Preventive dentistry is the modern way of reducing the amount of dental treatment needed to maintain a healthy mouth. It helps you to keep your teeth. Two major causes of tooth loss are decay and gum disease. The better we prevent or deal with these two problems, the more chance people have of keeping their teeth for life.
The joint efforts of the dentist, the hygienist and the patient can help to prevent the need for treatment, and so avoid the traditional pattern of fillings and extractions. A course of treatment may be recommended to get your mouth into good condition, and maintenance plan will be worked out to help you keep it that way.
The dentist will first assess your teeth and gums, and discuss with you any treatment you need. The main aim is to help you get your mouth really healthy, to try and prevent any dental problems returning
- The hygienist or dentist will thoroughly scale and polish your teeth
- The hygienist or dentist will show you the best methods of brushing and flossing to remove the bacterial ‘plaque’ which forms constantly on your teeth and gums. When you eat or drink something sugary, the plaque turns the sugar into acid, which will cause tooth decay. Plaque will also cause gum inflammation if it is not regularly and thoroughly removed. The hard tartar (calculus) which builds up on the teeth also starts off as plaque.
- You will be told which oral care products are the best ones for you to use.
- The hygienist and dentist will discuss diet and any habits such as smoking and drinking with you
- The dentist will also make sure that all your fillings are in good condition and there are no rough edges to make cleaning difficult
- A preventive dentist will often recommend treatment to reinforce a tooth to make sure that it does not break. For example, if the dentist ses that a tooth is cracked, or is weak and in danger of breaking, they may advise a new filling or perhaps a crown or onlay to protect it. This is always better than waiting till the breakage happens, and then working out how best to deal with it, perhaps as an emergency