Dental Cleanings and Exams in Lafayette, LA

You already know that brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease (along with keeping your breath fresh!). Unfortunately, these dental hazards can still progress with diligent at-home oral hygiene. That’s why Dr. J. Jerome Smith and Dr. Daniel Domingue are committed to helping you prevent teeth and gum problems and take pride in your smile.

Our Lafayette, LA dentists are passionate about helping you feel empowered with your own oral health. Between your own dental hygiene and our preventative dental treatments, your oral health will be at its healthiest and best looking. This team approach, combined with our state-of-the-art technology and caring environment, are what keep patients coming back to our dental practice.

To improve your oral health with preventative dentistry, call our dental office at (337) 235-1523 today!

Preventive Dentistry

Preventive Dental Exams and Cleanings

Preventing Tooth Decay

Preventing Gum Disease

What are some preventable teeth and gum problems?

It’s common knowledge that poor oral hygiene can lead to bad breath. But bacteria left on your teeth can also contribute to these conditions that require treatment:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease

Visiting our Lafayette, LA dentists twice a year for preventive dental exams and cleanings can help prevent problems from progressing.

How does poor oral health affect my overall health?

While most people think oral problems are separate from the rest of their body, the opposite is true. Our mouths naturally have bacteria, but if bacteria gain a foothold on your teeth or gums, your overall health can suffer too.

When bacteria build up on your teeth, your gums can become infected and inflamed. Without proper treatment, this inflammation can lead to periodontal disease, a serious condition that may lead to bone and tissue loss. Scientists believe the inflammation in your mouth can spread to the rest of your body, including your blood vessels, contributing to heart disease.

Researchers have also found links between poor oral health and these health conditions, which is why preventive dentistry is so important:

  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Low birthweight infants
  • Lung disease
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer's disease

What can I expect at my dental exam?

Prevention is at the heart of dental care. Regular checkups with Lafayette, LA dentists Dr. Smith and Dr. Domingue, along with dental cleanings with our talented oral hygienists, will help to prevent most common dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Your dental exam will typically include x-rays or other types of digital imaging, an oral cancer screening, and a comprehensive review of your current dental health. The goal of dental exams is to prevent problems or find and monitor issues before they become more serious. Early treatments are usually simpler and more conservative!

These examinations also give you a chance to bring up concerns you might have about your teeth or gums and ask us any questions. Of course, you are always free to contact us whenever you have questions.

How often should I get dental cleanings?

When you come into the offices of Dr. Smith and Dr. Domingue for your dental exam, we’ll also thoroughly clean your teeth and remove any plaque or tartar buildup.

We agree with the recommendation of the American Dental Association that most patients should have a cleaning every six months. In some cases, it may be appropriate to get cleanings more frequently, and if so, we’ll discuss this with you during your visit.

Why do I need professional teeth cleanings?

You may wonder why professional cleanings are necessary if you’re diligent about brushing and flossing your teeth. But no matter how often you brush, it’s practically impossible to remove all the plaque and bacteria from your teeth, especially plaque that settles between your teeth or under your gum line.

If not removed, plaque can harden into tartar, which you can’t remove with a toothbrush or dental floss. If tartar remains on your teeth, cavities and periodontal disease begin to form.

Our highly skilled dental hygienists use specialized tools to remove tartar deposits from your teeth and from beneath your gum line. We also use an instrument to polish your teeth and brighten them. You can think of a professional cleaning as a fresh start every six months.

If you’ve been diligent about your home-care routine, you’ll see the payoff in quicker and simpler professional cleanings. If your home-care routine needs a little fine tuning, your cleanings are the perfect opportunity for us to review your habits and your techniques and offer suggestions.

How do plaque and tartar affect my teeth and gums?

Plaque is a sticky film that forms on your teeth when bacteria interact with sugars in your mouth. If not removed regularly with brushing and flossing, plaque begins to eat away at your tooth enamel, causing a dental cavity and possibly gum disease. Poor dental hygiene can eventually lead to more serious consequences, including loss of bone, soft tissue, and even teeth.

When plaque hardens beneath your gums and becomes tartar, our dental hygienist will need to remove the substance using special tools. If the tartar stays on your teeth, it can progress to gum disease.

Although you may not know whether you have plaque or tartar stuck on your teeth or under your gums, you can prevent these problems by visiting our Lafayette, LA dental office twice a year for dental exams and cleanings.

How can I prevent tooth decay?

Preventing tooth decay involves a few simple routines:

  • Remove bacteria and dental plaque from your teeth before they damage your enamel by brushing and flossing your teeth daily.
  • Limit sugary and starchy foods to help reduce enamel-eroding acids in your mouth.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Studies have shown that fluoride supplementation increases resistance to cavities. If you are prone to cavities, we may recommend fluoride rinses and other treatments to help protect your teeth. The Lafayette Utilities System does not add fluoride to the public drinking water supply.
  • Visit Dr. Smith or Dr. Domingue for twice-yearly checkups and teeth cleanings.

Tooth decay may not have symptoms. Contact us to schedule your six-month dental exam and cleaning!

How do you treat tooth decay?

If you have a toothache, tooth sensitivity, pain when biting down, or visible stains or pits in your teeth, you may have a cavity. It’s important to call our Lafayette, LA dental office right away so we can schedule an exam.

First, we’ll perform a visual exam and take x-rays to quickly diagnose whether the cavity has penetrated the tooth’s enamel or dentin. If the cavity is in its early stages, we can apply a sealant to the tooth to protect it from further damage.

If the damage has progressed, we will fill the tooth with a dental filling. Sometimes, if the inner pulp of the tooth is infected, we’ll need to perform a root canal to preserve the tooth. We’ll also place a dental crown on the tooth to protect and restore it.

What are the signs of gum disease?

When your gums are infected, you may experience certain symptoms. But keep in mind that periodontal disease can also symptom-free.

  • Red, inflamed, or bleeding gums
  • Sensitive teeth or gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Pain when biting down
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth

Call our Lafayette, LA dentists if you experience any of these symptoms. If caught early, gingivitis can be reversed with diligent oral hygiene and treatment. With consistent brushing and flossing, along with twice-yearly dental visits, most gum disease is preventable.

How do you treat gum disease?

There are two main types of gum disease:

Gingivitis. Mild, reversible inflammation

Periodontitis. Advanced inflammation that includes the breakdown of bone and gums.

When you visit our dental office, Dr. Smith or Dr. Domingue will recommend the best treatment for you, depending on the severity of inflammation.

Use these tips to ensure the best outcome:

  • The main cause of gum disease is usually plaque buildup, so be sure to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day. You can also use an antimicrobial mouth rinse, or we may prescribe one for you.
  • Visiting our dental office twice a year (or more often, if necessary) will ensure that we can monitor your teeth and gums and perform deep cleanings.
  • In severe cases, we may prescribe medication or surgical treatment.

Call Us to Start Your Best Preventive Dental Care

Let’s get to work improving the health of your teeth with a regular preventive dental care program. Call our Lafayette, LA dental office today to get started.