Total Oral Health
The concept of Total Oral Health involves understanding of three key ideas.
1.Oral health is a critical part of overall health and general well-being.
2.Prevention of disease is far preferable to treatment of disease and is essential to maintaining good oral health.
3.Every part of the oral cavity is important for maintaining good oral health.
These three ideas form the basis of our treatment philosophy. We see the health of the whole mouth as vital to whole body health. Therefore we encourage our patients to maintain healthy mouths – not just shiny teeth.
A careful medical history screening is done to make sure that we recognize any general medical condition that may affect the oral cavity or any possible treatment that may be required.
Our initial assessment of a mouth always involves a screening to check the mucosa (or skin in the mouth) for any sign of pathology. Many oral cancers have a far better prognosis if detected early. Other more common conditions can also be detected on oral examination. The mucosa is often overlooked as dentists are often too focused on teeth to worry about the rest of the mouth.
Periodontal health (health of the gums) is vital to maintaining good oral health. Maintaining this vital structure is crucial to keeping teeth and periodontal disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults as well as being a major cause of bad breath. A screening of your gums will be done at every check-up appointment to ensure ongoing healthy gums. Treatment of gum disease and on-going maintenance of periodontal health forms an important part of maintaining health and well-being.
The bite is carefully assessed to make sure that there is a stable correct bite. Many patients have TMJ and muscular pain or are unable to chew foods which can have a major impact on their quality of life. Children with bite problems are assessed and treatment recommended to prevent problems in adult life.
Saliva is a component of the mouth that people often overlook. Low quantity or poor quality saliva can result in several problems including decayed teeth, bad breath, altered taste and poor mastication (chewing). The fit of prostheses (dentures) is often affected by dry mouth. Many patients are unaware that there are ways to reduce the symptoms of dry mouth. At Smilessence we are able to test for saliva dysfunction using a specifically designed test kit.
Teeth are of course essential to oral health. At the initial appointment Careful assessment of teeth to diagnose any problems that can be corrected to help patients keep their teeth longer. Decayed teeth are restored, missing teeth may be replaced, fillings may need replacement and weak teeth reinforced.
If problems are detected we will always try and find the root cause to help prevent the problem from recurring after treatment. Prevention of decay, for example, involves discussing with individual patients about their particular habits. Diet and saliva can be investigated and oral hygiene assessed. Modern dental products such as GC Tooth Mousse can be used to help prevent decay. Dental decay like most dental problems is preventable!
The cosmetic aspect of teeth is often misunderstood as this is often seen by some as elective treatments done for the sake of vanity. Whilst a lot of cosmetic treatments are often purely to improve the cosmetics of the smile, we often see that if a person’s teeth look healthy they will often feel better about their teeth and as a result take better care of their teeth. The psychological benefits of improving the way your teeth look should not be overlooked. We are happy to replace stained and darkly coloured restorations if they will improve the aesthetics without causing other problems. Most commonly old amalgam fillings are being replaced with “white” fillings for cosmetic reasons. We feel that there is an important place for cosmetic treatments in a health focused approach to dental treatment.
We believe strongly in the Total Oral Health philosophy and believe that this is far superior to the old “drill, fill and bill” approach. Please contact us if you have any questions for us or feel that you or someone you know would benefit from visiting our practice.