From performing regular exams to full-mouth reconstruction, your dentist plays a key role in maintaining your overall health. Good oral and dental hygiene can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease, and can help you maintain or replace your teeth as you get older. Researchers have discovered that good oral health can help ward off serious medical disorders such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even preterm labor.
Establish an Oral Health Baseline
“Adults should have a dental exam and cleaning twice yearly,” says Dr. Joseph P. Prasad D.M.D., M.A.G.D. “It is very important to establish your oral health baseline,” he explains. “Your dentist should perform a complete oral examination, including an oral cancer screening, a periodontal evaluation, an analysis of
your bite, and a thorough examination of your teeth, their supporting structures, and of the oral anatomy.”
“Regular cleanings by a dental hygienist will help prevent new cavities, preserve teeth that have been restored, and manage periodontal disease,” says Dr. Prasad. “If you haven’t visited the dentist in a while,” he adds, “schedule an appointment soon.”
Technology-Driven Patient Care
Technology is contributing to more beautiful smiles for patients of all ages. “Orthodontic practice is embracing the future of technology in dentistry,” says orthodontist Dr. Patrick Cuozzo. “One great advance is using 3-D printing to create in minutes customized orthodontic models for clear aligners, precise surgical guides and more, which can be done right in the orthodontist’s office.”
After a digital impression has been made, the data is fed into a computer program and a 3-D printer produces a model on the spot. “State-of-the-art 3-D printing is just one of the technologies available to streamline patient care without sacrificing accuracy and precision,” says Dr. Cuozzo.
Accelerated Orthodontics: Faster Orthodontic Treatment with Less Discomfort
“For anyone considering orthodontic treatment, the first question is always ‘How long will treatment take?’” says Dr. Tara Gostovich.
“The goal of an emerging school of treatment called “Accelerated Orthodontics” is to shorten the time in orthodontic appliances and treat the patient with less discomfort,” says Dr. Gostovich. “Almost anyone is a candidate for accelerated treatment, but it is perfect for those who have a special event in mind, such as a wedding or the start of a new job.”
“Today’s surgical and non-surgical accelerated orthodontic treatment options painlessly stimulate the movement of teeth into proper alignment in less time,” says Dr. Gostovich. “These accelerated treatment options can be used in combination with current orthodontic treatments such as braces or clear aligners to reduce treatment time by as much as 50 percent.”
Prosthodontists: Architects of the Smile
Not all dental care is preventative. Some conditions require the advanced care of a prosthodontic specialist. Sometimes called the “architects of the smile,” prosthodontists are primarily concerned with the restoration and replacement of lost or damaged teeth with implants, dentures, bridges, crowns and other restorations.
After graduating from college and completing four years of dental school, prosthodontists receive an additional four years of advanced graduate training recognized by the American Dental Academy. These specialists are highly familiar with all the elements that go into a beautiful, functional and naturallooking smile—not just the teeth, but also the gums, lips, and facial features.
“Dental reconstruction because of trauma, disease and congenital disorders can sometimes require several steps, including bone grafts, implants and orthodontic therapy,” says prosthodontist Dr. James Courey. “The prosthodontist puts the plan together and sequences other dental specialists. By collaborating with dental professionals in other specialty areas, we can ensure the best possible outcomes for the patients we serve.”