Preventive dentistry is one of the most practiced fields because it helps people maintain the health and wellness of their mouths before problems develop or worsen. Almost every dentist has experience with preventive dentistry, but skilled practitioners can help you keep your smile bright and your gums healthy.
The role of preventive dentistry is exactly that – to prevent. Most of the issues that affect the mouth have several stages and can be identified while the condition is still reversible. Preventive dentists can diagnose common problems like periodontal (gum) disease, cavities, and the start of tooth decay. They can then apply the necessary treatments.
The most important element of preventive dentistry is the regular checkup. During this appointment, a dentist will examine your teeth, clean the enamel and gums, and then frequently apply a sealant or fluoride treatment to preserve the surface enamel and protect it from future problems. Sealants create a thin layer of defense, while fluoride supplies minerals that build the enamel.
Another common procedure is the taking of x-rays that will reveal hollow spaces in teeth, the length of roots, and the overall shape of the jawbone. Someone who has cavities developing can still stop future problems by getting a sealant and brushing and flossing regularly. Likewise, if someone has a jaw that is starting to crowd or distort, the dentist can recommend treatment to reshape the mouth before more drastic measures like braces are necessary.
The most important individual in the practice of preventive dentistry is you. During appointments, dentists will educate you on the proper way to brush and floss, which needs to occur twice a day for two minutes each session. It’s also important to avoid overly acidic foods and drinks like soda, which can contribute to tooth decay.