Preventive dentistry

Preventive dentistry is the modern way of caring for the teeth to keep them healthy. This helps to avoid decay, cavities, gum disease, enamel wear, and tooth loss. Daily brushing and dental cleanings are forms of preventive dentistry.

Regular preventative care appointment is a lot better than the devastating results of neglect which can occur to the teeth and oral health. Oral health is connected to the health of your whole body. This is because the mouth is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Maintaining a clean mouth benefits your overall health.

Preventive care includes examination for any signs of early disease, a professional clean, polish and fluoride treatment.

Preventive dental care programme:

At-home oral care: Twice daily brushing and flossing to remove dental plaque, a film-like coating that forms on your teeth. If not removed, plaque can build tartar and lead to gum disease.

Regular oral examinations: Twice yearly dental visits; more often if at higher risk for oral diseases.

Professional cleaning — Dental cleanings to remove dental plaque, stains and to check for signs of tooth decay.

Diagnostic exams: X-rays enable dentists to discover small issues of dental problems that may become big painful problems.

Training for senior citizens: Denture care and cleaning protocols.

Customised mouth guards: Custom-made mouth guard can be worn during sports activities to protect the mouth and teeth of teenagers. They also help in treating teeth grinding (bruxism).

Oral hygiene education: To promote proper diet, nutrition and oral hygiene habits that ensure a lifetime of dental health.

Orthodontics: A bad bite can hinder eating and speaking, and crooked teeth are hard to clean. Correcting with orthodontics limits the possibility of future dental problems.

Fluoride: Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay. Fluoride treatments using fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses at home.

Sealants: Sealants are thin composite coatings placed on the chewing surfaces of back permanent teeth, to protect children from tooth decay.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is absorbed easily into the enamel of children’s growing teeth. In developed teeth, fluoride strengthens tooth structure, helps resist decay, repairs or re-mineralizes areas of decay and create a decay-resistant tooth surface.

Fluoride is available in two forms: topical and systemic.

Topical fluorides strengthen teeth and make them decay-resistant. They include toothpastes, mouth rinses and professionally applied fluoride gels, foams, rinses or varnishes.

Systemic fluorides — (public water fluoridation, dietary fluoride supplements in the form of tablets, drops or lozenges.) Absorbed into the body and incorporate into forming tooth structures. It can give topical protection as fluoride is present in saliva, which constantly moistens teeth.

What are sealants?

Sealant is a protective plastic coating, which provides a safe and painless way of protecting the teeth from decay. It is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth to form a smooth, protective hard shield, that prevents food and bacteria from entering the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay.

What oral care products should be used?

· Specialized toothpastes — total care toothpastes, toothpastes made to help with plaque and gum disease, and sensitive teeth, ‘whitening’ toothpastes.

· Mouthwashes — anti-bacterial ingredients.

· Toothbrush — with a small or medium-sized head and soft or medium bristles.

· Electric or ‘power’ toothbrushes.

Clinical procedures of preventive treatment:

· Early exams and cleanings (before bacteria builds up).

· Reinforcing the dentist’s work with fluoride varnish prescriptions (help make the teeth resistant to decay).

· Dental sealants are applied to the top surfaces of molars to prevent decay

· Orthodontics (braces).

· Home fluoride rinse products.

Other Preventive Dental Substances:

· Amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) — strengthens tooth enamel, protect dentin from hypersensitivity. ACP is found in toothpaste, bleaching gels and sealants.

· Xylitol (a natural sweetener) — reduce cavities, prevent tooth decay and gum disease. In toothpastes, mouth rinses, chewing gums and candies.

Technology for Dental Disease Prevention:

· Intraoral cameras

· Digital radiography

· Air abrasion

· Caries I.D.

· Diagnodent — Uses Light Emitting Diode (LED) and fiber optic technologies to detect caries.

· Diagnodent — is a fluorescent laser that finds cavities beneath the tooth’s surface.

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