A focus on
By Niki Fontaine, RDH
what is preventative dentistry?
To begin my newest adventure in writing in writing for The Seeker, I felt it would be important to introduce myself. My official name is Catherine Fontaine, but to my family, friends, colleagues and clients, I am known simply as Niki. I began my journey and love of the dental field many years ago in 1991, when it was suggested I volunteer in a dental office. From then on, I have been continuously learning and applying through my work as much as possible about all areas of prevention of dental disease. I have credentials in Dental Administration. I am a Registered and Certified Dental Assistant, and a Registered Dental Hygienist including an Oral Facial Myology Specialty.
I am the practitioner and owner of two practices called The Polished Tooth Dental Hygiene Care where clients can visit me and my wonderful team for all aspects of preventative dentistry. We are accepting new patients at The Polished Tooth in our Alexandria office which opened in 2009 and our brand new Cornwall office that opened in October this year.
So, for my first topic ever, what is preventative dentistry? In a nut shell, it is the prevention and control of dental oral disease(s) which people will recognize as cavities (caries), periodontal disease (gum disease) and disorders of the mouth, including oral cancer.
How is prevention accomplished? Preventive treatments are the cornerstone to good health. We as hygienists emphasize ongoing dental hygiene procedures and daily at-home practices to prevent tooth decay and other dental diseases. Our mouth is a corridor to our body. A healthy mouth helps with keeping our body healthy as well. Examples of prevention based treatments and therapy are regular dental cleanings known as re-care or periodontal maintenance appointments. These appointments consist of thorough assessments and documentation of the head and neck, including use of an oral cancer screening tool (Velscope). The gums are the supporting structures of the teeth and can indicate disease or periodontal problems such as bone loss and recession, so evaluation and measurements of the soft tissues (gums) are completed, as well as, checking the teeth for developing issues such as cavities. After the assessments the hygienist will explain the results, debride (clean) any plaque or calculus (hardened plaque) using ultrasonic scalers, piezo scalers or hand instruments, and then floss. Polishing of the teeth and fluoride treatment may be completed based on individual client needs. Recommendations will be made for follow up hygiene care, restorative treatments if required (by referral to a dentist or specialist) and oral hygiene instruction will be demonstrated and home care will discussed.
What other preventative treatments can be done by a hygienist? Some preventive options include sports mouth guards (protection from concussion), oral facial myological assessment, treatment, and therapy (airway, thumb sucking, tongue tie, tongue thrusting, muscle coordination and speech issues), fissure sealants (a coating to protect grooves from decay), placed on new permanent molars (kids), fluoride treatments (re-mineralize sensitive areas or protect enamel), decay prevention such as silver diamine fluoride (arrests the bacteria that causes tooth decay) when placed in specific situations, laser treatment or medicaments for correction and treatment of periodontal pockets, smoking cessation, and some cases temporary restorations, and so much more. We also place tooth jewelry and have in-office teeth whitening and take home teeth whitening kits. Independent dental hygienists are specialists at the front line to help detect, prevent, and treat many dental diseases.
Come and visit us today and do not delay!