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Preventive Dentistry

Preventive Dentistry is a valuable aspect of healthcare that helps to maintain oral health and prevent potential health issues. Regular visits to your general dentist can not only save your teeth but also help detect dangerous health conditions. Dentists are often the first to identify signs of conditions like oral cancer, AIDS, and anorexia. Research has also established a link between untreated gum disease and systemic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. By visiting your dentist regularly, any oral health issues can be detected early when they are easier to treat.

Preventive Dentistry typically involves a checkup and professional teeth cleaning. Your dental hygienist will use special tools to remove dental plaque that you cannot reach with your toothbrush and floss. If left on your teeth for too long, this plaque can harden into tartar, which is irritating to your gums. After the cleaning, your dentist will examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth decay. Small cavities can often be filled to prevent decay from causing more significant problems. Your dentist may also recommend specific oral hygiene aids to use at home, like a floss holder or anti-plaque mouth rinse.

Preventive dental visits are especially important for children and seniors. Children can receive tooth-strengthening topical fluoride treatments, as well as dental sealants to keep bacteria out of the little grooves in the back teeth. If your child plays sports, your dentist can also make a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect against dental injuries. Seniors are particularly prone to tooth decay, as many medications can dry out the mouth, reducing the natural cavity-fighting protection of saliva. Even seniors who wear dentures require regular preventive dental visits, as dentures need to be adjusted from time to time to maintain a comfortable fit.

In addition to the routine services provided during a preventive dental visit, your dentist may also offer additional preventive treatments. These may include dental sealants, fluoride treatments, and oral cancer screenings.

Dental sealants are thin coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars and premolars). These teeth have deep grooves and pits that can be difficult to clean with brushing and flossing alone, making them more susceptible to cavities. Sealants fill in these grooves and pits, creating a smooth surface that is easier to keep clean. Children are especially good candidates for sealants, but they can be beneficial for adults as well.

Fluoride treatments are another preventive measure that can help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water and some foods, and it helps to remineralize weakened tooth enamel. During a fluoride treatment, a highly concentrated fluoride gel or foam is applied to the teeth. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who are at high risk for cavities.

Oral cancer screenings are also an important part of preventive dentistry. During this screening, your dentist will examine your mouth for any signs of oral cancer, including lesions or growths. Early detection is key in the successful treatment of oral cancer, so regular screenings are important, particularly for individuals who smoke or use tobacco products.

Overall, preventive dentistry is an essential component of maintaining good oral health and preventing serious dental problems down the road. By visiting your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings, and by following good oral hygiene practices at home, you can help ensure a healthy, beautiful smile for years to come.

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