Preventative Dentistry

Preventative care refers to the overall care and maintenance that you do on your teeth to keep them in the best shape possible. Without the proper care, teeth can cause numerous health conditions and problems. They can fall out, become painful or start diseases and conditions. Bacteria lives in the mouth and without routine cleanings, regular maintenance and checkups; these bacteria can cause many different problems. 

Preventative dentistry is the practice that will take care of your teeth in order to keep them the healthiest that they can possibly be. You need to visit a dentist regularly to avoid gum disease, enamel wear, cavities and so many other issues. In addition to visiting the dentist when you’re supposed to, practicing daily oral hygiene habits is also a great way to provide preventative dentistry care inside the home when between dental visits. 

Learn about the many types of preventative dental care procedures you can have done within the dental office to ensure that you have the proper dental care.

Preventive Dentistry

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Dental Cleanings

Located in Post Falls, ID, Drs. David and Sunnshine Welton, DDS, are dedicated to the health and satisfaction of their patients. Ensuring the health of their mouths is their number one priority. Part of this wellness process includes cleanings, exams and x-rays (also known as radiographs).

Dental Cleanings

Routine cleanings are imperative to the health of your mouth. As you should be brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily, these cleanings are a more in depth preventative measure. These cleanings are painless, although if you don’t clean your teeth as often as you should, or there is an underlying issue, you may experience some slight discomfort. By having your teeth professionally cleaned, any stubborn plaque that your toothbrush and floss cannot get is removed. You may also miss some places during your daily routine, which means you could experience some buildup, but your dentist will be able to get to them. There are a variety of tools used during a professional cleaning that you most likely don’t have access to. This thorough cleaning helps you to prevent such problems as tooth decay and gum disease.

Dental Exams

It is recommended that you see your dentist at least twice a year (every six months). During these routine exams, you will have your teeth cleaned. Your dentist will also check each of your teeth, looking for cavities, signs of decay and other potential problems. He or she will also check your gums, looking for any possible signs of gum disease. Any problems noted will be addressed. You may have a discussion about your daily dental hygiene habits as well as any lifestyle habits that may affect the health of your mouth. You will also have the opportunity to ask your dentist questions and address any concerns you may have. Recommendations about what you can do to prevent future problems can be made. You could also receive x-rays if your dentist needs a more in depth look at your teeth.

Dental X-Rays (Radiography)

X-rays allow your dentist a much more up close and personal look at your teeth (including the roots), gums (both outside and under) and jawbone. Your dentist can see both between and inside of your teeth. With these images, he or she can see what may not be visible to the naked eye during a routine exam, and thus can check for all kinds of issues. Gum disease, cavities and other issues can be more confidently diagnosed. Your dentist can assess the health of your jawbone. For younger patients, x-rays can be used simply to see the development of their teeth.

There are several types of x-rays, which are used for a variety of purposes. Periapical x-rays allow a view of the entire tooth from the very top down to the root. Bitewing x-rays show a closer look at the back teeth, both upper and lower. A panoramic x-ray shows not only the teeth, but the sinus cavities and joints of the jaw. These images are most often used in orthodontics or when dental implants are needed. An occlusal x-ray gives your dentist a better view of your bite.

Drs. David and Sunnshine Welton, DDS have your best dental interests at heart. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact them today.

satin bands

Screening for oral cancer is important. Through the use of a dental professional that can run the necessary tests, you’re better able to know whether or not oral cancer is a possibility. There are also signs and symptoms that you should be aware of. Remember, this should always be something that is done through a dental professional and never diagnosed on your own. 

Having the proper cancer screenings done is essential for not only oral health, but overall health.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancers

These signs and symptoms can be noted when it comes to being screened for oral cancers. Sometimes they’re apparent and sometimes they’re not. If you find that you have any of these signs or symptoms, it is best to speak with a professional sooner, rather than later. Oral cancers can become much worse if left for too long. 

White or red clumps of lesions inside the mouth
Pain or swelling in these areas
Feeling like there is a lump or something stuck in your throat
Numbness, pain or tenderness inside the mouth on the gums, teeth, lips or tongue
Ear pain, but without the loss of hearing
Having loose teeth without any other dental problems
A lingering sore throat or having a harsh feeling inside the throat or mouth
Dry mouth that will not go away

The Oral Cancer Screening Process

The oral cancer screening process is one of the easiest processes that can be done through a dental professional. It is where the professional looks in the mouth of the patient during a routine dental check up to look for lesions. These lesions can either be white or red, and are often clumped in sections around the mouth. Other symptoms, as mentioned above, can be noticeable when checking for these lesions in the mouth. Tests may need to be performed, such as mouth swabs, to test the cells in the mouth for the cancer cells if lesions are found.

Risk Factors of Having Oral Cancer

Oral cancers are much more common in those that are over the age of 40, but can sometimes happen in those that are younger. If a patient has a past or family history of oral cancers, they’re more likely to get cancer. Being in the sun for long periods of time can cause cancer on the lips. Those that have a deficiency in their diet, such as not getting enough fruits or vegetables are much more at risk for contracting oral cancers than others that have well-balanced diets. 

