Preventative dentistry is the practice of caring for teeth and gums to keep them healthy. This type of care helps to prevent cavities, gum disease, enamel wear, and other oral health problems. Maintaining good oral health is also connected to your preserving your overall health. Preventative dentistry includes both self-care and professional dental care.
Why is preventative care and screening so important to maintain oral health?
Without preventative care, minor concerns can turn into significant problems. Failure to have regular dental check-ups is a good example. Let’s say you don’t have routine screenings and x-rays and develop a cavity. A cascade of events can occur as a result of the untreated cavity: a) the decay can cause an abscess; b) it can reach the nerve, causing significant pain; c) it can degrade tooth pulp; and d) you can end up with a root canal or extraction of the tooth. All of these problems could be averted with early detection and treatment.
Insurance companies often cover the full cost of preventative care for a good reason. They know that covering preventative care for their patients reduces costs in the long run.
“Silent” problems such as gum disease, which can occur with few symptoms, can go undetected without regular dental check-ups. Many Americans experience some form of gum disease. So it’s not uncommon. Yet can be very serious. The National Institute of Health reports that it’s the most common cause of tooth loss.
Read more about Dental Preventive Services: What do I need?