Preventive Dentistry in Grand Island
Grand Island Dentist Offering Preventive Care
General dentistry and preventive care are important parts of good dental health. Regular professional cleanings, proper brushing and flossing techniques, and using the right dental products all contribute to your oral wellbeing. At our Grand Island dental practice, we schedule the frequency of your visits based on your individual needs. You may need restorative work, desire cosmetic enhancements, or require deep gum cleanings. Because patient education is one of our priorities, we’ll answer your questions in non-technical language and teach you how to care for your mouth so your smile lasts a lifetime.
Oral Cancer Screenings
At the Grand Island dental practice of Dr. Steven and CJ Stec, we perform oral cancer screenings as a part of your six-month regular exam. Nearly 40,000 Americans have been diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year—and the number of diagnoses gets higher annually. Sadly, more than half of those patients die within five years. The fatalities and dire survival rates are due to the late discovery of oral cancer—when it’s much more difficult to treat. The most common signs of oral cancer are:
- Red or white spots
- Sores that do not heal
- Lumps or rough spots
- Pain or numbness in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking
- Problems moving the jaw or tongue
- Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Two of your worst dental enemies may be lurking in your mouth even as you read this! Tooth decay and gum disease are unhealthy conditions created by naturally occurring oral bacteria and the acids they produce. Unchecked tooth decay leads inevitably to gum disease, which even conservative estimates say is present in at least 80% of the population. Gum disease, in turn, is the number one reason for tooth loss in American adults. Stop these culprits in their tracks! Our Grand Island dental team recommends creating the daily habit of brushing with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth with floss or inter-dental cleaner. Visit us regularly for your general dental care including professional cleanings, oral examinations, and gum disease therapy.
Dr. Steven and Dr. CJ Stec’s preventive care initiatives include the use of dental sealants on your back teeth. The back teeth have deep grooves on the chewing surfaces, and these deep, narrow grooves can trap bacteria and food particles that eventually lead to decay and infection. Recognized by the American Dental Association as a key means of cavity prevention, dental sealants are created by applying a very thin biocompatible plastic to your tooth surfaces. Dental sealants offer excellent decay protection for children and adults.
Though temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction and bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching) are not necessarily related oral health concerns, they can be treated with the same simple solution – oral appliance therapy. TMJ dysfunction can occur due to an injury, genetics, strain, and a number of other factors, but is simply damage or impaired mobility to the joints connecting the jaw to the skull. Bruxism has many causes, and while some patients grind and clench their teeth all day, most patients experience bruxism when it’s most difficult to combat, while they sleep. We custom craft these oral appliances to fit over patients’ teeth comfortably creating a barrier to protect smiles from the potential damage of nighttime teeth grinding and clenching. Additionally, these appliances allow the jaw to rest comfortably preventing strain on the TMJ and reducing instances of grinding.
Protecting smiles during any sporting event where teeth may come in contact with other players, sports equipment, or hard surfaces is essential, but many patients still fail to wear their athletic mouthguards consistently. Sportsguards are available from athletic retailers, but these non-custom solutions are often bulky or uncomfortable. Custom crafted sportsguards from our Grand Island dental practice offer patients significantly improved comfort as they are designed using impressions of patients’ teeth and fit securely in place.
As primary and permanent teeth develop, it’s essential that patients receive adequate ingested fluoride. The majority of people are able to absorb the necessary amount of fluoride from tap water and foods that contain fluoride. However, once teeth erupt from the gum line, ingested fluoride has little or no effect on the strength of teeth, but topical fluoride can be extremely beneficial. That’s why it’s essential that patients brush with fluoride toothpaste, and for kids just learning to brush and adults who are prone to decay, professional fluoride treatments help improve the strength of teeth preventing decay.
Many patients ask if they can bring their kids to our office for treatment, and the answer is absolutely! We love treating children and have years of experience offering care that meets the unique oral health and behavioral needs of young people. In rare cases, an early examination by our team reveals children are in need of more advanced care, and we may refer them to a pediatric dentistry specialist. For most kids, we’re happy to treat them for their entire lives and have proudly offered multiple generations of families exceptional care.
Gum Disease Treatment
Periodontal (gum) disease affects more than 50% of US adults over 30 according to some estimates, and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. While we are happy to offer treatments for periodontal disease that reverses damage to oral health, we’d rather partner with patients to stop this highly preventable disease from occurring, which is why we make periodontal screening part of every checkup.