You should always trust in a dental professional to do the oral cancer screening that needs to be done. If you find that you’re having issues, it is recommended that a professional run these tests. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to having the proper dental screenings performed on a regular basis. 

Contact our offices here at Woodland Family Dental. We are more than happy to provide you with the screening that needs to be done, as well as many treatment options. We are here for you!


Periodontitis is a inflammatory diseases affecting the periodontium, the tissues that surround and support the teeth

Woodland Family Dental cares about your oral health, and one of the biggest issues that arises with your mouth is the presence of periodontal issues. In order to maintain the best smile, have the healthiest look and feel of your teeth, plus continue to have strong teeth, then routine maintenance and cleanings are required each and every year.

Periodontal Health Refers to the Health of Your Gums

Having healthy gums can ensure that you have healthy teeth. Without the use of the gums, your teeth are not going to be able to stay inside the mouth. This can cause further issues down the road. Through routine oral health care, the state of your gums can be checked into and treated, if necessary, for any conditions, problem areas or diseases that might have been found.


When the teeth are not properly cleaned and over time get build up on them from the plaque and bacteria, this can cause gingivitis to occur. It is a milder form of gum disease, and will make the gums bleed and become sore, inflamed and red. It, however, will not make you lose your teeth or the bone under your gums. If it is not cleared up by the proper dental hygiene habits though, it can turn into gum disease which can become much worse.


When gingivitis is not taken care of, the gums will eventually become even more so inflamed and create pockets in between one another. These pockets can allow bacteria to sit inside them and cause further issues. When plaque grows below the gum line, this then causes the body to try to fight the infection. This response breaks down the connective tissue and bone in the gums that help hold your teeth in place. This will eventually loosen the teeth and they will have to be removed.

Gum Disease

If you’ve gone through both of these processes, then you probably have gum disease. This is a condition that can only be diagnosed and treated through the help of a dental professional. A hygienist will have to try to remove most of the plaque and build up around the teeth, while the doctor would work at fixing any problem areas throughout the mouth on the teeth. Many sufferers of gum disease will have a treatment plan that they have to go through, and many end up with dentures within just a few years of getting the disease, or sooner. 

This is why if you notice the issues, it is important to speak with a dental professional regarding the health and care of the teeth that you have. Dentures at a younger age can be embarrassing. Make sure you have the best dental help out there to clear it up.

Keep up with your routine dental checkups and health care through our professional dentists at Woodland Family Dental. We can provide you with the essentials needed to have healthier looking and feeling gums overall. Call us today at (208) 777-9599 to set up an appointment to speak with one of our qualified dentists in office.

Snoring man and young woman. Couple sleeping in bed.

A common sleeping disorder that many adult patients suffer with is snoring. Though snoring does not always indicate sleep apnea, it could be a symptom. Snoring is the vibration of your respiratory tissues due to an obstructed air movement while sleeping. Sleep Apnea, on the other hand, is the lack of respiratory passage, due to blockage. There will be patients who do not snore, but still suffer from sleep apnea. It is important to learn the signs and then seek treatment. At Woodland Family Dental, Dr. S. Welton and Dr. D. Welton can help with the steps necessary to breathing easier and getting the rest that you need while you sleep.

Symptoms that may indicate Sleep Apnea

There are some physical symptoms that may be trying to tell you that you suffer from sleep apnea. We ask that patients be aware of the following:

Often the best clue will come from your partner, they may be hearing your sleep rhythm, and the periods of time that you stop breathing.
A common symptom is a feeling of fatigue. Those who suffer from sleep apnea may find themselves wondering why they are always exhausted, even when they feel that they are sleeping a full 8 hours in a night. If you find that you frequently doze off during the day, or frequently sleep through tv shows, or just have constant exhaustion, sleep apnea may be the reason.
A frequent complaint of patients with sleep apnea are symptoms that come with a lack of sleep, besides fatigue, this may be headaches, inability to focus, irritability and moodiness.
Physical symptoms of snoring can signal a problem with sleep apnea, this may include a dry throat or a dry mouth when you wake.

What can I do?

There are various steps a patient can take to assist in better airflow while sleeping. Some steps are non-surgical and some are surgical. We will always recommend taking the easiest course of action first, which can be better determined after evaluation. 

Non-Surgical Treatment: Following your evaluation at, Woodland Family Dental, we can offer a few options including the creation of a customized dental appliance. This device can assist in proper airflow by moving the lower jaw into a more forward position, also pulling the tongue more forward, and allowing for more space for air to flow. This device should be created under the direction of either Dr. S. Welton or Dr. D. Welton for optimum comfort and fit. Research through the ADA shows that dental appliances are a proven and effective treatment option to improve breathing while sleeping, combating sleep apnea. This dental appliance is worn in the mouth only while you sleep, not during the day, and it fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer.

