Preventive dentistry is a branch of dentistry that focuses on protecting your mouth against common dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease. It include simple things that you can do independently, like practicing oral hygiene, and procedures performed by dentists, like dental cleanings.
Taking good care of your mouth makes you less likely to develop issues like toothaches, bleeding gums, or infected teeth. It helps keep your teeth looking their best and can lead to lower dental bills in the long run.
Popular dental services that fall under preventive dentistry
This article will examine a few of the procedures that make up preventive dentistry.
1. Comprehensive examinations
Many dental problems, like tooth decay and gum disease, do not cause any symptoms in their development stage. They can typically damage the structures in the mouth before the patient seeks dental care for them.
A comprehensive dental examination helps detect developing dental issues before they morph into something worse. Generally speaking, dental problems are easier and cheaper to treat in their early stages. At times, the best treatment outcomes are only possible early on. For example, gum disease can only be reversed in its early stage. Things that a dentist might do during a dental examination include the following.
Oral cancer screening: This involves the dentist examining the patient's gums, throat, face, tongue, lips, and neck, looking for signs of oral cancer. Tissue samples might be taken and sent to a lab for further examination.
Diagnostic X-rays: These are used to check for issues inside the teeth and underneath gum tissues, like bone loss, tooth decay, cysts, and tumors.
Gum disease check: Dentists often look for signs and symptoms of gum disease during routine examinations. A probe might be used to measure the depth of the patient's gum tissues.
Restoration check: Routine checkups serve as opportunities for dentists to examine their patients' restorations for defects.
2. Teeth cleanings
Teeth-cleaning treatments are performed to clean teeth and remove tartar deposits. A metal scaler is often used to scrape tartar off teeth surfaces during the appointment. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing, so these treatments are essential to protect teeth against tooth decay and gum disease. The patient's teeth are polished once they have been cleaned in order to get rid of stains and to give them a cleaner appearance.
3. Dental sealants
Dental sealants are thin sheets of composite resin placed on the biting surfaces of teeth. They are typically recommended for the teeth in the back of the mouth because these are the most difficult to clean. Ther sealant forms a barrier that prevents bacteria and the acids that they make from getting to teeth.
Applying sealant to a tooth can be completed in as little as 30 minutes. The procedure involves cleaning the patient's tooth and using an etching solution to roughen it for the composite. The liquid composite is then painted onto the tooth before being hardened with ultraviolet light.
Learn more about preventive dental care
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