Preventative dentistry is all about preventing dental issues from occurring. For example, if you don't get cavities, you maintain healthy gums, and your enamel is in great condition, then you won't need to undergo dental treatment to fix or restore your teeth. Preventative dentistry can also help you prevent dental problems from occurring or getting worse.
Benefits of preventative dentistry
Preventative dentistry includes routine cleanings, exams, and more. This is the foundation of good oral health and helps you maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Preventative care also helps to prevent future dental issues, such as tooth decay and gum disease. In fact, preventative care may even be able to help you avoid dental emergencies.
Preventative dentistry procedures
Regular dental checkups are one of the best ways to protect your oral health. During these visits, your hygienist and dentist will examine your teeth and gums to look for signs of problems and to catch them early, when more conservative treatment may be an option.
Your dentist will also use dental x-rays to help detect and diagnose any problems that may be lurking below the surface. X-rays can reveal cavities, bone loss, hidden abscesses, and even tumors in the head and neck region.
Dental cleanings remove built-up plaque and tartar from teeth and polish them with a high-powered cleaning gel. These cleanings are important to eliminate any leftover debris, plaque, and tartar from and in between the teeth that can't be removed by daily brushing and flossing. Without regular dental cleanings, these build-ups can cause gum disease and tooth decay.
Scaling and root planing is a type of deep cleaning that can help treat gum disease. Scaling and root planing involves removing plaque and tartar from teeth and below the gum line. This treatment is often completed with a local anesthetic to ensure patient comfort.
Scaling and root planing helps to reverse damage and discomfort caused by gum disease. It also helps to prevent future damage and decay.
Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are placed on the surface of the teeth to prevent decay. They are usually applied to the back teeth (molars and premolars) and the natural grooves and pits on the chewing surfaces of teeth. These grooves are where food particles and bacteria can get trapped, so sealants can help to prevent bacteria and food particles from causing cavities. Ideally, sealants should be applied as soon as permanent back teeth erupt and before decay has a chance to set in. However, sealants can be applied at any age, so talk to your dentist about getting sealants if you need them.
Fluoride treatments are one of the most important preventive dentistry procedures. When applied regularly, fluoride treatments can help your teeth stay cavity-free. Fluoride is a mineral that can protect your teeth against decay. This mineral can be found in certain foods and in fluoridated water. Once it's applied, it's absorbed into the tooth's enamel. That layer becomes stronger and more acid-resistant, which can help protect the tooth from decay.
Oral cancer screenings help your dentist detect the warning signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer is caused by unregulated cell growth in the mouth. If not detected and treated early, oral cancer can be fatal. During your oral cancer screening, your dentist will look for any abnormalities, including sores, lumps, and discolored or eroded tissue.
A mouthguard is a removable dental appliance that protects the teeth during sports or other activities that could damage the teeth. A mouthguard may be recommended if you have braces on your teeth or if you're prone to grinding your teeth at night.
Preventative dental care at home - Tips
- Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day.
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash.
- Reduce your intake of sugary food and drinks.
- See your dentist every six months for a checkup and clean.
- Wear a mouthguard when playing sports.
- Wear a nightguard if you grind your teeth at night.
- Drink more water to stay hydrated.
- Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
You may schedule a consultation with our Dentist in San Francisco, CA, by calling us at (650) 794-0203 or by reaching us through an online query. We’re always happy to help.