At the dental office of Dr. Heather Petroff, we believe that family dental care means regular checkups, oral cancer (mouth cancer) screenings, and superior dental hygiene. They are an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle for you and your family.
Our family dental care goes above and beyond X-rays and cleaning. Dr. Petroff also offers fluoride treatments as needed for you and your family to help prevent tooth decay, and periodontal treatment with the newest dental scalers for removing plaque and calculus (plaque that has hardened).
Dr. Petroff applies every gentle dentistry technique and the newest equipment available to make sure all of her patients are comfortable during their dental appointments. We use different methods of dental anaesthesia to help prevent any pain, including conscious sedation for longer or more involved treatments.
Dr. Petroff also is trained to fit her patients with therapeutic or sports mouthguards. Therapeutic mouthguards can help prevent teeth grinding at night (bruxism). Patients who play sports can be fitted with an Under Armour ArmourBite® mouthguard.
Your children are in especially good hands when they receive their dental care from Dr. Petroff. In addition to her dental degree, she earned a master’s degree in child clinical psychology and has clinical experience as a child psychologist. This special training, and her use of technology that create almost no discomfort for many treatments, means your child may never experience the fear of going to the dentist that so many of us grew up with. What a great start for your child’s dental care!
“Comprehensive” takes on a whole new meaning at the dental office of Dr. Heather Petroff in Broadview Heights! Your first visit to our office includes a comprehensive dental exam that goes well beyond X-rays and cleaning.
We ask about your complete medical and dental history, so that we have a good picture of what your dental needs might be. We talk with you about your current home care and your oral hygiene techniques. We’ll chart your existing fillings or other restorations and take digital X-rays and intraoral pictures to help us diagnose any current or potential problems you might experience.
We’ll chart the condition of your gums with periodontal measurements that assess the health of your bones and gums.
Dr. Petroff performs a screening for oral cancer and looks for any signs of bruxism, which means teeth grinding or jaw clenching.
We’ll also do a tooth color shade assessment, so if you need any dental restorations, we can make sure they match your natural tooth color.
We’ll finish up with a thorough cleaning and a fluoride treatment, if you need it.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer deaths in the U.S. Smoking and alcohol can contribute to the risk of oral cancer. Another risk is from the sexually-transmitted HPV virus.
An annual oral cancer screening is an integral part of our routine examinations. During exam visits, Dr. Petroff evaluates the intra- and extraoral tissues. She evaluates your mouth and throat for red or white patches, swelling, lumps, or other abnormalities. Annually, Dr. Petroff will also use the Velscope, a handheld device, to take a closer look at the tissues inside your mouth. The Velscope uses a wavelength of light that can detect any abnormalities without using dyes or rinses in your mouth.
Dental X-rays are an important tool in the diagnosis of dental problems. Dr. Petroff uses a digital x-ray system to minimize the amount of radiation a patient receives. Digital X-rays use 80 percent less radiation than traditional X-rays. The X-rays allow Dr. Petroff to provide a thorough dental examination. Radiographs reveal tooth decay, tooth abscess, cysts or tumors, impacted teeth, and the health of fillings, crowns, bridges, and root canals. They can also reveal bone loss from periodontal disease and detect tartar buildup. If you are a new patient, or are in need of a dental treatment, please expect a full set of X-rays to be captured during your dental examination.
Another integral piece of technology that we have available to our patients is our intra-oral cameras. These cameras are used to show patients exactly what we see and magnify what we may not see as easily. These photos are an excellent means for monitoring areas of concern. They also allow for more concise re-evaluation at follow up appointments. The photos taken with these cameras also enable us to communicate more clearly with specialists.
We like to see our patients every six months for a professional cleaning, to ensure that you maintain a healthy smile. Regular dental visits, along with good home care, help prevent oral health issues. Professional cleanings involve the removal of tartar and stains with hand instruments, followed by polishing to eliminate remaining stains and plaque. Polishing is available in two methods, traditional paste and a rotating “brush” or a Prophy Jet. The Prophy Jet is a polishing unit that uses water pressure with a powder, like baking soda. This is a quicker and sometimes more effective way of removing plaque and stains without the residual “gritty” sensation from the traditional paste and brush. The results are a very clean feeling and a beautiful luster.
Gingivitis and periodontal disease occur when bacteria from plaque grows on your gum tissue, either above or below the gum line. Accumulating bacteria can cause serious inflammation, which makes the pockets between your gums and teeth deeper and more inflamed as the amount of bacteria increases. This can lead to the gums and bone tissue deteriorating until you begin to lose teeth.
This bacteria and infection can also get into your bloodstream. Gum disease is linked to a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, and premature births. If you have diabetes, you risk a vicious circle of problems, since gum disease makes it harder to control your blood sugars, and high blood sugar levels can lead to inflammation and bacteria in your gums.
At the dental office of Dr. Heather Petroff, we use sonic and ultrasonic scalers, such as the Cavitron, to remove plaque and calculus from your teeth. We also use a Prophy Jet air polisher that uses water and baking soda to help clear stains from your teeth.
The discovery of fluoride and its ability to control tooth decay is one of the most important medical discoveries ever made. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the breakdown of enamel and strengthening weak spots on teeth and exposed roots. Many public water systems now add fluoride to your drinking water. If you don’t have public water, or if your teeth are resistant to fluoride, Dr. Petroff or your hygienist can apply a fluoride treatment for you or your children as needed. Of course, you can help by brushing regularly with a fluoridated toothpaste.
If you are prone to grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw in your sleep, you could wake up with sore jaw muscles, chronic headaches, earaches, and jaw pain. A mouthguard could help minimize your symptoms and prevent you from grinding your teeth while sleeping. A night guard is a comfortable, removable appliance that acts as a splint to protect the jaw joint.
Protecting your smile during physical activity is essential. Injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries received by athletes. Dr. Petroff is one of six dentists in our area trained and certified to provide Under Armour Armourbite® mouthguards.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Snoring is common problem that can also indicate sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious condition where the muscles around the tongue and throat relax while you’re sleeping. This can block the flow of air to your lungs, causing you to stop breathing. While the body usually wakes up and restores normal breathing, sometimes it doesn’t, and while rare, the sleep apnea sufferer could die.
Certain mouth guards can help treat sleep apnea by preventing the block of airflow to your lungs. Over-the-counter versions are available, but they lack the quality and fit of a custom mouth guard made by your dentist. Sleep apnea is serious, and you should see a physician to determine if a mouthpiece can be used to treat your sleep apnea. If it can, let Dr. Petroff custom-fit an appliance for you.
Accidents can happen to anyone. A toothache can attack at any time, and you know it needs immediate attention. If you or anyone in your family needs emergency dental care, please call our office as soon as possible. We will see you that day in the office, or help you find emergency care if we can’t.
What types of things are considered emergencies? Often, a toothache is a result of a cracked tooth, which can only be detected by x-rays. An accident or injury could possibly cause you to lose or damage a tooth, resulting in incredible pain and a dental emergency.
If your tooth has been knocked out, it is important to see a dentist within 30 minutes. This can mean the difference between saving or losing your tooth! When handling your tooth, pick it up by the crown (never the root) and gently rinse it with milk. Store the tooth in a container of milk or in your cheek until you arrive at the dentist office.
During our exams, we use an intraoral camera to look at your teeth in detail, tooth by tooth. This camera is a hand-held device, about the size of a pen. You’ll be able to see what we see, in real time, on your chairside monitor. Using the intraoral camera lets us look at your teeth in more detail than with X-rays.