In 1990, Dr. Stephen Ratcliff established Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Arlington. Dr. Ratcliff is an extraordinary dental professional dedicated to preventative dentistry.
The goal of preventative dentistry is to keep oral health so that no restorative dental work ever becomes required. In other words, preventing tooth decay, gum disease, and enamel wear. Dr. Ratcliff says, “Brushing your teeth and flossing is a good beginning to preventative dentistry. It is also imperative that you get bi-annual exams and dental cleanings. With little ones, dental sealants might be a good option.”
Dental sealants are a thin plastic covering, often used on the very back teeth. These teeth are especially susceptible to trapped food particles, and at the same time tend to be the hardest ones to brush. The goal of a sealant is to safeguard a tooth against decay, which is always preferable to filling a cavity.
Despite efforts to keep children’s teeth healthy, many Arlington youth develop several cavities during their childhood years. Since the rate of tooth decay commonly declines with age, if teeth remain intact during childhood, there is a better chance that these teeth can stay healthy for decades.
Fillings, inlays/onlays and crowns do a great job at saving teeth from extraction, but they don’t last forever. When a 10 year-old gets a cavity in a brand-new permanent tooth, that tooth will probably need periodic attention throughout his life – even if no additional decay occurs. Once the enamel has been eaten away by acids, the tooth is forever weakened.
Sealants act as a barrier between food particles, plaque, and the teeth. The good news is that sealants are easy to apply and last for years. After Dr. Ratcliff applies the sealants, they will be checked with each visit and re-applied as needed. If you are interested in sealants for your child (or yourself), check your dental insurance policy – they may be a covered benefit. Even if not covered by your dental insurance, sealants are a wise investment.
Brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings help ensure that teeth are strong and clean and will last a lifetime. Changing your toothbrush every few months and using a toothpaste with fluoride are also essential components of proper oral care.
Children should be taught how to properly brush while young. However, parents should still supervise brushing and go over the teeth after the child brushes. If your child struggles with flossing, a water irrigation tool may be beneficial. Floss picks can also be easier to handle than a string of floss. Traditional flossing done correctly, however, is the most effective way to clean between teeth.
Don’t believe that dentures are inevitable for people when they reach their golden years. We have some patients in their seventies with all teeth intact. Call Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry for an appointment. We can help you develop a plan to keep your teeth in top shape. Healthy, white, strong teeth are the foundation for a lifelong, unforgettable smile.
If your teeth and gums are healthy, but you don’t like your smile because of cosmetic issues, call 817-274-7875 to schedule a cosmetic dental consultation. Dr. Ratcliff offers family dentistry, along with dental implants and dentures. Come learn about advanced cosmetic dentistry available at Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.