Comprehensive Exam & Cleaning

An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure.

For new and existing patients, we begin with a comprehensive examination and create a treatment plan that is customized for your unique oral needs. Your examination will include digital x-rays as well as a visual and physical exam to look for new cavities, weaknesses in teeth and existing restorative work, gum health, and identify any abnormalities in hard & soft tissues .

A comprehensive exam and cleaning may include the following steps:

Digital X-Rays

Dental x-rays are used as a diagnostic tool, providing invaluable information. X-rays provide the details that can not be detected with our eyes and hands alone. Our objective is to identify issues as early as possible, and without x-rays, problem areas can go undetected and worsen with time, inevitably this necessitates more invasive, complex, and costly procedures. They are used to detect decay, bone loss, tumors, cysts, and numerous other dental issues while helping us to map the position of your teeth and their roots.  Dr. Kumar uses this information to safely and accurately formulate a complete and thorough treatment plan.

The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Dr. Kumar will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and caries risk. For our new patients, the initial x-rays provide us with a more accurate baseline for future assessments and evaluation of minor changes that could otherwise go unnoticed.

Digital dental x-rays are safe,  producing a very low level of radiation. In New York  standards, it is comparable to walking outside and many other everyday activities. We take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays which include using lead apron shields to protect the body, and the utilization of a digital x-ray system, which also reduces the amount of radiation exposure significantly compared to traditional films.

Prevention

Dental Prophylaxis/Cleaning

Using both hand instruments and an ultrasonic scaler, Dr. Kumar or a member of her hygienist team will gently break up plaque and tartar that build up above & below the gum line. This is an important part of our preventive regimen, keeping your smile healthy, ultimately reducing the risk for more invasive procedures.

Our intent is to set our patients up for success! The  team will equip our patients with at-home care tips to maintain your oral health between visits.

At-Home Oral Hygiene

You don’t have to brush your teeth...just the ones you want to keep!

While visiting us for your comprehensive exams and cleanings are important, it’s essential that you hold up your end of the deal and maintain your oral health in between visits. These steps include:

Brush!

Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled or electronic toothbrush.
Dr. Kumar’s Recommendations:

More About Brushing...

To get the best oral hygiene results from tooth brushing, we recommend using an electric toothbrush, preferably one with a pressure sensor. A pressure sensor will tell you when you’re brushing too hard,  which may result in receding gums.

If you’re using a manual toothbrush, hold it at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Use short, circular strokes to move the brush over each tooth. Be sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day, including the front and back sides of all your upper and lower teeth.

And please, don’t rush the process!! Be thorough, brushing for 2 minutes- 30 sec per quadrant. Don’t forget to gently brush your tongue. Removing odor-causing bacteria will help give you fresher breath.

Keep it clean, replace your toothbrush/toothbrush head every three months to minimize bacteria buildup.

Floss!

Brushing can’t do it all on it’s own, it takes teamwork! Flossing helps maintain oral hygiene by removing bacteria from areas between the teeth that are hard to reach by brushing alone. Floss twice a day to clean between your teeth.

Floss comes in a variety of forms so you're bound to find something that fits in perfectly with your oral care routine.

Flossing Options for Any Routine:

“Glide” Like Floss

  • Can be inserted between closely spaced teeth, gentle on the gums & less likely to fray
  • Easier in tight spaces
  • Gentle on gums & stimulates gums and helps prevent gingivitis as part of a complete dental plan
  • Strong and shred resistant
  • Light coating of natural wax can improve grip

Water Flossers

  • Irrigation devices send a steady or pulsating stream of water or mouth rinse through a detachable nozzle to a targeted area of the mouth.
  • Water flossers are a great ADJUNCT to flossing and is not meant to replace flossing. Irrigation does not completely remove plaque. It is however, good for flushing out accumulated debris from braces, bridges and other restorations, and deep gum pockets. Dr. Kumar recommends the Waterpik or the Sonicare Airfloss

Textured Floss

  • Can be inserted between closely spaced teeth
    • Unwaxed is more likely to fray
    • Waxed is less likely to fray but more difficult to use in tight spaces
  • We love Cocofloss!  - a textured floss that does not fray and better in tight spaces!

Interproximal Threaders

  • 3 unique components—a stiffened/needle like end dental floss threader, spongy floss and regular floss—all work together for maximum benefits.
  • Ideal for cleaning braces, bridges and wide gaps between teeth.
  • Allows you to floss under appliances
  • Cleans around appliances and between wide spaces
  • Removes plaque under the gumline
  • Supplies you with pre-measured strands

Floss Holder

  • Y-shaped plastic tool that holds a length of floss between two prongs.
    Can make flossing easier for people who have trouble manipulating the floss or fitting their fingers into their mouth.

