Preventative Dentistry

Preventative Dentistry

The field of preventative dentistry focuses on improving and maintaining overall health rather than treating actual tooth and mouth problems. It emphasizes the importance of daily oral hygiene and regular dental visits. The dentist in Birmingham, AL, can also recommend preventive measures such as fluoride treatments and sealants to strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay. They can also provide helpful guidance on dietary choices that will promote good oral health.

Types of Preventative Dentistry Procedures

Dental Cleaning

Dental cleaning is the most basic type of preventive dental care procedure, usually done every six months. During a routine tooth cleaning, one of our dental hygienists will remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth using a special tool called a scaler. Then, your hygienist will polish away stains on your teeth to leave them feeling smooth and clean. This can help prevent cavities caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar, as well as gum disease.

Some patients may need more frequent cleanings or more in-depth cleanings. For example, someone with chronic or severe gum disease may benefit from deep cleaning treatments that remove plaque deposits under the gum line, root planing and scaling to remove bacteria from the tooth roots, and other advanced periodontal therapy procedures. These treatments are only recommended after your dentist has evaluated your mouth and determined that you are at risk for gum disease.

Fluoride Treatments

A dentist can apply fluoride as a topical treatment, or they can apply it through a tray that patients will bite down on for a few minutes a day. This common technique is called professional-strength fluoride gel. It's often called "toothpaste" because it tastes like it. Some dentists even make flavored versions so their patients won't mind getting this preventative treatment. Professional-strength fluoride gel is applied in-office by the dentist and is usually applied every three, four, or six months depending on the patient. In some cases, children receive fluoride treatments more often. 

Dental Sealants

A dental sealant is a plastic coating that is bonded to the front surface of teeth to prevent tooth decay. Checkups and cleanings are still necessary to maintain good oral health, but sealants are an additional way to protect the teeth from decay.

At Healthy Smiles of Birmingham, the teeth are cleaned and dried before the sealant is painted onto each tooth. A special curing light bonds the sealant to the teeth, creating a smooth barrier that blocks out plaque and food particles that could get caught in the natural pits and grooves of the teeth. Dental sealants can last several years before needing replacement.

Dental Fillings

Teeth with cavities can still benefit greatly from treatments like dental fillings. Cavities grow and spread when left untreated, so it's important to treat them as soon as possible. Tooth-colored fillings made of resin or porcelain can be bonded to teeth. These newer types of fillings are more attractive and compatible with metal-free dentistry for long-lasting results.

Benefits of Preventative Dentistry

There are many benefits to incorporating regular preventative care into your dental health plan. Here are three to consider.

Prevent tooth decay and cavities

If you want to avoid seeing the dentist to address decay or fillings, you should be proactive about keeping your teeth healthy with a routine of at-home oral hygiene and professional cleanings. Cavities occur in the areas where your toothbrush doesn't reach, such as between the teeth and under the gum line. Professional cleanings help to ensure these pockets are cleaned thoroughly and kept free of plaque buildup. Additionally, your dentist can recommend products to further prevent the formation of new cavities.

Keep your gums healthy

Gum disease is preventable when you keep up with a regular oral health routine. Unfortunately, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. Regular professional cleanings and at-home brushing and flossing will keep bacteria from building up in your gums and causing infection or even eventual bone loss. When caught early, intervention can help reverse the effects of gum disease and keep your gums healthy in the long run.

Maintain your overall health

Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body, which means that what happens in your mouth can affect other parts of your health. Bacteria that build up in your mouth can travel through your bloodstream to other areas of your body, where they can cause infections and even heart disease. Tooth loss can also increase the risk of conditions like malnutrition and osteoporosis because chewing becomes difficult without teeth. Investing in preventative dental care can keep both your mouth and the rest of your body in good health!

Please get in touch with us through online consultation or by calling us at (205) 875-4650, and we'll guide you further.

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