Preventative dentistry protects your teeth and gums from damage. The most common preventative dentistry procedures are oral hygiene-related. Cleaning your teeth removes plaque, which contains harmful bacteria, food particles, and goo the bacteria secrete to cling to your teeth and avoid saliva (which is harmful to them). You should brush your teeth twice a day and floss every day to keep this plaque from building up.
However, even if you do your best to brush and floss, there is likely some plaque that remains. This plaque absorbs minerals from your saliva and turns rock-hard. It’s a process similar to fossilization, and it turns plaque into tartar. You can’t remove tartar safely on your own, which is what professional cleanings are for.
Preventive visits also include checkups. This allows us to search for oral health problems that are developing, like the beginnings of gum disease or cavities. We may use digital x-rays, Diagnodent, intraoral cameras, and other advanced dental technology to assess your oral health and help you understand any developing problems.
Sometimes you can address these problems just by changing your hygiene routine and/or diet. Other times, developing problems might need additional treatment.
To better protect your teeth against cavities, your regular preventive dentistry treatments may also include a fluoride treatment. Our hygienist will apply fluoride to your teeth to provide extra protection against cavities. Fluoride is always included in children’s treatments, and adults can have it upon request.
One way we protect teeth from cavities is with sealants. Sealants are a protective coating that we apply over the 1st and 2nd molars. The coating fills in the grooves in the teeth so that food and bacteria cannot get trapped. In the past, sealants were mostly used on children’s teeth. However, there is increasing interest in them for adults, especially for adults who had sealants applied as children and want to maintain their protection.
Preventive Dentistry Tips
If you’re searching for new ways to improve your oral health and prevent oral health problems, we offer a number of tips that can help.
- Brush twice per day
- Floss once per day
- Use a fluoride toothpaste
- Consume added sugar in moderation
- Don’t use teeth as tools (biting nails, opening packages, etc.)
- Visit your dentist at least twice per year
- Quit smoking
- Stay hydrated
- Wear your oral appliances recommended by your dentist
- Chew sugar-free gum
- Eat lots of crunchy fruits and vegetables
By incorporating these tips into your daily life, you can further improve your oral health and prevent serious dental problems from occurring.