Wharton General & Preventive Dentist
When it comes to caring for your smile, the David A. Tripulas, DDS, Inc. team wants patients to know there are two essential things every patient should do. First, everyone needs to brush and floss every day, and second, all patients should visit their dentist at least two times each year. This dedication to preventive dentistry makes it possible for our dentists to help patients prevent the majority of oral health concerns, and treat others in their earliest stages for the most conservative care. In addition to regular checkups, there are a number of other preventive dentistry services our dedicated team can provide. Contact us to find out more or schedule an appointment at our Wharton practice today. We welcome patients form Glen Flora and other surrounding communities as well.
Checkups & Cleanings
Before recommending any other treatments, Dr. Tripulas will first establish routine dental checkups taking place every six months in order to help patients achieve and maintain their optimal level of oral health. Our goal is to prevent oral health issues whenever possible, treat those we cannot prevent in the earliest stages, and help patients maintain their natural smile for a lifetime. That starts with our state-of-the-art diagnostic tools including digital x-rays. These high definition, low radiation x-rays are a safer and more effective treatment planning tool than their traditional counterparts. Next, the dentist carefully examines teeth and gums screening for signs of common oral health conditions including tooth decay, gum disease, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), and oral cancer. Then, one of our skilled hygienists carefully removes plaque and tartar buildup from even those hard to reach places, provides patients with tips on how to improve their at home hygiene, and points toward any areas that need increased focus. Finally, patients sit down face to face with Dr. Tripulas to review the findings of their diagnostic x-rays and examination. He will also answer any questions and work in partnership with patients to develop a customized plan for ongoing dental care.
Most of our patients know what cavities or tooth decay are, but many aren’t aware of another extremely common oral health concern and its side effects. Periodontal (gum) disease effects more than 50% of US adults over the age of 30, and for those patients over the age of 35, it is the leading cause of tooth loss. Additional research shows that the majority of cases go undiagnosed due to the extremely subtle warning signs of early stage gum disease known as gingivitis. This disease occurs when plaque and tartar buildup at the gum line irritates the soft tissue leading to bleeding, inflammation, and eventually, forming sores that breakdown the connection between teeth and gums. Left untreated, gingivitis can develop into the much more problematic periodontitis. This advanced form of gum disease causes the pockets between teeth and gums to expand as the connective tissues are broken down by infection and inflammation. Without proper treatment, the loss of tissue allows teeth to shift, and in some cases, teeth may even be lost due to the lack of supportive structure. For early stages of periodontal disease, we typically recommend more frequent professional cleanings and improved at home hygiene to reverse the effects. When gum disease reaches the advanced stages, we may need to perform more advanced therapy known as scaling, the removal of plaque, tartar, and infected tissue below the gums, and root planing, the smoothing of tooth roots to prevent future build up. We complete this treatment using a state-of-the-art soft tissue laser for optimal patient comfort and treatment success.
Nightguards for TMJ/Bruxism Therapy
While TMJ dysfunction and bruxism do not always have the same causes, they may both be relieved using one comfortable, convenient treatment – nightguards. TMJ dysfunction occurs when patients strain or damage the small, triangular joints that connect the jaw with the skull allowing patients to chew, speak, yawn, and perform other daily tasks. Bruxism has been linked to stress, misaligned teeth, and other possible causes, but the unconscious grinding and clenching of teeth whatever the cause can lead to chipped, cracked, or broken teeth. A custom crafted mouthguard worn throughout the night offers the dual benefit of protecting teeth from the potential damage of grinding and clenching and allowing the jaw to rest comfortably through the night relieving the pain of TMJ dysfunction.
Traditional x-rays have allowed dentists and other medical professionals to view the underlying structures of patients’ bodies to diagnose and treat a number of health concerns accurately. However, most dental practices have now shifted to exclusively utilizing digital x-rays as they offer a number of benefits compared with their traditional counterparts including:
- Reduced radiation exposure for patients 40% or more compared with traditional x-rays
- No need for staff members to use hazardous chemicals to develop the x-ray film
- No need to physically store or transport large, delicate x-ray images
- No need to have a special light board to view the x-rays they are immediately visible on a chairside computer monitor and easily transferred to patients, specialists, and insurance providers whenever necessary
Protecting smiles from decay causing bacteria can be difficult even with the most diligent at-home hygiene routine. This is especially true for our young patients who are still learning how to care for their smiles. Dental sealants are a fast, painless treatment that protects teeth from decay causing bacteria by creating a clear, plastic barrier between teeth and bacteria. Easily applied as part of any regular dental checkup, sealants can remain in position for several years protecting smiles.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Most patients don’t immediately think of the dentist when they are considering treatment options for sleep apnea, but the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea may need to consult with a dentist if they find themselves CPAP intolerant, travel frequently and are unable to transport a CPAP system, and in a number of other situations. Dentists have advanced training in understanding all aspects of the orofacial region including the sinuses and airways. They offer sleep apnea sufferers relief by custom crafting mouthguards that shift the jaw forward keeping the airway clear through the night.
We welcome whole families to visit our office, and our team of superstars have years of experience working with even the youngest patients. We take care to ensure kids develop positive associations with the dentist and look forward to visiting our office. We also understand the unique dental health and behavioral needs of young people, and offer a number of treatments to help them achieve and maintain healthy smiles they can keep for life.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Many of our patients who don’t use tobacco believe that oral cancer screenings are unnecessary. While tobacco use significantly increases patients’ risk to develop oral cancer, there are a number of other high risk activities, and many patients who are diagnosed engage in none of these. For this reason, we conduct oral cancer screenings as part of every six month checkup at our practice.