Preventive measures can do wonders for your dental health. A few simple homecare practices, paired with regular visits to your dental professional will go a long way toward maintaining optimal oral health.
Daily preventive procedures share the common goal of removing bacteria from the mouth. If allowed to build-up, bacteria adheres to the teeth, tongue and soft tissue which becomes plaque, that over time can mineralize into a hard substance called calculus. Only professional cleanings can remove calculus.
Inadequate plaque control is the primary cause of gingivitis (inflamed gums), periodontitis (bacteria gum disease), and oral malodor (bad breath). Patients can minimize bacterial accumulation through regular brushing, flossing, and tongue scraping, and periodic dental hygiene appointments (dental prophylaxis).
The Hygiene Appointment
Professional cleanings and assessments enable dental professionals to remain abreast of your oral health status and they can provide guidance on steps to take to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Regular preventive dental visits allow problems to be identified early while they can be fixed easily and painlessly.
What Should You Expect?
During a standard appointment, a dental hygienist uses scaling instruments and tongue scrapers to remove the build-up of plaque and calculus from the teeth and soft tissue. The hygienist and dentist may:
- Screen for cancer and other diseases
- Evaluate supporting bone structure
- Check for cavities
- Assess the integrity existing dental restorations
- Take x-rays
- Apply Fluoride
- Evaluate aesthetic options
Professional Fluoride Therapy
Fluoride therapy has been proven beneficial in maintaining optimal oral health, particularly in the prevention of tooth decay and hypersensitivity. Since the introduction of fluoride into public water supplies more than 50 years ago, the incidence of cavities has declined dramatically by strengthening developing permanent teeth. However, professional fluoride treatments, combined with daily home therapy, can often times improve dental health. Treatment options vary according to a patient’s susceptibility to decay, level of tooth sensitivity, periodontal (gum) condition and number of cosmetic restoration.
Professional In-Office Solutions
A professional fluoride treatment is an important part of your dental cleaning. The fluoride treatment will enhance the ability of your tooth surface to resist acid attacks and decay and replace the layer that is removed during tooth scaling and polishing.
Professional Take-Home Solutions
If you’ve ever had a questionable area of decay, tooth sensitivity, or bleeding gums within the last year, a professional take-home fluoride may be necessary. Your dental professional will recommend the most appropriate fluoride based on your oral condition. Daily fluoride therapy may also be helpful for patients with orthodontic appliances, or those with exposed rot surfaces.
Like fluoride, dental sealants can give today’s children a head start on good oral health. A sealant is a clear acrylic material that is applied directly to cavity-prone chewing surfaces and grooves of the back teeth, providing protection against decay.
Sealants are most beneficial when applied to the permanent teeth as soon as they grow in. The sealant is simply placed on the teeth, and a special light is aimed at the area to harden the material so that it adheres.
Caring For Dental Sealants
It is important to note that sealants do not eliminate the need for daily home care. Children still should be taught to brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss.