Preventative care is the practice of maintaining proper oral hygiene in order to avoid painful and expensive corrective treatments in the future. We use a dynamic approach to preventative dentistry through education, professional service, and teaching patients good oral habits as early as we can. With over 30 years of experience in the dental field and recent technological advancements, we are able to detect and treat problems earlier than ever. It’s not rare that Dr. Heath and his team spot issues before a patient notices any signs or symptoms.
It is important to Dr. Heath and his team that they educate their patients about their specific situation. The more educated the patient, the better decisions they can make regarding their oral health. It’s likely that we suggest several treatment options for your unique dental needs. If this is the case, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each with you. With Dr. Heath and his staff, you will never have to make this decision alone. We are here to support and walk you through every step in your treatment process.
Below are some of the many preventative treatment options we proudly offer:
A dental sealant is one of our preventative treatment options that helps keep food from getting stuck in your teeth and turning into harmful bacteria and other issues. The sealant is a plastic coating that’s applied to your chewing surfaces. Dr. Heath and his team highly recommend this treatment to children and teens to protect their primary and permanent teeth from cavities and tooth decay.
This treatment is simple and painless. All we do is clean your tooth with a polish and then prep it with a gel to bond to the sealant material. We apply the material to your tooth for a few seconds, wash off the gel, and paint your sealant on. Before you’re done, we use a special light to help harden the material. It’s that easy!
Fluoride is a naturally occuring mineral found in food and water. Dr. Heath and his team offer fluoride treatments as part of our preventative dentistry treatments. Fluoride treatments strengthen enamel and help fight tooth decay. Your safety is always our top priority. We use just enough fluoride to properly combat tooth decay but not enough to cause you any pain or discomfort. We have been keeping smiles in Oklahoma City looking great with the help of fluoride treatments for over 30 years.
Root Canal Therapy
We begin root canal therapy by examining and radiographing the problemed tooth. We give you a local anesthetic and once your tooth is numb, we place a sheet over the region to keep saliva from seeping into your tooth during the treatment. After, we make an opening in the top of your tooth to treat the infected area. Once we clean out the pulp chamber and root canal, we clean and fill it with a biocompatible material. A gutta-percha is combined with an adhesive cement to fully seal the root canal. We generally place a temporary filling until we bond a permanent crown to your tooth. The crown will allow your tooth to function as usual. If the tooth is weak, we’ll put a post inside to give it support.
Your temporomandibular joint, commonly known as TMJ is the jaw joint that allows back and forth movement. Located by your ear, it joins the lower jaw to the skull. When you experience pain or discomfort in your TMJ, it is known temporomandibular disorder or TMD. Unfortunately, TMD and stress go hand-in-hand and affect many Americans. Individuals unknowingly clench or grind their teeth when they’re stressed and at night while they sleep. This clenching pressure weakens cartilage and stresses the muscles that allow you to open and close your mouth.
Common signs of TMD include retreating gums, headaches, clicking or cracking noises when you open or close your mouth. Dr. Heath and his staff highly recommend a night guard for patients suffering from TMD. The night guard is worn at night and keeps patients from putting excessive pressure on their jaw and grinding their teeth.
Signs and Symptoms
Soreness of tenderness in the muscles used to chew
Jaw locking open or closed
Clicking or popping noises when you open or close your mouth
Can't fully open your mouth
Discomfort when chewing
History and lifestyle
Palpate muscles of mastication (muscles to chew)
Joint loading test
Palpate joint (clicking, grinding, popping)
You receive a TMJ exam at each appointment. We use a more comprehensive examination for patients who experience TMD symptoms.
While each patient is different and treatment varies, we will likely suggest one of the following:
Occlusal equilibration to adjust your bite
Oral Cancer Screening
Our goal is to diagnose oral cancer as soon as we can. Early detection is the greatest way to detect and treat any type of cancer. We test for oral cancer when patients come in with symptoms of pain, bleeding, and dysphagia or otalgia in the head region. This simple test only lasts a few minutes and has the potential to save your life. Close to 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Of these individuals, only 57% will be alive 5 years after their diagnosis. People are simply not getting screened for oral cancer. Cancer has already metastasized by the time many individuals find out they have oral cancer. Your role is key in diagnosing oral cancer. If you experience any unusual symptoms in between appointments, they should not go unseen by a professional.
Signs and Symptoms
Look for these symptoms at home:
A sore throat that doesn't heal within 2-3 weeks
Red, white, or blue matches in your mouth
Lumps or thickening in your cheeks
Unusual numbness in your mouth
Swelling that alters the fit of your dentures
While these symptoms can be signs of other issues, it is important to have them seen by your dentist to be sure it's not oral cancer.
Human Papilloma Virus
Alcohol and drug use
Unknown (5%), most likely related to genetics
Until recently, 75% of oral cancer was directly associated with tobacco or alcohol use and seen in individuals 50 years and older. Human Papilloma Virus has made young, non-smoking individuals the most rapidly increasing group of oral cancer patients.
Oral Cancer Screening
Check face for asymmetry, discoloration, ulceration, swelling
Palpate lymphatic chains
Check your lips, (interior and exterior)
Check your cheeks (interior and exterior)
Check your tongue (each side and underneath)
Check bottom of mouth
Check soft palate
In need of immediate care?
We provide emergency phone consultation services after working hours and on weekends. Call us at our office (405) 682-0609