Preventative dental care to keep your smile healthy
Preventative dental care at Cope Dentistry coupled with good oral hygiene at home can help you avoid costly dental problems and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. We’re dedicated to providing exceptional, comfortable preventative dental care treatments to patients of all ages – including children, teens, adults and seniors. We encourage regular dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays for all of our patients in order to stop dental disease in its earliest stages.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a minimum of two dental checkups each year for professional cleaning. These preventative dental checkups include a thorough exam, which allows our dentists to look for developing conditions that may need to be watched or treated. Please review the following preventative dental care treatments. Be sure to contact us if you have specific questions.
A comprehensive oral health examination is part of an initial dental visit. At your initial visit, Drs. John, Susan or Lindy will generally do the following:
- Review your medical history and current medications
- Visually examine your mouth (teeth, tongue and gums), neck and jaw
- Feel the surfaces of the teeth with an instrument (called an “explorer”) to detect dental decay (also known as “dental caries” or “cavities”)
- Review your specific X-rays, which can show hidden cavities, tooth position, bone loss, and other bone abnormalities
- Measure your periodontal (or “gum”) health.
Routine dental exams (or “check-ups”) are generally recommended twice a year. Your oral exam will help our dentists recommend a plan to treat and/or maintain your oral health condition. Early detection of dental problems can save time, money and discomfort. We will take time to discuss your exam and to answer any questions about our diagnosis or treatment options.
Even people who brush their teeth diligently twice a day, floss daily and avoid sugar still benefit from professional teeth cleanings. During your professional cleaning, our friendly and knowledgeable hygienists will:
- Reach areas of plaque you may be missing when you brush to reduce the cavity-causing and disease-causing bacteria in your mouth
- Remove hardened plaque (“calculus” or “tartar”) that doesn’t come off with a toothbrush
- Remove tooth-stain that won’t come off with a toothbrush or mouth-rinse
- Recommend improved techniques or new ways you can better care for your teeth at home
Oral hygiene needs can change depending on your age or the condition of your teeth, gums, and the bone supporting the teeth. We may recommend regular professional cleanings that are more or less frequent than twice a year, depending on your specific oral health and hygiene.
X-rays (or radiographs) are part of a diagnostic dental exam. X-rays can show cavities and hidden dental structures like wisdom teeth or bone loss that can’t be seen during a visual clinical exam. At Cope Dentistry in Prairie Village, we use digital X-rays that produce around 80% lower levels of radiation than traditional X-rays.
If your previous dentist has taken X-rays within the last six months, you may request that they forward them to our office. If there is not enough time, please pick them up and bring them with you to your appointment. If additional X-rays are necessary, we can take them at our office.
Our dentists may recommend topical fluoride after cleanings for certain patients who have developing teeth or are more prone to tooth decay. Just as with any other dental procedure we recommend, it is ultimately the patient’s (or the parent’s) decision to have the recommended topical fluoride treatment. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) , fluoride is a naturally occurring compound that can help prevent dental decay.
The dentists at Cope Dentistry often recommend sealants for chewing teeth (molars) that have deep grooves on the biting surfaces. Both children and adults can benefit from sealants.
Placing sealants is a simple procedure in which our dentists paint a tooth-colored coating over the deep grooves. This coating prevents food and plaque from sticking in the deep grooves, thereby helping to prevent cavities. No anesthetic is needed for this procedure.
If you or your kids participate in contact sports, a customized mouth guard may be a good idea. A mouth guard protects the teeth and gums to prevent or minimize mouth injury. It is like a retainer made from softer, thicker, and stronger material. We fabricate sports guards in the office from models of your teeth for a customized, comfortable fit.
There also special teeth guards for those who grind their teeth and clench their jaw at night — a condition called sleep bruxism that is often caused by stress. The related symptoms are pain in the temporomandibular jaw joint (TMJ disorder) and in the muscles that control the movement of the jaw. Sleep bruxism can cause your teeth to chip, wear more quickly and can even lead to bone loss in the jaw and mouth.
To create a barrier between your teeth at night, Drs. Cope recommend a custom-fitted night guard. While important for those with sleep bruxism, mouth guards are especially important for patients who have invested in crowns or implants. They are inexpensive and provide an extra layer of protection to keep your smile beautiful.
To create night clenching/bruxing appliances, we take custom impressions in the office of the patient’s mouth and then send those to a dental lab for fabrication of the appliance. Often these are soft-lined hard acrylic guards that are fit and adjusted for the patient to wear primarily at night. They are retentive enough to fit well and not fall out while sleeping, but easy to insert before bed and remove in the morning.
Ask a hygienist or dentist if a guard is something you should consider.
Schedule An Appointment
Drs. Susan, John and Lindy Cope want to keep your teeth and gums healthy and happy. Located at the corner of 90th Street and Roe Avenue, we serve patients from Prairie Village, Leawood, Overland Park and other surrounding Kansas City communities. To schedule an appointment, contact us at 913.385.9003 or click here: