Preventive Dentistry

What is Preventive Dentistry?

Preventive dentistry is the modern way of reducing the amount of dental treatment necessary to maintain a healthy mouth.

It helps you to keep your teeth. The 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 avoid the need for fillings and extractions.

A course of treatment may be recommended to get your teeth into good condition, and a maintenance plan will be worked out to help you keep it that way.

Can Everybody Benefit from Preventive Dentistry?

Yes, preventive dentistry will benefit anyone with some of his or her own teeth. People who don’t have any teeth can also benefit because conditions such as mouth cancer and denture stomatitis can be identified and treated during their regular visits to the dentist. It is excellent for children and young people, but it is never too late to start.

What is Involved?

Your dentist will first assess your teeth and gums, and discuss with you any treatment that is necessary. The aim is to help you get your mouth really healthy, and prevent any dental problems returning. In a healthy mouth it is unlikely that decay or gum disease will continue to be a problem.

The hygienist or dentist will thoroughly scale and polish your teeth. Your hygienist will show you the best methods 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 upon the teeth, will also cause gum disease.

You will be advised which oral care products are the best ones for you to use. The hygienist will probably discuss diet and any habits such as smoking and drinking with you. Your dentist will also make sure that all your fillings are in good repair and there are no rough edges to make cleaning difficult.

Recent research shows that the use of special fluoride applications to the teeth for those at high risk of dental decay gives added protection and reduces incidents of decay. Fissure sealants (a protective coating), especially on the molar teeth of children, can also greatly reduce risks of further decay.