General Dentistry in Summerville SC

We can’t say it often enough; if you want a life free of oral health problems, you must be diligent about scheduling and keeping routine appointments for dental cleanings and exams.

If your teeth feel okay, these may not seem like services you need to worry about. The truth is, however, preventive dental exams and teeth cleanings at our Summerville, SC dental office are the only way to ensure that your family enjoys healthy, problem-free smiles.

At Azalea Dental, we want to be your dental home for life. Of course, we’re always happy to help a patient in sudden need of care. But these routine appointments help us build a history of your oral health so we can monitor changes over time. As Dr. Thomas P. Riley and our team become familiar with your history, we can address small problems them before they become serious and costly to fix.

Please Call Us to Schedule

If it’s time for your next dental exam and cleaning, please call us. And if it’s been several months or even years since your last checkup, we won’t judge or lecture you. We’re more concerned with where your oral health is headed than where it’s been. Please call to schedule an appointment so we can get started!

 

How often do I need a dental exam and cleaning?

large family hugging in a grassy field I general dentist in summerville scAt Azalea Dental, we provide customized solutions that are based on each patient’s unique needs. The optimal frequency of dental exams and teeth cleanings at our Summerville dental office will be decided by Dr. Riley when he sees you for your first visit.

We recommend dental cleanings every six months to stay a step ahead of problems like cavities and gum disease. In fact, most dental insurance covers two cleanings a year because this interval works well for most people. If you’re uninsured, we offer an in-house dental savings plan where you pay an annual fee and receive two exams, dental cleanings, and necessary x-rays.

However, if Dr. Riley finds you are at high risk for cavities (caries), or we’re treating you for gum disease, he’ll recommend more frequent visits. We need to monitor these conditions because stopping problems in their earliest stages is the best way to protect your oral health.

I brush and floss at home. Do I still need a dental cleaning?

Yes. Your daily oral hygiene efforts go hand in hand with professional teeth cleaning at our Summerville, SC dental office. Brushing your teeth twice and flossing once a day is essential. But there are areas around your teeth that you can’t clean adequately even with your best efforts.

Your dental hygienist uses specialized instruments to get into all the spaces your toothbrush and floss can’t. The plaque you don’t remove with brushing and flossing can turn into a hard substance called tartar or calculus. Tartar can’t be removed with at-home oral hygiene no matter how well you brush and floss. But using instruments made for this purpose, your hygienist can remove tartar that harbors bacteria and can lead to gum disease.

Of course, a dental cleaning should also leave you with a sparkling smile, so we finish all cleanings with a polishing technique that uses a gentle abrasive to leave you with a smile that's not only healthier but beautiful as well!

What are the benefits of routine dental checkups?

Some of the benefits of regular dental examinations include:

  1. Detect cavities early to prevent more invasive and expensive dental treatment.
  2. Diagnose oral disease and systemic disease that may present in the oral cavity.
  3. Detect susceptible “plaque traps” that could benefit from sealants or other preventative treatment.
  4. Detect fractures in teeth BEFORE they break and become painful.

Please call our Summerville, SC dental office if you have any questions or to schedule your next dental cleaning and exam.

Will you take x-rays at my dental appointment?

woman laying in dental exam chair smiling I general dentistry at azalea dentalDr. Riley is a dentist in Summerville who conducts thorough dental exams that provide him with an overall picture of your oral health. We don’t always recommend x-rays, but if it’s been a while since you’ve had them taken, he may suggest we take some to make sure your records are up to date.

We understand that many patients are concerned about having too many dental x-rays. At Azalea Dental, your safety and comfort are important to us, so we only recommend x-rays when absolutely necessary. And you’ll be pleased to know that we use state-of-the-art digital dental x-rays that expose you to about 80 percent less radiation than older film-type x-rays.

We also use digital intraoral cameras that give you us an up-close, highly detailed view of the outside of your teeth and the condition of your gums. We can even share the images with you in real time so you can see what we see.

Dr. Riley will perform a visual examination as well, noting the current condition of your teeth and any changes since your last visit.

What if you find I have gum disease during my dental exam?

Gum disease is an infection caused by a buildup of bacteria-filled plaque and tartar around your gum line. It’s usually the result of inadequate oral hygiene, but there are also factors like diabetes and smoking that increase your risk for gum disease.

If we find evidence of early gum disease (gingivitis), we will perform thorough teeth cleaning to remove the plaque and tartar. We’ll give you tips for improving your oral hygiene at home, and schedule your next six-month appointment.

Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) requires more intensive treatment and a procedure called scaling and root planing. Since periodontitis can significantly damage the bone that supports your teeth, we’ll schedule recall appointments for dental cleanings every two or three months.

The best way to avoid gum disease is to brush and floss at home, eat a nutritious diet, and schedule routine dental examinations and cleanings at our Summerville, SC dental office. Please call us if it’s time for your next appointment!

Do you do oral cancer screenings?

oral cancer screening | summerville, scA very important part of every dental exam at our Summerville dental office is an oral cancer screening. Dr. Riley looks at your lips, tongue, cheeks, and the back of your throat to look for signs of abnormalities.

The screening is nothing to fear, and it could potentially save your life. If he sees something of concern, Dr. Riley will refer you to your primary care doctor for further diagnosis and treatment. 

How can you help me save money on dental work?

Preventive dental exams and teeth cleanings at our Summerville dental office are the easiest and most cost-effective way to keep your smile healthy. An example of this would be a tiny spot of decay on a tooth. When we see you at your six-month visit, Dr. Riley will find the problem, fill the tooth, and send you on your way.

But let’s say you decide to skip that appointment because your daughter has a soccer game you just can’t miss. Your tooth doesn’t hurt yet, so you don’t realize that a problem exists. Meanwhile, the decay spreads, and your tooth starts to break down. A tooth that could have been saved with a simple filling now needs a dental crown or even a root canal to treat.

As you can see, prevention is the key, and seeing you at six-month intervals allows us to address these kinds of issues before they require complex and costly dental work. Please call our Summerville dental office today to schedule your next cleaning and dental exam