Preventive dentistry is important for a number of reasons. It helps to prevent dental conditions like cavities or gum disease from developing in the first place. When these conditions do develop, they can usually be treated in their earliest stages, which can often be easier and more conservative.
Cleanings & Exams
The American Dental Association recommends patients visit the dentist twice a year for regular dental cleanings and exams. During dental cleanings, your hygienist will remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth, which can help prevent cavities and gum disease.
During your dental exam, your dentist will inspect your teeth, gums, and mouth for any dental issues. If any issues are discovered, your dentist will put together a treatment plan to help you correct them.
With X-rays, your dentist will be able to view the inside of your teeth. This will help them to spot cavities, infections, and other problems early on, so they may be more easily treated. X-rays can also help your dentist to rule out certain problems, and they can also show the size and placement of any teeth that have not yet erupted.
Your dentist may recommend dental sealants for your child. Sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to teeth to prevent cavities. They fill in the grooves and pits of teeth where food particles and bacteria are likely to get trapped.
Fluoride treatments are often the first type of preventative dental treatment recommended for children. They fight the plaque and bacteria that can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Fluoride treatments are simple and quick. They are typically performed during routine visits every six months.
Athletic mouthguards are an essential part of preventive dentistry. If you participate in sports that pose a risk of injury to the mouth, a dentist can make a custom mouthguard that will protect your teeth. While it is possible to buy mouthguards in sporting goods stores, they aren’t customized to fit your mouth and can cause damage over time.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Your dentist checks for signs of oral cancer during your dental exams and by feeling for lumps or irregular tissue. Oral lesions can be cancerous.
Cancers of the oral cavity or oropharynx (the part of the throat at the back of the mouth) are the sixth most common cancer worldwide. Tobacco and alcohol use are the main risk factors for oral cancers.
During your checkup, your dentist will examine your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums to look for any abnormal or unusual tissue or lesions. We may also recommend an oral cancer screening during your exam.
Visit Healthy Smiles of Birmingham at 100 Heatherbrooke Park Dr Suite A, Birmingham, AL 35242 for a wonderful experience with preventive dentistry. Contact us at (205) 991-9535 or schedule an appointment online.