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Preventative Dental Care Services
What is Preventive Dental Care?
Preventive dental care is a large category of dental services and treatments performed by your dentist and dental hygienist. As the name implies, preventive dental care aims to prevent dental problems. Almost all dental issues, including cavities, gum disease and cracked teeth, are preventable. By seeing your dentist on a consistent basis, they will catch any warning signs of high-risk areas and give you preventive options to stop those warning signs from progressing into disease.
What does Preventive Dental Care Include?
Because preventive dental care covers any treatment that prevents any dental disease, it encompasses a lot of different procedures. Technically, preventive dental care also includes any product your dentist recommends to combat a specific risk factor. For example, when your dentist advises you to begin using an anti-cavity mouthwash that contains fluoride, it is preventive dental care. Here are the most common treatments we perform for the purpose of preventing dental problems.
Professional Teeth Cleanings
Our talented dental hygienists perform gentle and thorough teeth cleanings on a schedule agreed upon by you, your dentist and your hygienist. There are many factors that go into determining this schedule, including the presence of gum disease, any medical conditions that predispose you to gum disease, your current level of oral hygiene at home, and your ability to effectively remove dental plaque. The recommended frequency of cleanings is an important part of your preventive dental care.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in the ground that strengthens enamel and protects teeth against cavities. Most communities add fluoride to their water supply. Some people, however, do not get fluoride in their drinking water (either by choosing to drink bottled or filtered water or living in an area that does not add it to the water supply), and this can cause an increased risk for cavities. Often, our dentists and dental hygienists will recommend a professional fluoride application to help you lower your risk for getting new cavities between visits. This benefits those who have a higher-than-average risk for developing tooth decay. The application is very quick and simple. You can opt for one at any of your visits in our office.
Dental sealants are a treatment specifically aimed at preventing decay in the deep grooves and pits of teeth. A sealant forms a small coating over these grooves that have a tendency to collect plaque, bacteria and food buildup, which can develop into a cavity. Usually, we apply sealants to the biting surfaces of the back teeth (molars and premolars). They are particularly valuable for young children who do not yet have the skills necessary to clean the teeth well. Sealing the grooves of teeth not only keeps out cavity-causing bacteria; it creates a smoother, shallower surface that is easy to clean.
If you show evidence of clenching or grinding your teeth, your dentist will likely recommend a mouthguard. Because the heavy forces of bruxism put your teeth at risk for cracks, attrition (the slow grinding down and shortening of teeth) and gum recession, protecting your teeth from those forces is important. By wearing a nightguard to separate the teeth at night, you effectively reduce (if not completely eliminate) the forces from clenching and/or grinding and prevent the damage these forces can cause.
Why is Preventive Dental Care Important?
Dental treatment is expensive and often invasive. Since you can prevent most dental problems with preventive dental care, it is important for you to know and follow through with any recommended preventive options. They will save you money and time in the dental chair.