tooth sensitivity.
- Prevents gum disease: Fluoride can improve the health of your gums by slowing bacterial growth.
- Improves overall health: Fluoride treatments improve oral health, which is a major predicter of overall health, according to the World Health Organization. Poor oral health can lead to health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease.
Children can begin getting professional fluoride treatments once their first tooth appears.
Fluoride treatments provided during a dental cleaning are safe, effective, and do not cause harm to developing children or their teeth. The in-office treatment our hygienists apply is fluoride varnish, which is safe for use in children. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends its use on children under the age of 6 – because young children tend to swallow fluoride foams or gels, which may cause nausea and vomiting.
Fluoride is not just for children. Many of our adult patients benefit from professional fluoride treatments.
It was previously believed that fluoride was only absorbed by the teeth during childhood. However, it has been shown that your teeth continue to absorb fluoride throughout your entire adult life, as well. Many of our adult patients, especially those with gum disease, experience tooth sensitivity and pain. Fluoride treatments can help eliminate that type of sharp, temporary tooth pain.
After your professional dental cleaning at our office, our hygienist will apply a small amount of fluoride varnish with a brush, reducing the likelihood any of the fluoride gets swallowed. Professional fluoride treatments generally take just a few minutes.
Depending on your dental health, fluoride treatments may be performed every 3, 6, or 12 months.
Immediately following your fluoride treatment, we recommend you do not eat or drink for 30 minutes to allow your teeth the time needed to absorb the fluoride and help repair microscopic areas of tooth decay.
Are your teeth worn or chipped? Are you plagued with receding gums? Perhaps you’ve woken up with a headache or sore jaw? You may be grinding your teeth. This condition, called bruxism, is very common. Often, patients are not even aware they have it until suffering its consequences. Bruxism can wear away tooth enamel, as well as lead to fractured teeth and an increased risk of tooth decay.
It is more important than ever to maintain your dental health – especially during trying times. Stress-related dental problems, such as teeth grinding, jaw clenching, headaches, and cracked teeth, significantly increased during the COVID pandemic, according to an ADA survey published in 2021.
Here at the Marion Smile Center, we offer high-quality, custom-fit occlusal night guards that have helped hundreds of our patients protect their teeth and significantly reduce headaches, earaches, facial pain, and other discomforts caused by excessive teeth grinding. Our customized night guards are far superior to those sold over-the-counter.
FAQs About Night Guards
An occlusal guard – what many people call a night guard – is a hard, transparent mouthpiece that is custom-made to snap over your lower teeth to prevent the upper teeth from directly touching the lower teeth. This protects your teeth and prevents them from grinding against each other, which can wear your teeth down.
You will wear the guard every night, and some people even wear it during the day (whenever you find yourself clenching or grinding the most). Wearing the custom-fit device allows a person’s muscles to relax, reducing jaw pain and headaches.
In the same way that no two mouths are the same, a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t exactly applicable to night guards.
A store-bought night guard doesn’t usually fit well – and, thus, may not provide proper protection. Since custom night guards are specially designed to fit snugly onto your lower teeth, there is little risk of it coming loose or causing an unwanted shift in your teeth.
Also, a custom-fit night guard allows your lower jaw to go where it is most comfortable. This allows the muscles to relax, lessening the chance of headaches and jaw soreness.
If you have dental veneers, a customized night guard can help ensure the longevity of your veneers. Although custom-made night guards are more expensive than the ones sold in stores, the benefits are long-term, making them a cost-effective option. With proper care and maintenance, custom occlusal guards can last many years, unlike those sold in stores that may need to be replaced frequently.
Dr. Marion highly recommends custom-made professional night guards for optimal comfort and protection.
Custom-made night guards are also effective at helping to prevent bruxism from developing into temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), which impacts the joint controlling movement of your jaw. When the joint is under pressure due to excessive teeth grinding, it can result in pain and tenderness in the face and jaw, among other discomforts.
If you already have TMJ, Dr. Marion may recommend a night guard to relieve pressure on the joint.
Just let us know you are interested! The ideal time to begin making you a customized night guard is during your dental cleaning with us. At the appointment, we use the latest digital technology to scan your upper and lower teeth, along with your bite. These scans are used to create your night guard in the lab. About 2 weeks later, we fit you with the customized guard and can make any necessary adjustments on the spot. We recommend you bring your night guard to any future appointments at Marion Smile Center, so we can inspect it and professionally clean it using our ultrasonic cleaner.
Sealants are a temporary protective coating applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The coating keeps bacteria and food out of the grooves of the teeth. Sealants can protect your child’s teeth against 80% of cavities for the first 2 years and up to 50% of cavities over the next 4 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For more information, read our blog, Benefits of Dental Sealants.
You can also watch our video, All About Dental Sealants:
FAQs About Sealants
Because sealants are clear, white, or slightly tinted, they are not noticeable while smiling and talking.
To better understand why we apply sealants to just the chewing surfaces of back teeth, run your tongue across the front of your upper central teeth, which will feel smooth. Now, run your tongue over the chewing surfaces of your back teeth, which will feel rough and grooved. Down in those grooves is where bacteria and food are more likely to accumulate as a toothbrush often cannot reach into those grooves. Therefore, sealant are needed on the back teeth.
Sealants typically last a few years.
Because sealants wear down over time, our hygienists will examine your sealants at future cleaning appointments and advise if and when the sealants need to be reapplied.
Sealants are typically applied soon after a child’s permanent molars erupt: about 6 years old for first molars, and about 12 years old for second molars.
Many dentists, including Dr. Marion, recommend sealants for young children. This is because children will have these permanent molars for the rest of their lives, and they do not have the dexterity to thoroughly brush their teeth. Those hard-to-reach back teeth benefit by having protective sealants placed on them.
At Marion Smile Center, we see significant benefits when applying sealants in teenage and young adult patients, as well. While not all insurance plans cover sealants for these age groups, the sealants offer valuable cavity-prevention for patients who need it.
Most often, sealants are applied in our office by a hygienist after your teeth have been professionally cleaned. This cleaning is an important first step because any bacteria present in the grooves of your back teeth will be removed before the sealant is applied.
After ensuring your teeth are clean and there is no decay in the area, our hygienist will apply a solution that slightly roughens up the tooth’s surface to allow a better bonding with the sealant material. The tooth is then rinsed and dried. The sealant is a liquid brushed onto the tooth, which is hardened with a special curing light. It takes mere seconds for the sealant to cure.
Getting a sealant is a pain-free experience – and no numbing is needed. Most importantly, we preserve the integrity and strength of the tooth on which we apply the sealant. This tooth will be much stronger than a tooth that has become decayed and into which a filling has been placed.
Sealants help prevent cavities. Most cavities occur in the back teeth, which can have deep grooves in which bacteria can grow. By preventing cavities, sealants help patients avoid the toothache of a cavity, as well as the time and cost of treating it.
You will still need to practice good dental care at home, such as regular brushing and flossing.
Fluoride treatments are also a good idea. Fluoride strengthens the teeth from the inside of the tooth, whereas sealants provide a protective barrier on just the outside of the teeth.
Regular professional dental cleanings are essential for good oral health. Annual exams by Dr. Marion are essential to assess any abnormalities or dental conditions that require treatment. Early detection and treatment is far more likely to be successful than dental conditions identified at their later stages.