Not taking care of your teeth now can end up costing you lots more in restorative dental care. A complete mouth and teeth restoration is currently estimated over $20,000. The good news is that you can save thousands of dollars in expensive dental procedures by practicing preventive dental care now.
What is Preventive Dentistry?
Preventive Dentistry focuses on improving daily dental hygiene practices and procedures for the prevention of plaque, tooth decay and other common dental conditions. An effective preventive dentistry plan consists of three things: at-home follow-up oral care, chair side dental treatments and professional dental counselling.
The Australian Dental Association recommends at least two dental check-ups per year for managing dental conditions and for professional cleaning. Following the recommendation makes it easier for your dentist to bring your dental health up to date and stop the early onset of the most common dental diseases. The patient saves both precious time and money.
Here are some of the comprehensive exams performed by our trusted dentists:
- TMJ, or evaluation of the joints and jaw
- Periodontal screening
- Dental decay risk assessment
- A review of your medical history
- A thorough review of your concerns
- Blood pressure screening
- Oral cancer screening
- Existing dental conditions exams, followed by treatment recommendations
You can start dental hygiene as soon as your child's first tooth starts to grow. Make sure to visit a dentist when this happens, or before your child turns 1 to start the appropriate oral hygiene program.
Preventive Dental Hygiene
Here are some things you can do in-office and right at home for an effective preventive oral strategy:
Use Fluoride: Fluoride has been proven to prevent tooth decay and strengthen teeth by regular use. Fluoride treatments can be done in dental offices. Dentists recommend the usage of mouthwash and fluoride-based toothpastes at home. One major source of fluoride intake is public water fluoridation.
Proper Diet: A good diet can lead to good dental health. You can avoid eating too much carbohydrates and sugar that could encourage the growth of bacteria, leading to plaque and tooth decay, or add calcium-rich foods that can increase your chances of acquiring healthy gums and preventing periodontal diseases.
Oral Hygiene at Home: Perhaps the most essential part of preventive dentistry strategy is flossing your teeth and brushing at least two times a day, or after each meal to remove plaque. Plaque is the film-like coating that forms during the day. The build-up of plaque can lead to the formation of tartar, a sticky and hardened substance that can cause various gum diseases and tooth decay.
Wear Mouth Guard: This step is recommended for active adults and children who participate in regular contact sports. A mouthguard protects one's teeth from blows to the mouth or face. It can prevent prematurely broken teeth and further injuries to the jaw, tongue and the lips.
There are currently two types of mouthguards- one is a customized mouthguard, often made at the dental clinic. The second one is a "boil and bite" variety you can buy at any sporting goods store. Additionally, mouthguards are also used against bruxism, or teeth grinding which could potentially lead to TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder.
Dental Screening and Cleanings. Prophylaxis, or otherwise known as a dental cleaning should be done once every 6 months to remove hard-to-reach dental plaque and stains. The dentist will also check your teeth for tooth decay.
Regular Dental Visits: Dental deterioration may start out relatively painless at first, but soon it will cause great damage and pain to the individual. You may not be feeling pain now, but that doesn't mean there's nothing wrong with your teeth and gums. Dentists recommend a general check-up at least once every 6 months, and more if you have an ongoing dental issue. A visit to the dentist also entails checking for abnormal tissue growth in your mouth (oral cancer screening). For children, it is essential to start them early in oral development, particularly in the assessment for caries development.
Sealants: Sealants are a type of plastic resin used to cover the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. These barriers protect your tooth's enamel from various acids and plaques from everyday use. Furthermore, these sealants fill in the grooves of your teeth where dental brushes cannot reach. It only takes a few minutes to apply the sealant to the affected molar or premolar teeth. The condition of the sealant will be checked during dental appointments to see if reapplication is needed.
Orthodontics: Malocclusion, or the condition of a bad bite may impair the functions of speaking and eating. Crooked teeth could present some dental hygiene issues. Fortunately, modern orthodontics can help individuals through the use of Invisalign or Invisalign Teen, which are clear dental appliances that act as a more advanced brace for the teeth. This eventually straightens the teeth and corrects it to avoid future dental issues.
Avoid Drinking and Smoking: Alcohol, tobacco and smoking is detrimental to your oral health. You can acquire the following dental diseases, tooth loss, gum disease, plaque build-up and teeth discoloration and dry mouth syndrome. Prolonged smoking and drinking can even lead to oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Screening: Like most cancer, oral cancer may be treated with a high success rate if detected and treated early on in its life. We provide oral cancer screenings along with regular dental exams to ensure utmost care for our patients.
Oral cancer is mainly caused by two factors, smoking and drinking. Individuals may also acquire oral cancer via the HPV-16 virus, which can be transmitted sexually.
Oral Cancer Symptoms include:
- A significant change on how your teeth fit in together when biting down.
- Feeling of tenderness, constant pain or numbness.
- A crusted or roughened area.
- Hard and/or thick lump or spot.
- The presence of mouth sores that don't heal and bleed quite easily.
The good news is that oral cancers have an 80-90% survival rate when found at an early stage of development. Dentists and regular check-ups can prove to be an invaluable line of defence to detecting early oral problems, which could be symptoms of oral cancer.
Consistent care for chronic dental conditions is important for early detection and quick reversal of the harmful effects.
Patient Education: Developing an early habit of good dental hygiene ensures a lifetime of good dental health. Patients are more likely to see a dentist for preventive treatments and strategies if they knew the consequences of continuing their poor dental habits.
How is Fluoride Important?
Children's growing teeth can easily absorb fluoride, which is essential for good dental health. Fluoride provides teeth protection against tooth decay, and it strengthens the teeth structure in the process. What's more, fluoride is shown to remineralize the areas in which tooth decay has set in. It reverses the destructive process and puts in a new protective layer on your tooth's surface.
Preventive Dentistry Benefits
Oral health is shown to be essential to overall health. Therefore, preventive dentistry is vital to a person's well being. We all know that teeth problems can cause great hindrances in daily living. Talking, eating and drinking can be hampered, as well as one's confidence in his or her appearance and self-esteem.
Dental decay can be a major cause of concern in a child's dental development and growth. Prevention can certainly lead to less expensive and less extensive repairs for dental conditions that could surface. Moreover, it could preserve the beauty of your natural teeth and keep it functioning well over a lifetime.