General and Preventative Dentistry
Dr. Jack Fong has been helping patients over many years to get the beautiful, healthy smiles that they want and deserve. That is why, in addition to cosmetic and restorative dentistry, he also offers general and preventative dentistry services. Although he is a competent and dedicated cosmetic dentist, Dr. Fong knows that if your overall dental health is not good, cosmetic procedures are not going to help. So, what do you need to do to ensure your good dental health? The basics are regular exams, good oral hygiene, proper cleanings, and any treatments that you may need to make sure that your smile is, first of all, healthy. Then we can work on improving it if you like.
The first time we see you, we want to do a full dental exam so that we can see if you have any existing dental issues that need to be corrected. You might think that your oral health is perfect, but you may not be able to see tooth decay the way that we can. The tiniest cavity can end up out of control in very little time, so we use the most modern imaging techniques to identify early decay and fix it before it gets worse.
It really was not all that long ago that the only way of identifying tooth decay was by means of a visual examination. In other words, the likelihood of spotting tooth decay essentially depended on how good the dentist’s eyesight was. Today, we use computer-based technology to identify early decay. The dentist can see much more than would be visible to the naked eye, and in that way, can identify and treat cavities before they have the chance to become really problematic.
Dental x-rays used to be one of the most irritating components of a dental exam. You would be expected to sit still in the dentist chair while a metal plate was jammed into your mouth, and the dental assistant wandered off into another room to take a picture. Then you would have to wait while the shots were developed. And if something went wrong in the processing, or you moved a bit while the x-ray was taken, you would have to go through the whole procedure another time and maybe even a third time.
Today, the technology is much more up-to-date, and the procedure is much less uncomfortable. Your dentist will use tiny cameras and computer equipment to take pictures of your mouth and see what is going on. Then, he can recommend a course of treatment. It is very rare that more than one x-ray is needed, and even if it is, it will not be uncomfortable or intrusive.
Do you know people who refuse to have dental cleanings because they can’t stand the idea of having someone chip away at their teeth? You might be surprised to know that unless your teeth are very, very dirty, dental cleanings can now be done using ultrasound most of the time – a process that involves blasting sound waves onto your teeth to remove plaque and tartar.
Sometimes, of course, manual scaling may be needed, but not nearly to the extent that it was in the past. So if you are used to conventional dental cleanings, you can stop avoiding them. The ultrasound will do most of the work, and you will be able to leave the dentist office with perfectly clean teeth, and little or no discomfort.
Regular dental cleanings are essential to your oral health, but they are far less uncomfortable than they used to be. So don’t put off having your teeth professionally cleaned; it’s important to your oral health, and shouldn’t be even a bit scary anymore.
Most people today understand the importance of regular brushing and flossing. But you might be amazed at how many people brush and floss religiously without actually getting it right. You could be brushing like crazy, and still not getting at the areas that really need to be treated. Dr. Jack Fong’s dental technicians can show you the right way to brush and floss, and they can even recommend products that can help you to observe better oral hygiene.
One thing is for sure: when you have a professional cleaning at our dentist office, you will leave feeling better. And if you also leave with some tricks and tips to improve your oral hygiene, that’s even better. When you are serious about maintaining a good regimen of oral health, your dental hygienist can really be your best friend.
However, you might be surprised at how many people don’t understand what a comprehensive dental hygiene plan requires.
Periodontics is the dental area of specialization that relates specifically to the health of your gums. You know about brushing and flossing, but a lot of people do not realize that good oral care extends down into the gums. If the gums are not looked after properly, then teeth can end up being loosened, and can even fall out. Gum disease, in fact, is the main cause of tooth loss in Americans, and about 80% of Americans will develop gum disease by the time they hit their mid-40s.
If this sounds like it is all gloom and doom, though, it is not. The flip side to 80% of Americans developing gum disease is that 20% do not. These are the people who brush and floss regularly, and get regular professional cleanings and checkups. With a proper program of dental hygiene, you can avoid gum disease and be in the 20% of people who live out their lives with their own, natural, healthy teeth and gums.
Unless you are in your senior years, you may never have had a metal tooth filling. This is because modern dentists use composite fillings, which are made out of materials that come very close to matching your natural teeth. They are far more attractive than metal fillings, and, also, you never have to worry about the potential health consequences of having metal in your mouth.
If you do have metal fillings (which may contain mercury), you can have them removed and replaced with tooth-colored, composite fillings. They have many advantages over metal fillings – not just in terms of health and appearance, but also in that they bond better to your teeth. This means that they are less likely to break or fall out. And even if they do fail, composite fillings can be replaced over and over, with little loss to your tooth enamel, unlike metal fillings that will usually take away a lot of your natural tooth when they come out or need to be replaced. Composite fillings are, simply stated, the best means of correcting tooth decay.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Most people never give a thought to the possibility of oral cancer, unless they smoke or drink heavily. And yes, it is true that certain lifestyle choices can lead to a higher likelihood of oral cancer. That said, though, it can happen to anyone, even people who lead a totally “clean” lifestyle. That is why when you come to see Dr. Jack Fong for an examination, he will screen you for oral cancer.
Dr. Fong will do a visual examination, and also make use of Veloscope technology, which can identify oral cancers that may not be immediately recognizable to the naked eye. If he finds anything that looks unusual, he will order a biopsy to confirm or rule out oral cancer. Most of the time, a biopsy will come back negative for cancer. But you have probably heard it said that the only thing worse than finding out you have cancer is not finding out. If your biopsy comes back positive, Dr. Fong can recommend a course of treatment which could save your life.