What’s the best way to resolve tooth and gum issues? If you ask most dentists, they’ll give you the same answer: prevent them from occurring in the first place. That’s what preventive dentistry is all about. It involves offering patients some select services that will help them to avoid future problems with their teeth and gums, as well as encouraging them to practice good oral hygiene on a daily basis at home.
Preventive Dentistry Services
There are several services offered by dentists that could fall into the preventive category. In fact, any procedure that helps to protect the patient’s teeth and/or guard against future problems is considered preventive. That includes the following:
- Professional cleanings and oral exams – Following the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” there’s nothing more important in preventing oral health problems than visiting your dentist on a regular basis for professional cleanings and oral exams. No matter how diligently you work on your own oral hygiene at home, you’ll never be able to remove plaque and tartar as effectively as a trained dental hygienist. And oral exams by your dentist allow him or her to identify decay and other issues while they’re still in the early stages and easier to resolve.
- Sealants – Dental sealants consist of an extremely thin protective coating that is placed over the teeth. Usually made from plastic, dental sealants adhere to the surface of the tooth and can reduce the chance of developing tooth decay by as much as 80%.
- Dental bonding/porcelain veneers – Although both bonding and veneers are typically considered to be cosmetic procedures, these services also help to protect the patient’s natural teeth. Bonding involves your dentist applying a dental resin material to the surface of the tooth and curing it with a specially designed light until it hardens. Bonding is often used to correct minor imperfections in the appearance of teeth, but it also provides additional protection for the teeth. Porcelain veneers are similar to dental bonding, except that the material used to cover the surface of the tooth is dental porcelain, an extremely strong material that protects the tooth and improves the appearance, all at the same time.
- At-home oral hygiene – Of course, no preventive dentistry service will ever take the place of a daily oral hygiene routine at home. Be sure to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day at a minimum. To “up the ante” on your hygiene routine, consider using a water flosser once a day as well, along with an anti-bacterial mouthwash at least once a day.
To find out more about preventive dentistry, contact your dentist and schedule an appointment today. When it comes to good oral health, the best way to resolve problems is to avoid getting them in the first place!