Preventive Dentistry for Carmel, IN
Keeping teeth healthy for a lifetime is our top priority at Kristoff & Associates Family Dentistry. That starts with regular preventive checkups and professional teeth cleanings in our Carmel, IN office. We offer a number of preventive treatments to keep your smile whole and healthy, and we’re happy to answer questions and provide recommendations for the best at-home oral hygiene techniques. Contact our team today to find out more or to schedule your first appointment with our trusted dentists and team.
Check-Ups & Cleanings
At least two times each year, patients should visit our practice for checkups and teeth cleanings. Potentially dangerous oral health concerns may not be apparent in their early stages, but our skilled dentists and team will be able to diagnose and treat them. Each six month checkup includes four parts:
- Diagnostics – We use high definition, low radiation digital X-rays and intraoral cameras to capture images of every aspect of patients’ smiles inside and out. This allows us to diagnose and treat oral health issues in their early stages.
- Evaluation – One of our skilled dentists thoroughly examines patients’ smiles tooth-by-tooth, looking for signs of common oral health issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, and oral cancer.
- Cleaning – Our experienced hygienists thoroughly clean every surface of teeth, removing bacteria, plaque, and tartar from even the most difficult to access areas.
- Consultation – Possibly the most important part of any dental checkup is the consultation. During a one on one dental consultation, our team works in partnership with patients to develop a personalized treatment plan to keep their smiles whole and healthy.
Typically recommended for younger patients whose teeth and oral hygiene skills are developing, dental sealants create a barrier between teeth and damaging bacteria and plaque. They can be placed quickly as part of any regular checkup and cleaning. We simply apply the liquid sealant and then harden the material into position over teeth, sealing out harmful bacteria. With proper care, sealants last up to ten years, keeping smiles whole and healthy.
Many of the most painful and potentially damaging side effects of bruxism and TMJ dysfunction occur during sleep when patients aren’t aware of the amount of strain being placed on the jaw joints or tooth enamel. Our team offers custom nightguards to relieve stress on the TMJ that occurs during sleep when teeth are clenched or ground together with excessive force. Additionally, nightguards prevent teeth from scraping together and causing chips and cracks. We offer a variety of options and are happy to discuss each solution with patients to determine the right guard for their needs.
People don’t run out on the football field without a helmet or skate out on the ice to play hockey without padding, but the number of athletes who confess to leaving their mouthguards off is alarming. For people under the age of 25, sports-related trauma is the leading cause of tooth loss – but the good news is that this tooth loss is avoidable if patients wear a mouthguard. There are a variety of store bought versions available, but none offer the comfort and effective coverage possible with a custom crafted athletic mouthguard from the team at Kristoff & Associates Family Dentistry.
Oral Cancer Screenings
On average, oral cancer claims one life every hour, and most patients don’t survive more than five years after diagnosis. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, early diagnosis is on the only way to effectively reduce the number of annual deaths due to oral cancer. Dr. Kristoff and his team take the time to complete oral cancer screenings as part of every twice a year dental checkup. These quick, painless examinations allow our team to find signs of oral cancer and recommend further care whenever necessary. If you notice any of the following symptoms, be sure to tell our team about it at your next visit:
- Flat or discolored patches on soft tissue
- Constant throbbing or sharp pain in the mouth, lip, tongue, throat or neck
- Difficulty speaking or a constant sore throat
- A cut, scrape, or sore in the mouth that does not heal quickly
For children whose teeth are developing and adults who experience frequent tooth decay, fluoride treatments are a fast, simple way to fortify tooth enamel, keeping smiles strong and healthy. Topical fluoride treatments are applied as part of a dental checkup. Fluoride attracts nutrients essential to the health and vitality of tooth enamel, strengthening this protective outer layer of teeth and preventing tooth decay. Most toothpastes and mouth rinses contain fluoride, but regulations limit the quantity. A professional, topical fluoride has significantly larger amounts of fluoride present so it stays active longer. Fluoride treatments are also effective in decreasing dental sensitivity for many patients.
Laser Gum Disease Therapy
If there was a disease that affected more than 70% of adults over the age of 35, was closely connected to a number chronic health issues like diabetes and heart disease, and was undiagnosed in more than half the sufferers, it would be considered an epidemic. At Kristoff & Associates Family Dentistry, we know this epidemic is real. Gum disease often goes undiagnosed in its early stage (also known as gingivitis), and while we can reverse some of the damage caused by more advanced gum disease, (also known as periodontitis), there is no cure for this potentially damaging health concern. Gum disease begins when the soft tissue is irritated by bacteria, plaque, and tartar buildup, progressing slowly as it breaks down the connective tissue between teeth and gums, leading to a receding gum line, uneven bite, and tooth loss.
Our team uses soft tissue lasers to gently and effectively remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar from below the gum line. Unlike traditional removal, laser dentistry allows our team to precisely target specific areas of the gums for minimal tissue loss and maximum comfort throughout the procedure and healing process. In most cases, there is no need for stitches and recovery time is minimal. In fact, many patients report feeling better within 48 hours of treatment. Research indicates that gum disease treated with laser dentistry is less likely to recur.