For more information on snoring, or sleep apnea and how you can combat it, contact our dentists, Sunnshine M. Welton DDS and David G. Welton DDS, at our Post Falls, ID 83854 office by contacting our front office at: (208) 777-9599

Teeth Grinding in Post Falls, ID

Bruxism is a dental term applied to the condition of grinding or clenching your teeth, often done unconsciously, while you sleep. This is a common oral health disorder that can be very destructive to your teeth. At Woodland Family Dental, we can repair any harm done and assist in alleviating future damage. We find that patients are often unaware that they have this condition, but the effects can be clear, and there are symptoms you can look for. Our dentists, Dr. Sunnshine Welton and Dr. David Welton, can help diagnose, treat, and discuss the symptoms with you. 

How can the dentist spot signs that I have bruxism?

Bruxism can cause considerable damage to your teeth. During your exam, we may spot the signs. Patients may have:

Single or multiple teeth that are cracked or fractured. Patients can cause breakage to their teeth from clenching. The fractures may be large or multiple hairlines fractures. This can be both painful and allow passage for decay causing bacteria inside the tooth.
Single or multiple teeth that are ground down or flattened due to grinding. Patients can essentially sand down their teeth by grinding them together, this will wear down the ridges that you teeth naturally have for chewing.

How can I spot the signs of bruxism?

There are signs that you can spot that may indicate that you have been unconsciously clenching or grinding your teeth. Bruxism can frequently cause significant stress to other areas of your facial region, because of this, patients can feel tension in their jaws, especially in the joints; they can experience ear pain or aches; and some patients can even suffer migraines. If you are waking up from sleep to a tight jaw that is aching, or are suddenly experiencing unusual ear or head pain, contact Woodland Family Dentistry for an evaluation. There are steps we can take to help.

Why am I grinding my teeth?

There are multiple reasons that you may be unconsciously grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep. Studies have indicated that some of the most common reasons include, depression issues, patients who suffer from eating disorders, going through a period of intense anxiety or stress. Most people experience moments of depression or stress during different times of their lives, helping make this disorder so common.

Treatment Options

There is no one cure for bruxism, as the reasons and symptoms can vary. But, there are options, including services and devices available from our office that can help. Our doctors, Dr. S. Melton and Dr. D. Melton, are happy to discuss these options with you. Two of our most common devices include creating a customized mouthguard, designed to fit your mouth, and the NTI-tss Device. We are happy to go into more depth with you on how this can assist in keeping your teeth safe. 

Once the patient has their grinding and clenching under control, we can help with any restoration work that is needed. For more information on bruxism, and the services that we offer, contact our dentists, Sunnshine M. Welton DDS and David G. Welton DDS, at our Post Falls, ID 83854 office by contacting our front office at: (208) 777-9599

Dental Sealants

We can protect the teeth that are most susceptible to decay with the placement of dental sealants. At Woodland Family Dental, we understand that the healthier your teeth stay, the longer you will have them. Teeth that have been damaged with caries, or cavities, are weakened, and though they can be restored, prevention is always the best option. Our team, including Dr. S. Welton and Dr. D. Welton, can you keep a healthy mouth with dental sealants.

Information about sealants

Dental sealants are a simple product that takes the keen professional application of a trustworthy dentist, to ensure it’s applied correctly, like those at Woodland Family Dental. Your teeth have many nooks and crannies that food can get stuck in. Some patients, including all of our pediatric, or minor age patients, are unable to always successfully remove this food debris where it can then remain and cause decay. Studies have shown that children who have sealants placed have a considerably larger chance of not developing cavities, in fact, more and more we are seeing children reach adulthood without ever having a cavity. 

Sealants are a liquid plastic material that is painted onto the areas where cavities occur most often. This material is durable and should last about five years. Placing the sealant material is a painless process that does require a certain amount of precision. The most important step to this process is ensuring that there is not bacteria present at the time of sealing the tooth. An all too common mistake of a dentist who is negligent is sealing in decay-causing bacteria along with the tooth. Sealing your teeth with bacteria present can have severely damaging effects for your tooth that may not be discovered for years. 

Sealants seal your tooth, placing a barrier between your tooth and the food particles in your mouth. This protects your tooth from decay and the problems that come with decay. We believe that if we can protect your children from early damage to their molars, we can help them have healthier, stronger teeth for years to come. Studies conducted and then posted with the American Dental Association tell us that 90% of caries, or cavities, are on the biting surfaces of molars. With the placement of dental sealants, there has been a rough estimate of a 60% reduction of caries, if all sealants were placed correctly, this number would be even higher. We want to protect your children’s teeth through their growing years, when they are still learning good oral hygiene habits, with the placement of dental sealants.

Who can get sealants?

Dental sealants are available to all of our patients, but most often recommended for:

Our child age patients who have most of their permanent, or adult, back molars.
Our adult patients who have had chronic problems with decay and the development of cavities.

For more information on preventative care, and the placement of dental sealants, contact our dentists, Sunnshine M. Welton DDS and David G. Welton DDS, at our Post Falls, ID 83854 office by contacting our front office at: (208) 777-9599