We consider caring for your dental hygiene to be an essential part of our practice. Our goal is to provide the best dental hygiene services in the Post Falls area.
We offer advanced hygiene services including Decay Prevention and Oral Cancer Screenings. Our dental hygienists are registered, highly trained and experienced. They work with our patients to better understand your treatment options.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and throat can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
While some think that oral cancer is rare, it will actually be newly diagnosed in about 132 people each day in the US alone. One person dies from oral cancer every hour of everyday. However, when found in the early stages of development, rates of survival are high – anywhere from 80 to 90%. Unfortunately, this cancer is difficult to detect until the late stages, and at that point, the mortality rate is 43% at 5 years from diagnosis. [The Oral Cancer Foundation].
Fortunately, there is a simple exam that we can perform to check each patient’s’ susceptibility to getting the disease. In fact, early detection has been shown to significantly increase the survival rate of oral cancer up to 90%. That means that this test is a true life saver. The best part is that getting an oral cancer screening is a routine part of a regular dental checkup.
The oral cancer examination is quick, easy, and performed in our office. Our job during the screening is to identify any changes in the tissue of the mouth, lips and tongue, by gently touching and visually examining, the inside of your mouth. We take note of any changes, which may indicate early stages of cancer. If we notice any true abnormalities, we will take a small tissue sample and send it to our lab for additional testing.
Who Should be Concerned About Developing Oral Cancer?
In the past, oral cancer was thought to generally affect the older population. Still today, it mostly affects people over the age of 40. However, currently young people are the fastest-growing demographic of oral cancer patients. This is mainly due to the rise of HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus, which is a sexually transmitted disease.
There are still other major risk factors to consider. You may have a higher chance of developing oral cancer if you are genetically predisposed, over the age of 40, a moderate to heavy drinker, or someone who has used tobacco products over a long period of time. In addition, excessive sun exposure, which is often associated with skin cancer, can also be a cause of cancers of the lips.
How We Detect Oral Cancer
During oral screenings, we will inspect your lips, tongue, and the inside of your mouth. What we are looking for are red or white patches or unusual sores. We gently probe the inside of the mouth for bumps and swelling, and then gently pull the tongue aside to inspect the sides. Sometimes we utilize additional lighting or dye to get a better look at areas of concern. If we find any abnormalities, we will perform a biopsy and send it to the lab for additional testing.
If you ever see sores or color changes in the inner tissue of your mouth, lips or tongue, it could potentially be an indicator of oral cancer. However, most of these small changes are completely benign. If the sores or color changes have not gone away on their own after 2-3 weeks, you should make an appointment for an exam with our office. The only way to accurately diagnose oral cancer is by sending a sample tissue to the lab. Early diagnosis, in addition to regular screenings at your dental appointments, is one the best defenses in preventing oral cancer.
Tooth decay is the destruction of the outer layer of your tooth. It affects everyone from children, to teens, to adults of all ages. It is often referred to as the second most common disease after the common cold. At Brumbach Family Dentistry, we work with each patient individually to help treat tooth decay, and offer advice and helpful tips on how to prevent it.
The prevalence of tooth decay in children is astounding. It’s estimated that over a quarter of children in the US between the ages of two and five are affected by tooth decay. Even worse, it is estimated that half of children between the ages of 12 to 15 suffer from tooth decay as well.
Unfortunately, there is not a single, easy solution for everyone to fight tooth decay. Preventing tooth decay is a long term process, carefully maintained over a lifetime. This includes good hygiene practices at home, like brushing and flossing twice a day, and keeping your regularly scheduled semi-annual cleanings and dental check-ups.
If you’ve come in for a check-up and/or a cleaning, then you may have seen us use specialized tools to remove plaque buildup and tartar from your teeth. Typically, we use ultrasonic scalers to remove buildup. Then, we finish and fine tune with small, hand-held manual instruments. When the removal process is complete, we then do a thorough visual examination to check for tooth decay or cavities.
Additionally, there are other factors you should consider when trying to prevent tooth decay. Your diet, toothbrushing technique, and the type of toothbrush you are using can be discussed with Dr. Brumbach at your next appointment. After having a dialogue with you, he can provide specific recommendations on what improvements you can make to your daily routine to help keep tooth decay at bay.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
When a mouth is healthy, it is in balance. Helpful and harmful bacteria coexist and are frequently interacting with one another. However, when certain sugars are present, harmful bacteria can produce acids that cause teeth to demineralize and start decomposing. An overabundance of acidic foods can also cause your teeth to begin breaking down. When your mouth is healthy, your body has its own way of naturally combating the damaging effects of harmful bacteria. One way it fights bacteria is through producing healthy saliva.
Brushing and flossing daily, regularly scheduled dental cleanings, making sure you are getting adequate fluoride, and limiting sugary and acidic foods, should be a regular practice in the battle to prevent decay. But, if you are prone to tooth decay, and need additional help beyond regular maintenance procedures, we are here to help.
Extra Steps You Can Take to Prevent Tooth Decay
If you are someone who is prone to tooth decay, there are practices you can incorporate at home to help prevent plaque buildup and cavities. Dr. Brumbach and his staff can show you effective brushing techniques at your next cleaning. Additionally, he can also suggest special toothpastes, rinses, and toothbrushes to use at home. We also perform fluoride applications and anti-bacterial treatments in our office, if necessary.
For children who are susceptible to decay, we may we use a dental sealant to cover the natural pits and folds of the tooth. The sealant is a thin, clear layer of plastic resin that we place over the back teeth. This resin makes them more resistant to the bacteria that causes plaque buildup and cavities. We’ve found that this is a quick, pain-free and very effective option for preventing tooth decay.
If you ever have any questions on what you can do to protect your teeth from cavities and prevent tooth decay, please give us a call or schedule an appointment with Dr. Brumbach. We are happy to help guide you in your lifelong journey of protecting and maintaining a truly healthy smile!