Preventive Dentistry in Houston, TX
Helping patients keep their natural smiles healthy and beautiful for a lifetime is our number one goal at West U Dental. Dr. Neda Dodig and her skilled dentistry team are dedicated to working with each patient to develop a personalized preventive maintenance plan, and help them maintain best practices in at-home hygiene. Our knowledgeable team members are happy to answer your questions, make product recommendations, and keep patients smiling. Contact our Houston team to schedule your visit today.
Hygiene & Cleanings
Dr. Dodig, our hygienists, and the rest of the team love having the opportunity to provide thorough professional teeth cleanings two times each year, but the other 363 days of the year, oral hygiene is up to our patients. That’s why we take time to discuss areas of concern we see and offer ideas for better cleaning these harder to reach surfaces. Every patient has thousands of bacteria in their mouths at any moment. Like any other living organism, bacteria absorb and digest nutrients from the foods we eat, and bacteria excrete waste products. The waste produced by bacteria is a sticky, acidic biofilm, commonly referred to as plaque. Plaque adheres to the surfaces of teeth causing tooth decay and gum disease. That’s why daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque before it builds up on the surfaces of teeth is essential to keeping smiles healthy.
What do dentistry and headaches have to do with one another? More than you might think. The teeth work together with the jaw and the muscles, ligaments, and joints in the face. When one of these elements isn’t working properly, the result can be chronic headaches and facial pain. TMJ dysfunction, a misalignment of the jaw joints, is a common condition that often causes headaches. In many cases, the problem can be remedied with a custom nightguard, created by Dr. Dodig.
The TMJ, or temporomandibular joints, are the joints that allow you to open and close your mouth easily. If your jaw clicks or pops, you have difficulty chewing, or you feel pain in your cheekbone area, then you may have TMJ dysfunction. The causes of TMJ dysfunction vary and may include:
- A misaligned bite resulting in bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Increased physical or emotional stress
- Changes in eating habits
- Trauma or injury
- Autoimmune disease
A custom nightguard works by holding the jaw in its proper position. Patients typically wear the thin, flexible nightguard during sleep. In addition to realigning the jaw bone, the nightguard also prevents the harmful effects of grinding. If you have headaches or you grind your teeth, ask Dr. Dodig about a custom nightguard at your next appointment.
Oral Cancer Screenings
According to recent estimates, one patient dies every hour from oral cancer. While the majority of these patients are tobacco users or drink excessive amounts of alcohol, 20% or more of those diagnosed with oral cancer do not engage in any of these behaviors. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, the best way to reduce the number of annual deaths attributed to oral cancer is to diagnose and begin treatment in early stages. Dr. Dodig and her team are so dedicated to ensuring patients’ oral and overall health that they only charge patients for their first screening. After this initial screening, we offer annual checks for signs of oral cancer free of charge. Ask our team about oral cancer signs and symptoms at your next visit.
Gum Disease Treatment
Periodontal, gum, disease is not only one of the most common oral health issues. It’s one of the most common overall health concerns. More than half of US adults over thirty have either mild gum disease, gingivitis, or the more advanced form, periodontitis. This number jumps to 75% at age 35. While these statistics are alarming, the disease is 100% preventable with adequate at-home and professional care. The damage and discomfort caused by gingivitis are typically reversible with better at-home hygiene and more frequent professional cleanings. Periodontitis requires more advanced treatments including scaling (removal of plaque and tartar below the gum line) and root planing (the smoothing of tooth roots to prevent future buildup). We may also recommend topical antibiotics to eliminate bacteria and future damage.
In the past several decades, the field of dentistry has seen numerous innovations that make care more effective, affordable, and convenient. Radiographs, commonly referred to as x-rays, have changed drastically. From traditional x-rays which took significant time to capture, develop, and view to digital x-rays that diminish radiation exposure and are immediately viewable in the treatment room on chairside monitors. Our office now uses the Nomad handheld x-ray system in order to offer the most comfortably, quickly captured, high definition x-ray images with the least radiation exposure.