Most dentists consider mouthwashes as optional in overall dental care. For starters, it’s not a substitute to tried-and-tested brushing and flossing, since, unlike toothpaste, mouthwash lacks the right ingredients to fully purge the teeth of bacteria. However, it can help in some ways, particularly a therapeutic mouthwash.
Therapeutic rinses do not only carry breath fresheners, they also mitigate the risk of tooth decay by denying bacteria of viable food sources. For instance, bacteria can’t break down xylitol, an ingredient found in many therapeutic mouthwashes. Xylitol has hydrating properties that deny bacteria of their proper breeding ground.
Nevertheless, proper hygiene alone won’t be enough to prevent tooth decay, which affects nine out of ten American adults every year. A biannual visit to a general dentist in Scranton, PA, like one in Back Mountain Dental, is also a must. The dentist possesses the right skills and equipment to spot the presence and source of tooth decay, and provide the necessary treatment.
One of the latest tools of the trade in dentistry is DIAGNOdent. This device emits harmless pulses of light at a wavelength of 655 nm to detect fluorescence, which is inherent in carious teeth. A display value of 21 and above on the machine indicates carious activity.
Such a device has become very useful because widespread fluoride use in recent times has resulted in smaller cavities that are harder to detect with traditional dental instruments. These smaller cavities are not any less threatening, however, as they can escalate and cause serious decays unless detected and treated early enough.
Once the dentist confirms the location of carious teeth, he can perform the necessary treatment. As much as possible, dentists will try to save decayed teeth through such methods as root canals and fillings. In some instances, however, the only alternative is extraction. The dentist might decide on this if the tooth has deteriorated to the point that it could infect nearby teeth, or the gums.
Extraction is understandably the worst fear of many dental patients. To address this, trusted dental offices offer sedation dentistry that has been proven very effective in calming down even the most anxious patients. Sedation dentistry in Scranton facilities may be done intravenously, which has been found in many cases to be more effective, particularly in treatments that take a longer time to complete.
Given all the new technology and advances in dental research and techniques, patients have very little reason to fear going to the dentist and pin their hopes on over-the-counter remedies. While these remedies may help mask symptoms of oral problems, they are never a good substitute for the kind of caring a dentist can give.