Preventive Dental Care
Preventive dentistry is oral care that involves education, treatment and practice of maintaining your teeth and gums. From daily brushing to annual dental cleanings, these tasks are designed to avoid gum disease, cavities and enamel wear – which often leads to sensitivity.
A variety of procedures occur in the dental chair for patients receiving preventive treatment, regardless of age. The dental exam itself is a form of prevention, as the purpose of the appointment is to detect the potential for dental decay, both during the oral exam and upon reading any dental images (x-rays) taken. Once the exam is done, the dentist can then recommend that the patient have his or her teeth cleaned, which is helpful in the prevention of cavities and gum disease.
Depending on the amount of time that has gone by, and how much personal home oral care you’ve taken up, the dentist or dental hygienist may require more than one appointment. This includes the treatment of gum disease, which, according to the American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site, usually requires additional experience in periodontics if the infection is already present.
What is involved ?
Your dental team will first check your teeth and gums, and talk to you about any treatment you need. The main aim is to help you get your mouth really healthy. In a healthy mouth it is unlikely that decay or gum disease will continue to be a problem.
- The dental team will thoroughly remove all plaque and tartar from your teeth. This is often called a ‘scale and polish’.
- The dental team will show you the best ways to brush, and how to clean in between your teeth using interdental brushes or floss, to remove the bacterial ‘plaque’ which forms constantly on your teeth. When you eat or drink something sugary, the bacteria in the plaque turn the sugar into acid, which may cause tooth decay. Plaque can also cause gum inflammation (swelling and soreness) if it is not regularly and thoroughly removed. The hard tartar (or ‘calculus’) which builds up on the teeth also starts off as plaque.
- You will be told which oral care products are the best ones for you to use.
- The dental team will probably talk to you about your diet, and any habits you have such as smoking and drinking.
- Your dentist will also make sure that all your fillings are in good condition and that there are no rough edges to make cleaning difficult.
What else can the dentists do to help prevent tooth decay?
Fluoride helps teeth resist decay. Your dental team will recommend the right level of fluoride for you to use in your toothpaste. Fluoride varnishes may be recommended for children to help prevent decay. If you are particularly at risk of decay your dental team may recommend or prescribe a high-strength fluoride toothpaste. Children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm (parts per million). Three-year-old to adults should use a toothpaste that contains 1350ppm to 1500ppm of fluoride.
What are pit and fissure sealants?
The biting surfaces of teeth can be protected by applying ‘sealants’. These make the tooth surface smoother and easier to clean, and prevent decay starting in the difficult-to-clean areas. Your dental team will suggest whether this would be right for you. For more information, visit our advice on pit and fissure sealant.
Need more advice ?
Contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9011079677 / 8263962023.