Things are happening in your mouth all day and night long. Bacteria builds up along your gum line, acids attack, clenching and grinding wears away at the enamel, cavities compromise tooth strength – and often all of these things start to deteriorate the health of your smile without even the slightest sign or symptom. This is why we emphasize the importance of regular dental checkups. Regularly scheduled dental exams keep us informed of any changes as they occur. The earlier problems are caught the better – it allows us to treat your teeth more conservatively and that’s good for both your health and for your budget! During every comprehensive exam we will check for:
- Gum disease
- Oral cancer
- Sleep apnea symptoms
- Signs of TMJ disorder
- Dry mouth
And because all of our treatment rooms are computerized, we can easily compare the results of your current exam against past exams for ideal evaluation and diagnosis.
Oral Cancer Screenings
You may be surprised to discover that oral cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers in America with close to 50,000 people being diagnosed every year! And because it can grow beyond its earliest, most treatable stages without pain or symptoms, oral cancer can worsen and spread to other parts of your body before it is ever diagnosed. The team at Jordan Elbridge Family Smiles takes this insidious disease very seriously and checks your oral tissue including your gums, lips, tongue, and throat for the first signs of cancer at every visit. Our doctors are specially trained to detect oral cancer and always check you for:
- A sore throat
- Thickening or lumps on your lips or cheeks
- Discolored patches or small sores
- Chronic bad breath
If we find early signs of cancer or precancerous lesions, we will send you for immediate testing. When mouth or throat cancer is caught early, it is not difficult to treat and can be completely eliminated in up to 90% of cases.
Dental x-rays are one of our best tools for checking out what is happening under the surface of your teeth and gums. They allow us to see all the way through your teeth and into your tooth roots to check for the earliest signs of cavities, infection, or any other kind of abnormality or damage. And since we use digital x-rays here at Jordan Elbridge Family Smiles, we are able to immediately view the clearest, sharpest images possible – we can even show them to you on the large flat-screen TVs in every exam room. This lets us share with you exactly what is happening with your oral health and lets you feel empowered to make decisions about treatment. It is a great tool for childhood dental care education as well, letting children understand the anatomy of their dentition from the inside out. Plus, because the x-rays are digital, they can be stored directly to the computer and require no chemical developers or paper – a real environmental benefit.
In addition to standard digital dental x-rays, we also have panoramic x-ray capabilities. Panoramic x-rays allow us to get a full overview of your mouth, head, and neck. It is an ideal adjunct to digital x-rays and helps us evaluate for implant placement, orthodontic needs, and wisdom teeth positioning.
No matter how diligently you keep up with your home oral hygiene routine, no matter how carefully you monitor and time your kids’ toothbrushing and flossing, nothing can replace the all-important professional cleaning you get from your dental hygienist. We recommend cleanings every six months for adults and children with a clean bill of health (more for those who are prone to cavities or periodontal disease). These dental hygiene visits allow us to deep clean around your gums, where tooth brushing often misses, removing the plaque and tartar buildup that can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. We make these cleanings extra gentle and effective by using the Piezo ultrasonic cleaner. This device blasts away even the hardest buildup with soundwaves for a clean you won’t be able to miss – and yet even our most sensitive patients tell us they were comfortable and pain-free all the way through. We combine this technology with intraoral cameras so we can see the surface of every tooth as we clean – and show you what’s going on in your mouth as well. You’ll leave knowing that your teeth and gums are fresh, free of bacteria, and sparklingly smooth. It’s a great feeling!
You may never think of your gums. They are just there, quietly holding your teeth in place – until they become inflamed or infected. We think about your gums all the time. Why? Gums don’t just keep your teeth where they belong, they also act as portals to the rest of your body. Gums are mucous membranes which means that if they become infected, that infection can enter your bloodstream causing an inflammatory response and leading to all kinds of health issues. Studies show that gum disease can be linked to anything from premature labor and low birth-weight babies to heart disease, strokes, and even cancer. The biggest problem is that gum disease can start, like many other problems in your mouth, with barely noticeable symptoms. If you do notice any bleeding when you brush or floss or if your gums are even slightly red or puffy, please call Jordan Elbridge Family Smiles right away. Our periodontal therapy includes scaling and root planing to remove all bacterial buildup, prepare your gum tissue for healing snugly back around your teeth, and get your body back to health. Depending on the level of infection present, we may recommend a treatment with Arestin, a topical antibiotic that is placed in the gum pockets and stays in place, healing and soothing, for up to ten days. We recommend that all of our gum disease patients return for a checkup and cleaning every three months until the infection is entirely cleared and your gums are back in the pink.
