Christine S. Maxwell
Healthy Mouths: Back to the Basics
Article by Christine S. Maxwell, Vicinity Magazine
Photo by Dan Epstein
Daniel Barletta, DMD, believes that good dental health is a partnership between dentist and patient. Below, he discusses preventative measures for optimal oral health.
What are the different types of patients you see?
I love seeing all my patients, from the patients that only need exams and cleanings every 4-6 months to the patient that needs extensive dental care. For the patients that have not seen a dentist for a long time, because of fear or cost, I take the time to develop a suitable treatment plan. Most rewarding is the patient that regularly comes for exams, x rays, and cleanings and has not had a filling or any dental work for 15 or more years.
What is the common denominator for patients that don’t need a lot of dental work?
They don’t ever miss their regular cleaning appointments, which is so essential in removing the plaque and tarter. Another common factor I see in healthy mouths is excellent home care. These patients brush their teeth carefully, thoroughly, and diligently for at least two minutes twice a day. Electric toothbrushes also lead to less plaque and healthier gums.
Is brushing your teeth a significant factor?
Yes, but cleaning in between teeth is also essential. Brushing alone will clean about 60% of the tooth, but for cleaning the entire tooth, use floss and other interdental cleaning devices. A “proxa brush” designed to clean surface areas between two adjacent teeth is an excellent choice. We always demonstrate to our patients how to use these instruments in our office.