Preventive dentistry is the practice of caring for your teeth to keep them healthy. This helps to avoid cavities, gum disease, enamel wear, and more.
There are many forms of preventive dentistry, such as daily brushing and dental cleanings. To maintain optimal oral health, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visits to the dentist at regular intervals determined by a dentist. These practices are designed to ensure that teeth are clean, strong, and white. Children should be taught proper oral hygiene at an early age.
While proper home care is the first step in maintaining proper oral and periodontal (gum) health, it is essential to have professional cleanings every six months, or more frequently depending on the need. These visits, referred to as “dental prophylaxis,” are generally performed by a board-certified dental hygienist trained to help patients maintain optimum oral health. A dental hygienist uses special instruments to remove plaque and calculus (tartar) from hard to reach areas and reinforces proper preventive home care techniques. During these visits, a dentist also performs an exam of the entire mouth to insure that oral health is properly maintained.
Through the use of dental x-rays, dentists are able to diagnose many diseases within the oral cavity. This technology is an essential element of proper diagnosis and, used in very small doses, is a safe tool to provide proper dental care. The newest radiography available uses digital technology to capture a very precise image while subjecting the patient to a smaller dose of radiation.
Used as a topical agent, fluoride can re-mineralize areas of teeth that have begun to decay, and halt further progression of disease. Fluoride is present in toothpaste and can be applied in higher dosages in varnish and gels by a dental professional.
Athletic mouth guards that are form-fitted to the teeth prevent trauma to the teeth during athletic activity. Custom mouth guards fabricated from a dentist not only provide the best protection, but also remain in place better which makes it easier to breathe and speak during athletic activity.