Preventive Dentistry


Periodic Oral Exams and Cancer Screening

This starts at your initial examination and at your regular hygiene visits. Dr. Pate and/or our hygienist will examine your teeth, gums and soft tissue to be certain there are no problems developing that you may not be aware of. Digital radiographs will be taken when appropriate to examine invisible areas between the teeth and below the gum for signs of decay, gum disease or other pathology within the bone.

It is always better to find cavities, gum disease, oral cancer or other problems when they are small and easier to treat. Regular “checkups” are critical to helping us to find problems early and this allows you to help keep your smile healthy and comfortable for years to come with the least amount of intervention possible.

Gum Treatments

We perform conservative gum treatments including dental hygiene, home care instruction, and scaling and root planing (deep cleaning), This is aimed at creating an environment in the mouth of smooth teeth free of calculus (tartar). A smooth tooth surface that can be cleaned DAILY by you with regular brushing and flossing. WE KEEP THEM SMOOTH – YOU KEEP THEM CLEAN!

Specialty Treatments for the Gums

Sometimes the damage from past gum disease is beyond what conservative treatments will resolve. These patients have to be referred to a periodontist (dentist that specializes in treating gum disease). Dr. Pate is very conservative with treatment recommendations and limits referrals to those areas where it is absolutely necessary. Periodontists use procedures available to eliminate the disease and/or regenerate the bone and gum tissue to meet their functional and cosmetic requirements.


This is a plastic coating that is applied to the grooves of the back teeth to make them more resistant to getting decay. This is one of the most susceptible areas of all the teeth to decay. The chewing surface and groove of the tooth is cleaned and the plastic coating is secured in place using bonded light technology.

Periodontal Diseases, Tooth Decay and Their Prevention

Periodontal diseases (gum diseases) are bacterial infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the bone support of your natural teeth. There are several variations of the disease requiring different levels of intervention, but dental plaque is the primary cause of all tooth and gum disease. The reason is that plaque, a colorless, sticky film, grows on your teeth every day – IT IS CONSTANTLY FORMING.

Plaque releases an acid toxin that dissolves the GUM AND BONE around the teeth to cause gum disease. The acid toxin also dissolves the teeth to cause tooth decay. Hence, the acid toxin from plaque that is constantly forming is responsible for gum disease and tooth decay. Daily brushing and flossing (GOOD THOROUGH BRUSHING AND FLOSSING USING GOOD TECHNIQUE) will prevent most periodontal diseases and tooth decay.

If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This tartar will hold plaque in and around your teeth. Since the tartar can not be removed by brushing and flossing, once tartar has formed, you can not remove the plaque as well. That is what regular dental cleanings are for, to remove the tartar leaving a smooth tooth surface that can be cleaned DAILY by you with regular brushing and flossing. WE KEEP THEM SMOOTH – YOU KEEP THEM CLEAN! Working together we can control most gum disease and tooth decay. There are other factors that do contribute to gum disease and tooth decay such as diet, smoking, diabetes, medication, stress, clinching and grinding, and poor nutrition to name a few. However, the primary cause of gum disease and tooth decay is by far dental plaque which can be controlled by GOOD tooth brushing and flossing TECHNIQUES, performed AT LEAST ONCE EACH DAY.