Preventive Dentistry

Comprehensive Exams

preventive dentistryIn addition to checking the teeth for cavities and fractures or wear,  Dr. Conroy and Dr. Ranfranz examine all of the structures of the oral cavity thoroughly, including the jaw muscles, jaw joints (TMJ’s), jawbones, gum tissues, occlusion (bite) and soft tissues.

We pay particular attention to the health of the gum tissues. Gum (periodontal) disease is the most common dental problem we see, and may be a contributing factor to other health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. It is generally a painless disease until its later stages, so many patients don’t know they have a problem until permanent damage has occurred. Your gums will be thoroughly examined at each cleaning and comprehensive exam appointment.

New dental technology helps us help you. For our patients with stain in the grooves, laser cavity detection helps us identify small areas of decay before they can be seen on an x-ray or clinically. When caught at an early stage, cavities are less costly to fix and can often be treated without having to numb the tooth.

As part of a comprehensive examination, your dentist will perform an oral cancer screening. While oral cancer is rare, it can be a deadly disease. Early detection can mean the difference between life and death.

For our patients with greater needs, we sit down together to discuss treatment options, costs and expectations before treatment begins. This approach allows you understand our recommendations completely, make comfortable financial arrangements and have input into your treatment planning.

Cleanings & Gum Treatments

We offer a variety of cleanings and gum treatments to fit all of our patients’ needs.

As a general rule, most patients should have a dental cleaning every six months. Regular cleanings make a huge difference in preventing gum disease and cavities.
Sometimes using an ultrasonic cleaner is a big help. For our patients who build up calculus  (tartar) more readily or who don’t care for the hand scaling, this instrument can be of great assistance. If a patient has gum disease, we can usually treat the condition right in our office.

Treatment of gum disease begins with periodontal root smoothing. A dental hygienist numbs the affected areas with topical or local anesthetic and removes calculus deposits from the roots of the teeth. We then teach our patients good home care techniques to help arrest the problem and keep it from returning. Sometimes medication is prescribed as well. Later, your hygienist re-evaluates the healing of the gum tissues to make sure the problem is under control. If the problem persists, referral to a periodontist (specialist) may be indicated.


Dental sealants can be used to help prevent cavities from forming. Deep pits and fissures that exist on the biting surfaces of posterior teeth can be difficult or impossible to keep clean. Dental sealants are plastic coatings used to seal deep pits and grooves before a cavity starts, preventing the need for additional restorative work.

Athletic Mouthguards

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from wearing a mouthguard while participating in sports. Although “boil and bite” mouthguards sold in sporting goods stores can work, most people find a custom made appliance more comfortable to wear. Plus, custom made mouthguards better protect the teeth in the event of a blow to the mouth.