Toothpicks

  • Common pointed cleaning tool made from wood, plastic, or metal
  • Typically recommended to use in limited cases as these devices can be damaging to the gums.

Interproximal Brushes

  • Pushed in and out of gaps between widely separated teeth or around braces or prosthetic devices
  • Plaque removal for bridges, crowns, braces and varying size tooth spaces

Rinse!

To finish off your sparkling smil e, swish a fluoridated mouthwash to get to places that your toothbrush and even the deep cleaning of floss might have missed. We want  fluoride because it is proven to strengthen enamel and fight cavities. We want all the defense we can get!

Rinse with an alcohol-free  fluoridated mouthwash 2/day to help remove lingering bacteria & help fight cavities.

Dr. Kumar’s Recommendations:

Balance!

Eat a balanced diet and enjoy sugary treats in moderation. Be mindful of the frequency of sugary &/or acidic foods...the more often you expose your teeth to sugars and acids, the more often your teeth are under attack! Foods high in carbohydrates, sugars and starches greatly contribute to the production of plaque acids that attack the tooth enamel. Some teeth healthy snacks are cheese, leafy greens, yogurt, apples, carrots, celery, & almonds

Chew!

Chew sugarless xylitol-containing gum between meals/snacks.
Dr. Kumar's Recommendations:

Drink!

Drink lots of  water…. Sipping water is also one of the best things you can do for your teeth!
Benefits:

  • Water cleans your mouth with every sip. It washes away food debri and residue that cavity-causing bacteria are looking for.
  • Water dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth.
  • most public water supplies contain fluoride, which plays a major part in strengthening tooth enamel, and because it doesn't contain sugar, water doesn't put you at any risk for tooth decay in the process.

Water Floss!

Patients with multiple restorations, implants, &/or crown and bridge work can get an added benefit with a water flosser. A great adjunct to flossing, but not a replacement.
Dr. Kumar's Recommendations:

Check-ups!

Schedule regular checkups with your Dr. Kumar every six months for a teeth cleaning.

Oral Cancer Screening

Early detection is everything, nobody ever regrets a quick screening. During your routine exam, our team will also check for oral cancer. Signs or indicators include feeling for irregular tissue or bumps in your mouth, neck, and head. Many patients have abnormal spots or sores in their mouths, with majority being identified as non-cancerous. However, we are not risk-takers when it comes to our patient’s wellbeing. Which is why if we notice anything unusual or concerning, a biopsy may be recommended for further examination.

Aside from visiting us for your checkup every six months, there are a number of ways you can reduce your risk for oral cancer:

  • Avoid ALL tobacco products. Period.
  • Keep the cocktails to a minimum. Moderation equates to one drink for a woman and two for a man.
  • Eat the rainbow! Maintain a healthy and balanced diet containing a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit sun exposure and always wear SPF.w34

Between visits, your own hands & eyes are invaluable. We want our patients to take an active role in their own oral health and be aware of the signs & symptoms:

  • Red or white sores or spots in the mouth
  • A sore that does not heal or bleeds easily
  • A thick, lump, or rough spot of irregular mouth tissue
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth or on the lips
  • Problems chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your jaw

For more strategies on cancer prevention, visit the Moffit Cancer Center’s Take Charge Story Archive for “6 Powerful Strategies for Cancer Prevention” by Nagi Kumar Ph.D, RD, FADA.

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride is the best cavity fighter to help keep the whole family's teeth strong — no matter the age!

We provide fluoride treatments to all our patients, after every cleaning. The fluoride preparation used in the dental office is a much stronger concentration than that in toothpastes or fluoride mouthrinses that may be available in a store or at a pharmacy. The best offense is a good defense!

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, including oceans.  Research has shown that fluoride not only reduces cavities in children and adults, but it also helps repair/reverse the early stages of tooth decay, even before the decay is visible.

When it reaches your teeth, fluoride is absorbed into the enamel. It helps to repair the enamel by replenishing the lost calcium and phosphorous to keep your teeth hard & healthy.. This process is caused remineralization. Our teeth undergo a constant re- & de- mineralization process. When fluoride is present during remineralization, `the minerals deposited into the tooth enamel help strengthen your teeth and prevent damage during the demineralization phase. Thus, fluoride helps stop the decay process and prevent tooth decay.

Questions?

We're happy to address all your dental questions at Nina Kumar DDS! Schedule an appointment, give us a call, or visit our contact page to get in touch!