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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?

Checkups & Cleanings

Regular Dental Checkup

To maintain a healthy mouth, free of disease, we recommend scheduling a checkup every 6 months. This enables us to detect early signs of tooth and gum disease & provide appropriate treatment, leading to positive outcomes.

Teeth Cleaning

Self-care, while important, is only part of maintenance of your oral health. Dental professionals have specialized tools to remove plaque, tartar and bacteria build-up that you’re typically unable to efficiently address on your own.

Regular brushing and flossing in conjunction with professional cleaning once or twice a year will help you to maintain a great smile and  protect you from the consequences of tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease.

Dental Sealants

Sealants protect the surfaces of your teeth, inhibiting bacterial growth and providing a smooth surface that contributes to maintaining cleanliness. Bacteria can lodge in the small indents and grooves in teeth. Sealants penetrate these pits and fissures, sealing them off from bacteria.

Who should have sealants?

  • Children and teenagers, during their cavity-prone years
  • Individuals who have xerostomia (decreased salivation)
  • Patients who are undergoing orthodontic treatment
  • Patients who are showing early signs of developing cavities, or who are prone to cavities should be evaluated to see if they should have a sealant applied.
  • Primary molars can also benefit from sealants.

Fluoride Treatment

Who will benefit from fluoride treatment?

  • Children
  • Adults with risk factors for cavities. For example, individuals
    • with poor oral hygiene
    • eating disorders or drug/alcohol abuse issues
    • who do not receive regular professional dental care
    • who are undergoing orthodontic treatment who also lack good oral hygiene

What are the benefits of fluoride treatment?  

Fluoride is a form of the natural mineral fluorine. Applying fluoride to teeth can help ward off tooth decay, strengthen enamel, and decrease the harmful effects of plaque. It also boosts tooth resistance to decay and can aid in repairing early decay before it’s even visible.

Is fluoride treatment safe?

Fluoride, when used as directed, is generally safe and highly beneficial in reducing cavities. Health problems associated with fluoride typically arise only when individuals consume an unsafe amount of the substance.  The concentrations used in our fluoride treatments are considered safe.

Consuming too much fluoride can result in a condition called fluorosis. This would likely be caused by high levels of fluoride in the water system and/or consuming products that contain fluoride (e.g., swallowing a lot of fluoride toothpaste). Fluorosis can make teeth look stained, pitted, spotted, or discolored.  Children are more vulnerable to this condition. In the unlikely event that this happens to you or your child, you should contact our clinic right away.

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