As the name suggests, preventive dentistry is to prevent conditions that result in development of dental problems, in people. The widely prevalent dental problems include cavities, gum disease, loss of enamel, stains on teeth. Oral health is very important for general health, as has been proved by researched in the field.
There are some health problems that can be linked with poor oral health of the people like heart disease, respiratory disease and diabetes. Some of the cancers are also associated with poor dental care. Good preventive dental care during pregnancy is linked with healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
What is oral health?
Oral health is basically absence of dental carries, healthy teeth, absence of gum disease, fresh breadth, unbroken enamel full chewing capacities, beautiful smile and healthy self-concept.
To keep perfect oral health, it is vital that you prevent the oral problems before they become chronic.
How does preventive dentistry help in keeping good oral health?
Preventive dentistry keeps a tab on your oral health from the beginning, thereby intervene at the right time to stop any dental issues get out of hand to become a drain on your health and money. Since it is ongoing treatment, the dentist will take care of the teeth by suggesting ways to keep your teeth and gums germ free at home and by regular visits to the dentist at least twice a year.
The ways in which preventive dentistry help includes:
Prevention of crowded teeth: It is recommended that as soon as your child gets his first tooth, or even before that, make a visit to the dentist’s office so that the child becomes familiar with the surrounding and make friends with the dentist. Then with regular visits, the dentist will be able to spot any issues with teeth of the child. He will be able to foresee if there is not enough space for the teeth to cut through on the gums because the temporary tooth has not fallen, and the new tooth is ready to cut. He can then make a space for the new tooth to erupt with a small cut on the gums or removing the deciduous tooth so that there is enough space for the new permanent tooth to come through.
Detailed cleanliness routine: The dentist will be able to spot during routine visits if there are any signs of plaque build up or infection in the tooth. As soon as it is noticed by the dentist, he will clean the area before the infection spreads further and becomes a dental cavity. He will also ask the child and mother to take care with daily brushing and flossing. In this way the dental caries will not be allowed to develop, with the help of oral hygiene routine at home.
Fluoride supplements: Fluoride is one of the important elements that helps in prevention of decay of teeth. In most American provinces, the state provides fluorinated water in the tap for drinking and other uses. If your tap water does not contain added fluoride, the dentist will suggest fluorinated toothpastes and mouth washes to supplement the fluoride content in your drinking water.
Diet: The dentist will ask about the dietary habits of your child and your family. He will advise you about the diet if is interfering with your child’s teeth in any way. For example, he will advise you to cut down on sugary treats for your child, adding healthy snacks in his diet and avoid chocolate and hard candies especially before bed.
Periodical cleaning of teeth and gums: the dentist will provide for the periodical cleaning of the teeth and gums. Even with the best dental routine for oral health, people tend to develop plaque and bacteria. When the plaque build up is in initial stage, it is not noticeable and does not pain. If your visits are not regular, this may develop into big problems leading to cavities. This is prevented by the dentist, because during dental check ups the dentist will clean your teeth, which will remove plaque from places where your brush cannot reach. Regular clean ups reduce the risk of growth of bacteria in the mouth leading to gum disease.
X-rays: The dental clinic is equipped with x ray machines which enables the dentist to see the problems below the gum line which he can treat in time to save the gums and teeth from growing into chronic issues.
Mouth guards: Mouth guards are prescribed for people who have a problem of grinding the teeth during sleep. This habit- Bruxism- leads to early wear and tear of teeth leading to weakened teeth structure. Mout guards help control this problem which can be detected during your regular visits to the dentist. Mouth guards are also provided for sports activities to protect your teeth during active sports to safeguard your teeth from injuries and breakage.
Orthodontics: If your child is having bite problem like underbite, overbite or cross bite, the dentist can suggest orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic treatment will help in avoiding larger problems that may occur due to improper bite can be avoided before it can become big issues involving long dental treatments causing pain and expenses. The dentist will suggest the best treatment available according to your budget which will correct the mal occlusion resulting in a beautiful smile and avoiding dental issues.
Dental sealants: The dentist will apply dental sealants on the back permanent teeth to protect them from bacteria and decay.
Educating children and parents: Preventive dentistry also helps in educating children about good dental health, and how to prevent tooth decay by using correct methods of brushing and flossing your teeth after every meal. The dentist will also educate parents about foods and how it affects the teeth. He will show the correct method for keeping the gums clean and when to contact the dentist if an emergency arises. The dental health education also includes to talk about signs of problems and how to recognise these signals. He will explain how dental health affects the general health and how to avoid them.