What is Preventive Dentistry and Why Do You Need It?
The primary goal of preventive dentistry is to keep your teeth and gums healthy and free of infections. There are many forms of preventive dental care that we can practice from dental cleanings to brushing with fluoride toothpaste that can help you achieve this. Because of the many benefits it offers, preventive dental care should start at an early age. And here is why:
- It helps in the prevention of dental caries
- Lowers the risk of gum disease
- Strengthens the enamel
- Increase chances of detecting oral cancer on time
But, where can you start? Here are six things you can do to keep your teeth healthy.
1. Maintain Proper Hygiene
Brushing and flossing are basic dental hygiene practices because they remove plaque buildup. But, as part of your daily hygiene practices, it is important to add mouthwash. Using an antiseptic mouth rinse can remove food particles from places where brushing can get.
2. Dental Cleaning and Examination
The American Dental Association recommends getting regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months. This helps to remove the plaque buildup from the gum line. While brushing can help keep the teeth clean, plaque can still accumulate and increase the risk of decay and gum disease.
During your routine checkup, the dentist will do a comprehensive assessment to examine the teeth. An x-ray can also be done to check the condition of the jaw bone. It is easy for the dentist to detect any dental problems before they advance and begin treatment early. Remember, most dental problems develop without obvious symptoms. It is only through regular assessment that our dentist in Ottawa can detect the problem on time.
3. Fluoride Treatment
We offer fluoride treatment as part of our preventive dental services. Fluoride is a mineral found in food, water, and dental products such as toothpaste. The mineral helps to strengthen the enamel and make it strong to withstand bacteria and cavities. This preventive dental treatment involves the application of varnish, gel, or foam on the teeth and leaving the teeth to absorb the mineral. You are advised not to eat anything 30 minutes after the fluoride is applied to the teeth.
Fluoride treatment is ideal for people who are at risk of decay. The treatment is recommended every three, six, and twelve months depending on your risk factor.
4. Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are coatings, usually made of plastics, applied on the teeth to shield and protect them from bacteria and cavities.
These preventive dental fixtures are recommended for children because they are prone to cavities and decay. Sealants can be applied on any tooth, but are mostly fixed on the back teeth since they trap food particles and increase the risk of decay. These coatings can last for a decade, but they need constant assessment to check any cracks or signs of wearing out.
The application of the sealants is done in a few minutes and does not need anesthesia. The dentist will clean the teeth to be sealed and separate them with a sheet to keep them dry. The teeth are conditioned using an acid solution that roughens the enamel and makes it easy for the sealant to stick to the teeth.
Although they are recommended for children, adults can also benefit if they have healthy teeth free of fillings.
5. Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screening is a preventive measure because it allows the dentist to examine your mouth for any abnormal growth. The screening involves both physical and visual exams, where the dentist will feel your mouth to check for any swelling, growth, lacerations, or tumors. If there is any problem, further treatments like biopsy can be done. The test involves taking a small amount of the laceration and checking if it is cancerous or not.
Oral cancer screening is not diagnostic, but it can increase the chances of you surviving it if it is detected early.
Schedule an Appointment
Visit Albert Street Dentistry for more information about our preventive dentistry services in Ottawa, ON, and how they can benefit you.