The Importance of Preventive Dentistry
As the name suggests, preventive dentistry refers to the branch of dentistry that focuses on, well, preventive care! It is the type of dental care that helps you keep a healthy mouth. It is considered preventive care because the more you maintain healthy oral health habits at home and are consistent with dental checkups, the more likely you are to prevent oral health issues such as gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, and a wide variety of other dental health problems. This reason in itself is why preventive dental care is so important. Like any disease or health issue, it is much better to prevent the problem rather than to have to treat it if it does occur. Maintaining good dental habits will save you a whole lot of trouble (and not to mention money) down the line.
Who is Preventive Dentistry For?
There’s a common misconception amongst the general public that preventive dentistry is only for children, or that if you already suffer from poor dental health, preventive dentistry isn’t for you. That really couldn’t be further from the truth! Preventive dentistry is important for everyone, no matter your age or status of your oral health. There is always a worse dental situation we could be working to prevent. Missing all of your teeth? Preventive care is still important for you, as our dental team can identify conditions like denture stomatitis or mouth cancer during a regular visit, ensuring we begin treatment before it worsens. Long story short, preventive dentistry is for everyone, and yes that means YOU!
Preventive Dental Care Treatment in Spokane
Okay, okay, so you get the gist of what preventive dentistry is, but now you want to know exactly what that may entail in terms of a visit to the dentist? Well, you’ve come to the right place! At Spokane Dental, we’re experts in preventive care, and here’s what you can expect:
Exams and Cleaning
The good news here is that for most of our patients, we only recommend paying us a visit for an oral exam and cleaning every six months. The main objective for the dental exam is for our dentist to screen you for any signs of tooth decay or other alarming dental health issues. In terms of cleaning, our wonderful team of hygienists use a variety of professional instruments to remove plaque, tartar and stains that are too intense for you to take care of or reach on your own with your everyday habits of brushing and flossing. After your deep cleaning is complete, we polish your teeth smooth which helps to discourage new plaque deposits from adhering and building up on your freshly cleaned teeth.
According to the American Dental Association, fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter. (Fun fact, fluoride occurs naturally in varying amounts in water sources like rivers, lakes, and oceans). Fluoride is often added to dental products like toothpaste because of its cavity fighting capabilities. Fluoride also has somewhat of a dental superpower, it helps to rebuild weakened tooth enamel and can even reverse early signs of tooth decay! (American Dental Association, 2023). We have also had great results with brushing fluoride on sensitive areas near the gumline to alleviate the sensitivity. At Spokane Dental we use fluoride varnish, which we brush onto the teeth of our patients to be left for multiple hours which allows the fluoride to continue working.
Sealants are another key factor in preventive dentistry. A sealant is essentially a plastic resin that we place in the deep grooves of the back molars, on what we call the chewing surfaces. We do this because it’s very difficult to fully clean out plaque and food particles in these grooves with just a toothbrush, and if not cleaned properly, the surface of the teeth becomes vulnerable to decay. The resin sealants act as a blockage to food and plaque, which in turn protects the tooth enamel from decay. Typically, we utilize sealants for children due to their increased risk for cavities, and sealants are able to last several years, often helping children get through their most cavity prone years.
Digital Imaging (X-Rays)
One of the most important aspects of preventive care we offer at Spokane Dental is digital imaging via x-rays. With x-rays we are able to view high quality images of your teeth. Not only are we able to view these detailed images, but they are available immediately on a computer monitor, allowing us to show our patients where their problem areas are so they have a better understanding of what the issue is and their treatment plan.
At Home Preventive Care
While regularly visiting the dentist for checkups is critical to your oral health, it’s only half the battle when it comes to preventive care. The other half? You guessed it, at home care by you. These are the expert recommendations to maintain good oral hygiene at home:
Brushing: Brushing your teeth thoroughly for two minutes, two times a day is one of the best ways you can practice good dental hygiene and maintain your oral health.
Flossing: We know many people dread flossing but adding it to your daily dental hygiene routine is the best way to help keep your teeth and gums healthy. It keeps your mouth clean and greatly reduces your risk of gum disease! (And yes, we really can tell when you haven’t been flossing at home!)
Fluoride Toothpaste: Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste is great for preventive care as it strengthens your teeth and prevents cavities and tooth decay.
The Benefits of Preventive Dental Care
If we haven’t convinced you already why preventive dentistry is so important, let’s do a quick recap of the benefits:
- Prevention is better than having to find a cure.
- It lowers costs as preventive care is much cheaper than treating serious dental issues.
- Avoid pain and discomfort from dental issues.
- Avoid the dentist. With preventive care, you’re less likely to need additional visits to the dentist.
- Better overall health.
Come in and see for yourself the benefits of preventive dental care. Give us a call or schedule an appointment today!