Preventative Dentistry

At Gates Family Dentistry, we offer a wide range of preventative, cosmetic and restorative dental care services designed to treat every member of the family. Our staff of experienced oral health experts are committed to providing every patient with the most advanced comprehensive dental care possible. Dr. Denise Gates and her team of hygienists feel incredibly humbled by the faith patients place in our dental expertise to aid in protecting their long-term oral health. That's why we only provide the latest, most evidence-based dental care treatments available.

As your family dentist in Wilsonville, Dr. Gates wants all of her patients to enjoy the very best oral health possible. Maintaining and improving the health of your teeth and gums does take some commitment from you, especially when it comes to practicing quality oral hygiene at home. Fortunately, a brilliant, healthy smile requires taking just a few simple steps:


  • Brush twice a day. Brushing helps to remove plaque from the surface of our teeth. Plaque is a sticky biofilm comprised of harmful oral bacteria and food particles that linger in the mouth after eating. If allowed to remain on your tooth enamel, bacteria produce acids that slowly eat away at the structure of your teeth, causing cavities and decay to develop. The American Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, ideally once in the morning and again prior to bed.
  • Floss daily. Flossing helps to remove food and bacteria from areas of your mouth a toothbrush just cannot reach - between your teeth and below the gum line. Flossing plays such a critical role in protecting your oral health, because when left unchecked between your teeth, these substances can contribute to a number of oral health problems, including tooth decay, gum disease and chronic bad breath.
  • Oral mouth rinses can be beneficial. With many oral mouth rinses on the market it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Please ask Dr. Gates and her team at Gates Family Dentistry of Wilsonville to recommend what the best rinse is for you.

Dental Exams & Digital X-Rays

Regular exams and cleanings allow our staff at Gates Family Dentistry to accurately assess the current state of your oral health by spotting any signs of dental disease before any potential problems become more severe. Early detection provides our team with the opportunity to treat any diagnosed conditions more effectively, so that any damage to your oral health can be repaired and future problems prevented.

We recommend that patients schedule an exam and hygiene once every six months. However, patients suffering from certain types of oral health issues may need to receive treatment more frequently. Patients suffering from severe gum disease - and certain health conditions such as diabetes, immunosuppression, heart disease and other types of medical conditions - may need more frequent cleanings and exams.

Research shows strong links between oral health and heart health. Please feel free to ask any of our staff about concerns or questions related to overall health. This is our goal as part of your health care team!

Fluoride Treatments

Dr. Gates may decide that fluoride should be part of your overall treatment plan. Fluoride treatments help protect the long-term health of your teeth by allowing the surface of your teeth to be more resistant to acids produced by bacteria that cause cavities. By strengthening your enamel, fluoride treatments work to make your teeth more resilient to the sugars and bacteria in the mouth that cause dental disease. Studies have shown that applying fluoride to teeth - whether through mouthwashes, toothpastes or fluoride treatments - can help prevent any future damage caused by tooth decay.

Dr. Gates may recommend fluoride treatments to patients who:

  • Take prescription medications that cause dry mouth as a potential side effect. Your mouth requires a healthy flow of saliva to flush away harmful oral bacteria and food particles that linger after eating. Without saliva to keep your mouth moist, you have a significantly higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Suffer from receding gums. The delicate roots of your teeth becomes exposed, when gums begin to pull away from the base of your teeth, thereby increasing your risk for decay.
  • Wear braces. Orthodontic appliances can actually trap harmful bacteria and food particles in the mouth when not properly cleaned. This buildup increases the risk of tooth decay and cavities.
  • Receive radiation or other medical treatments. Certain types of medical treatments - such as chemotherapy - can have a negative impact on your salivary glands, resulting in the development of dry mouth as a potential side effect.

Tooth Sealants

Our teeth feature a variety of grooves and crevices that can be hard to properly clean, especially for younger patients who lack the manual dexterity and attention to detail required to practice quality daily oral hygiene. Failing to remove plaque and food particles - especially from hard-to-reach areas like the back molars - greatly increases the risk of childhood tooth decay. To help protect the oral health of our younger patients, Dr. Gates offers the application of tooth sealants to lower the risk of tooth decay and cavities.

An incredibly thin plastic resin, tooth sealants work to effectively "seal" deep grooves of a patient's teeth allowing the ability to keep teeth cleaner. Dr. Gates starts the treatment by thoroughly cleaning the patient's teeth, removing all bacteria and traces of decay. The resin is then gently brushed on the tooth surface, creating a barrier that keeps bacteria out and the patient's teeth healthy.

The application of tooth sealants only takes a few minutes and causes no discomfort. Additionally, there is no noticeable appearance once applied. When good hygiene is exercised, tooth sealants should last several years before a reapplication is necessary.

Mouth Guards

For kids and adults who participate in sports, mouth guards offer an invaluable level of additional protection against potential oral health problems caused by physical trauma. Unlike boil and bite mouth guards you can purchase at the store, Dr. Gates offers custom-made mouth guards that perfectly fit the patient's teeth, providing additional comfort and protection.

Custom mouth guards also offer an additional treatment option for patients who suffer from nightly bruxism, or tooth grinding. Nightly grinding can wear down the tooth enamel, eventually causing cracks to develop in the surface of the enamel. This allows harmful bacteria to enter into the interior of teeth, greatly increasing the risk of decay and dental disease.