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Preventive Dentistry

Preventative Dentistry

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When applied to dental care, Ben Franklin’s wisdom seems very fitting.  Our mouths and teeth are exposed to very harsh environment.  Unlike the other internal organs of our body, immunity and natural defense can be ineffective in combating environmental insults.  Luckily, our month is accessible for easy preventative maintenance.  If due diligence is done, most of oral disease can be prevented.


What are the common factors that cause damages to oral cavity?

  • Bacterial—bacteria are ubiquitous, and they are actually very important organisms, especially the ones in our GI system, to support human life.   However, certain species cause gum disease, cavities, abscess, canker sores and pericoronitis (gum infection around a wisdom tooth).


  • Viral—there are a few viruses that cause oral diseases, including cold sore, oral herpes, sore throat, mononucleosis, mumps, oral warts, and oral cancer.



  • Abnormal forces:

Acute abnormal forces—this includes sports injuries, falls or any other types of accident that cause immediate damage to teeth, jawbone or gums.

Chronic abnormal forces—crooked and misaligned teeth, abnormal bite, clenching, grinding, heavy brushing, abnormal habits (finger sucking, tongue thrust, mouth breathing, etc.)


  • Multi-factorial—there are many oral diseases that may be caused by several factors or unknown factors, including oral cancer, TMJ disease, dry mouth, trigeminal pain etc.


Preventative procedures we recommend

  • Periodic oral exam and regular cleaning twice a year.  If you have more complicated oral conditions, such as gum diseases, severely crooked teeth and full-mouth implant restorations, we recommend more frequent maintenance visits (3-4 times a year).
  • Missing teeth—to avoid shifting of adjacent teeth, all missing teeth should be restored as soon possible.
  • Sealants—first and second molars should be sealed for children ages 6-14 to prevent cavities on the chewing surfaces.
  • Space maintainer—if a baby molar (called tooth E) is missing, a space maintainer is needed to keep the “E” space to avoid crowding in the front teeth allowing future adult teeth to erupt in better positions.  A space maintainer can also benefit patient with any other missing teeth as a temporary solution before a final restoration is done.
  • Orthodontic treatment—orthodontic treatment (Invisalign or traditional) for crooked teeth can prevent many diseases.  We recommend starting treatment early, but you can always benefit it at any age.
  • Dental guards—if you play sports, a sport guard can prevent many potential injuries on to your teeth.  If you a heavy night grinder, a night guard can prevent damages to your teeth and gums.
  • Oral hygiene instruction and customized home care instructions to each individual’s unique dental condition.


Basic Home Care Protocol

  • Brush teeth after each meal, but at least twice a day
  • Use dental floss and waterflosser to help remove food and plaque immediately after meals
  • Antimicrobial mouth rinse twice daily
  • Wear night guard or retainers as per instructions.


Dr Shi and his team are dedicated to prevent oral diseases.  His patients benefit from his preventative procedures that many invasive and more expensive procedures are avoided, and many more teeth are saved.  Please call us today to start your preventative care.