Preventive dentistry is oral care that involves education, treatment and practice of maintaining your teeth and gums. From daily brushing to annual dental cleanings, explains Healthline, these tasks are designed to avoid gum disease, cavities and enamel wear – which often leads to sensitivity.
Common Practices in the Office
A variety of procedures occur in the dental chair for patients receiving preventive treatment, regardless of age. The dental exam itself is a form of prevention, as the purpose of the appointment is to detect the potential for dental decay, both during the oral exam and upon reading any dental images (x-rays) taken. Once the exam is done, the dentist can then recommend that the patient have his or her teeth cleaned, which is helpful in the prevention of cavities and gum disease.
Depending on the amount of time that has gone by, and how much personal home oral care you've taken up, the dentist or dental hygienist may require more than one appointment. This includes the treatment of gum disease, which, according to the American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site, usually requires additional experience in periodontics if the infection is already present.
Treatment for Children
In children, preventive dentistry is very important. Everyone should know early exams and cleanings (before bacteria builds up) can ensure a lifetime of dental health. After getting your kids' teeth cleaned, reinforcing the dentist's work with fluoride varnish prescriptions such as Colgate® PreviDent® Varnish can help make the teeth of any patient more resistant to decay.
Sealants are another preventive measure for which your kids may be eligible, according to the ADA. As young children's permanent molars erupt between the ages of six and 12, dental sealants are applied to the top surfaces to prevent decay from occurring in the grooves naturally found in these back teeth.
As children continue to grow, they may need to undergo orthodontics (braces), wherein they wear brackets and wires surrounding most of the teeth to prevent misalignment as the jaw matures into adulthood. Home fluoride rinse products such as Colgate Phos-Flur Ortho Protect® can help make sure cavities don't set in around the brackets glued to the teeth during treatment.
The Goal of Preventive Dentistry
The benefits of this form of dentistry are numerous, and patients of all ages can realize its goal: keeping gum disease, sensitivity, cavities and other common conditions at bay. If early signs of cavities and gum disease can be reversed, then patients can look forward to a lifetime of healthy smiles.
About the author: Dr. Huot is the founder and CEO of Beachside Dental Consultants Inc. He has lectured at many meetings, and his past articles have been featured in Dental Products Report, Dental Economics, Dental Practice Report, ADA News and state dental journals. Dr. Huot recently retired from the USAF Reserve Dental Corps after 30 years of military duty, and his most recent assignment was as the Commander of the 920th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Patrick AFB, Florida. A past president of the Maine Dental Association in 1994 and the 2006 president of the Atlantic Coast District Dental Association in Florida, Dr. Huot is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the Academy of General Dentistry and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.