If you are living in an area that is non-fluoridated, Cayuga county and well water systems, that means both your and your children’s teeth are unprotected against the daily attacks modern life dishes out. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that protects teeth by remineralizing them, building enamel, and reducing sensitivity. In fact, fluoride treatments have been shown to stop and even reverse early tooth decay! You see, everything you put in your mouth, from juice, soda, and sports drinks too sugary snacks, carb-laden meals, and cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, feeds bacteria and helps weaken your dental enamel. While we always recommend that you limit sugary and acidic foods and stop tobacco use, we also offer a great way to protect your teeth and remineralize them – even without fluoride in the drinking water. For kids who are especially vulnerable to tooth decay, we may prescribe a fluoride vitamin. In addition, we encourage and promote fluoride treatments at every visit for both children and adults.
Your smile does so much for you. It lets you eat what you want, speak clearly, and smile, so protecting it should be at the top of your priority list. Whether you have had extensive dental work– or never needed any restorative work at all – preserving your enamel and minimizing stress on teeth is good not only for your smile and your health but also your wallet! That’s why we offer mouthguards to protect against nighttime grinding and clenching, also known as bruxism. Nighttime tooth grinding can be caused by a variety of things including stress, TMJ disorder, or medication side effects – and you may never realize you are doing it until extensive damage has been caused. That damage could include:
- Worn, chipped, breaking teeth
- Flattened tooth surfaces
- Exposure of tooth layers and loss of enamel
- Tooth sensitivity
- Gum recession
- Oral tissue injuries
If we see signs of bruxism, we can fit you for a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth from the wear, tear, and sensitivity caused by tooth clenching and grinding. We usually recommend that you wear your mouthguard every night, but this comfortable guard could also be worn during the day if you clench while you drive or work because of stress.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
That nighttime snoring could be doing more than making a lot of noise. Snoring is often one of the first symptoms of sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening disorder. Find out how Jordan Elbridge Family Smiles can help stop your snoring, let you sleep, and help you find better health with a small and comfortable oral device. For more information, please visit our Sleep Apnea page.
Do you often wake up with a headache? Have you noticed that your teeth look shorter than they used to? Does your jaw crack or pop when you try to bite a large sandwich or when you yawn? You may be suffering from TMJ disorder, a common disease that affects millions of Americans. Here at Jordan Elbridge Family Smiles, we often find that TMJ disorder starts with a bad bite or a problem with the way your teeth come together. It can be a result of clenching and grinding (bruxism) stress, an accident or other trauma, medication, or even poorly balanced dental work. We generally treat TMJ disorder by stopping the clenching and grinding that contributes to the disorder with a nighttime occlusal guard or reprogrammer. These nighttime mouthguards protect your teeth while helping your muscles relax into their ideal position. Of course, every occlusal guard and reprogrammer is custom made just for you. Simply pop the guard in your mouth at night and end the cycle of wear and tear. Your teeth will thank you.
Just when you thought your schedule was full enough with barely time to take a breather, a crown breaks, your kid falls and chips a tooth, or your spouse has a toothache that just won’t end. When dental emergencies happen, Jordan Elbridge Family Smiles is here to make even these unwanted surprises as easy, convenient, and comfortable as possible. Patients can give us a call day or night – someone is always available to answer questions and get you scheduled. Generally, we can get you in the very same day you called! Our patients really appreciate the calm and efficient way we handle emergencies and how comfortable we make you, no matter what the circumstances. So take a deep breath and relax. No matter what dental emergencies life throws at your smile, you’re in good hands at Jordan Elbridge Family Smiles.