Prevention Tooth Decay Prevention
Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting in the interaction of bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth and sugars in the everyday diet. Sugar causes a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the mineral in teeth, forming a cavity. Dentists remove the decay and fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may require a crown (a crown is like a large filling that can cap a tooth, making it stronger or covering it). Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing twice a day, regular dental checkups, diet control and fluoride treatment. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.

Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Regularly drinking water treated with fluoride and brushing and flossing regularly ensures significantly lower cavities. Dentists can evaluate the level of fluoride in a primary drinking water source and recommend fluoride supplements (usually in tablets or drops), if necessary.

Oral Cancer Screening

Each year over 30,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer. The disease kills more than 8000 Americans annually. As with many other types of cancer, oral lesions that are detected early offer a better chance for successful treatment, making oral cancer detection one more reason to visit your dentist regularly. We take the time to carefully evaluate the oral conditions present in your mouth and throat as well as your neck to screen for any abnormalities. We are able to take biopsies if necessary or to refer you to the appropriate specialist when needed.

The Caries Management Program (CMP)

Many people think having cavities is just a part of life, but it doesn't have to be. New research and new products offer the possibility of a future without decay. We have a strong commitment to prevention. Teeth are meant to last a lifetime and we help our patients achieve this through the Caries Management Program, a preventative program designed for each of our patients. It is a systematic approach designed to recognize individual susceptibility, reduce bacteria and control other factors that cause dental decay. The CMP has been highly effective to minimize the risk of developing caries for our higher risk patients and has been successful in teaching other patients not at a high risk how to stay that way.

Dental Caries Dental Caries or dental decay is an infectious and transmissible disease that is associated with high levels of bacteria. Streptococcus mutans (SM) and Lactobacillus (secondarily) (LB) are the bacteria that cause tooth decay. These bacteria utilize refined sugar and produce acid that destroys enamel and underlying dentin (the outer and inner layers of teeth).

This process usually does not elicit sensitivity until it reaches the pulp or nerve of the tooth. At this point of infection a root canal procedure may be necessary.

Our goal is to reduce the damaging bacterial numbers, modify the diet to reduce those foods that aid in acidic production and prevent further carious break down.

CariFree Logo

Caries Prevention If you have cavities, we know you have the bacteria that cause dental decay and you are at risk for further breakdown. Promote healthy teeth stop just filling cavities and stop the cavity before it begins. CariFree employs advanced infection testing and treatment technology to promote long term dental health, instead of simply treating symptoms by filling cavities.

How is it possible? The advanced CariFree system measures the magnitude of harmful bacteria on your teeth. If harmful decay-causing bacteria are identified, the CariFree treatment plan may be prescribed by Dr. Lopez.

To prevent further breakdown you need to reduce the number of decay producing bacteria found in your mouth. First, we would begin by removing all the existing decay and placing the necessary restorations to protect the teeth. Second, the Caries Risk Test (CRT) is preformed. A sample of your saliva is cultured for (SM) and (LB) to determine the levels of bad bacteria.

Depending on the CRT results (levels of bacteria) we would recommend a prescription antibacterial mouth rinse. Following a one month regimen of rinsing, it is then recommended that an in office concentrated fluoride varnish be placed on the teeth.

After finishing the CMP treatment we develop an individualized adjunctive homecare program that includes a maintenance rinse. A retest of the saliva is performed at the next recare appointment.

CariFree easy to use treatment program

Treatment consists of using a series of CariFree antibacterial mouth rinses to reduce the bacterial levels on your teeth, giving you a better chance of avoiding future dental decay. Its that simple.

There are two types of rinses:

CariFree Treatment Rinse – A two-part treatment rinse that kills the harmful destructive bacteria on your teeth. It has an elevated pH that is designed to offset the acidic condition of the infection.

CariFree Maintenance Rinse – Designed to create an environment in your mouth which prevents the destructive bacteria from re-establishing itself. It also has an elevated pH which promotes a healthy oral environment.

Medium and High risk decay patients are encouraged to take the Caries Risk Test annually. Please visit
CariFree for more information.

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