Preventive Dentistry: Your First Line of Defense For a Healthy Smile
Preventive dentistry involves the steps you and your dentist take to prevent the development of dental health issues. This branch of dentistry goes beyond teeth cleaning (though that is very important) to include education and routine dental visits.
Preventive dentistry is a team effort. The patient works together with his or her dentist to maintain the healthiest smile possible. This prevents the need for future dental work, which can be time consuming or expensive.
The two main forces you are fighting in preventive dentistry are tooth decay caused by plaque and tartar build-up, and gum disease. During your initial visit, your dentist will give your teeth and gums a thorough examination and will then develop a preventive dental plan that best fits your current state of dental and gum health.
During your visit you will also be shown the proper ways to brush and floss your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing are the foundations of preventive dentistry. They remove food particles and plaque from the mouth, flush out harmful bacteria, and prevent tooth decay and infections in the gums.
Depending on your situation, the dentist may also advise you to use a certain mouthwash, alter your fluoride intake, or change your diet.
Preventive dentistry also includes regular visits to your dentist for professional cleanings and check-ups. The frequency with which you visit the dentist will vary from patient to patient, but it’s generally every three to six months. During your visit, the dental team will remove built-up plaque and possibly tartar, take x-rays, and possibly provide a fluoride treatment. They will also examine the soft tissues of your mouth for early signs of oral cancer.
There are other age-specific aspects to preventive dentistry, such as applying sealants to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth of children, which helps prevent cavity formation. Dentists will also examine the bite of growing children to check for any developing orthodontic issues.