Last updated date: 03-Mar-2023
Originally Written in English
Preventive dentistry is the modern approach to keeping your mouth healthy. It allows you to keep your teeth longer and requires less dental treatment. Tooth decay and gum disease are the two most common causes of tooth loss. The better you prevent or deal with these two issues, the more likely are to keep your teeth for life.
When the dental team and the patient collaborate, it is possible to avoid the need for treatment, particularly fillings and extractions. The dental team may recommend a course of treatment to get your mouth in good shape, followed by a 'maintenance plan' to help keep it that way.
What is Preventive Dentistry?
The action of preventing something from happening or arising is defined as prevention. Prevention encompasses a wide range of activities known as "interventions" that aim to reduce health risks or threats. Preventive dentistry refers to the measures or care required to prevent disease of the teeth and supporting structures in the field of dentistry.
Preventive dentistry typically classified into:
- Primary prevention: employs strategies and agents to prevent disease onset, reverse disease progression, or halt disease progression. For example, using a topical fluoride gel to prevent caries.
- Secondary prevention: is defined as any action that halts the progression of a disease in its early stages and prevents complications. Use of demineralizing agents, for example, in early carious lesions.
- Tertiary prevention: employs the measures required to replace lost tissues and rehabilitate patients to the point where physical abilities and/or mental attitudes are restored.
What are Preventive Dentistry Strategies?
Preventive oral care strategies for children and adults include a number of in-office and home care activities, including:
- Oral hygiene at home:
Brushing and flossing at least twice a day (or after every meal) is the most important prevention technique for removing dental plaque, a film-like coating that forms on your teeth. Plaque, if not removed, can harden into dental tartar, a hardened, sticky substance containing acid-producing bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
- Use of fluoride:
Fluoride strengthens teeth and keeps them from decaying. Fluoride treatments are available in dental offices, and dentists advise patients to use fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses at home. Fluoridation of public water supplies is one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the twentieth century.
A healthy diet is essential for dental health. Sugar and carbohydrate-rich foods feed the bacteria that cause dental plaque, whereas calcium-deficient diets increase your chances of developing gum (periodontal) disease and jaw deterioration.
- Regular dental checkups:
Because most dental conditions are painless at first, if you do not visit your dentist on a regular basis, you may be unaware of dental problems until they cause significant damage. Schedule regular dental check-ups every six months for best results; more frequently if you're at higher risk for oral diseases. Oral cancer screenings should also be performed by your dentist to look for signs of abnormal tissues. Checking oral growth and development (including an assessment for caries development) should be part of dental evaluations, especially for children.
- Cleanings and screenings of the teeth:
Every six months, a dental cleaning (prophylaxis) is recommended to remove dental plaque and stains that you are unable to remove yourself, as well as to check for signs of tooth decay.
Dentists can use X-rays to detect signs of dental problems that are not visible to the naked eye, such as cavities between teeth and problems below the gum line.
- Mouth guards:
Mouth guards can be worn during sports activities to protect against broken teeth, particularly a custom-made mouth guard prescribed by your dentist for a better fit. Teeth grinding (bruxism), which can wear down teeth and contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, is also treated with mouth guards.
A bad bite (malocclusion) can make it difficult to eat and speak, and crooked teeth are difficult to clean. Correcting a bad bite with orthodontics, which may include the use of dental braces or clear teeth aligners (invisible braces), such as Invisalign or Invisalign Teen, reduces the likelihood of future dental problems.
Sealants are thin composite coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of your child's back permanent teeth to protect them from tooth decay.
- Avoid smoking and drinking:
Smoking, chewing tobacco, and alcohol consumption can all have a negative impact on your oral health. Smoking causes gum disease, tooth loss, and even oral cancer, in addition to dry mouth, tooth discoloration, and plaque buildup.
- Management of oral health:
For chronic dental diseases, consistent dental care is essential for halting or reversing their harmful effects.
- Patient education is essential:
Patients who understand the consequences of poor dental health are more likely to seek preventive dentistry treatments from their dentist. Instilling good oral hygiene habits helps to ensure good dental health for life.
Fluoride Uses in Preventive Dentistry
- Fluoride is easily absorbed into tooth enamel, particularly in children's growing teeth.
- Fluoride strengthens tooth structure after it has formed, making teeth more resistant to decay.
- Fluoride also repairs or remineralizers decayed areas, reversing the process and creating a decay-resistant tooth surface.
Fluoride comes in two forms: topical and systemic.
- Topical fluorides:
Strengthen existing teeth, making them less susceptible to decay. Topical fluorides include toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride therapies administered by a professional (gels, foams, rinses or varnishes).
Many dentists administer topical fluoride treatment to children under the age of Dentists may prescribe a special gel for daily home use for people who have a lot of cavities or a predisposition to decay, such as those who wear orthodontic appliances or have dry mouth.
- Systemic fluorides:
Fluorides are ingested into the body and incorporate into the formation of tooth structures. Because fluoride is present in saliva, which constantly moistens teeth, systemic fluorides can also provide topical protection. Fluoridation of public water supplies or dietary fluoride supplements in the form of tablets, drops, or lozenges are examples of systemic fluorides. However, keep in mind that the amount of naturally occurring and added fluoride in the water supply varies by location. Consult your child's pedodontics to determine which form is best for your child in your area.
The ADA recommends that adults and children over the age of two use fluoride toothpaste that bears the ADA Seal of Acceptance. If your child is under the age of two, consult with his or her dentist before using toothpaste. The ADA also recommends fluoride mouth rinses, but not for children under the age of six, because they may swallow the rinse.
Importance of Caries Risk Assessment
Based on your individual caries risk assessment profile, dentist can design a prevention program for you.
Caries risk assessment, which includes observing the patient's clinical appearance, considers the following factors:
- The number of carious lesions that exist)
- Fluoride poisoning
- The rate of salivary flow
- Medications are used. Some medications can contribute to cavities because they contain a lot of sugar or reduce saliva flow.
- Age. Each age group - children, adolescents, adults, and seniors - has its own set of risks.
- Income, education, and attitude toward oral health According to research, those with low incomes or lower levels of education and achievement are more likely to have severe and untreated dental decay.
- Clinical variables such as the number of teeth filled/restored or missing
- Salivary calcium levels, for example, are laboratory factors.
Other Preventive Dental Substances
Amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) as a dental treatment may aid in restoring the necessary mineral balance of calcium and phosphate - natural building blocks of teeth, in the mouth. When applied to tooth surfaces, ACP strengthens tooth enamel both before and after bleaching, and it can protect dentin after professional dental cleaning and during orthodontic treatment, thereby reducing dentin hypersensitivity. ACP is now found in toothpaste bleaching gels, and professional sealants sold in dental offices.
Many dentists also recommend xylitol, a natural sweetener derived from birch trees that has been shown in clinical studies to reduce cavities and aid in the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease.
In cooking and baking, as well as in beverages, xylitol can be used as a sugar substitute. It is also found in toothpastes, mouthwashes, chewing gum, and candies.
Why Preventative Dentistry is Important?
The goal of preventative dentistry procedures is:
- The dentist can monitor the condition of teeth and gums
People frequently believe that brushing and flossing their teeth on a daily basis is sufficient to give their teeth the luster they desire. This could not be further from the truth.
As important as brushing is for oral hygiene, patients should see a dentist who can perform a thorough examination and identify any developing conditions.
- Save money
Most people avoid going to the dentist because they want to save money. Dental appointments can be expensive. They are, however, less expensive than if the patient develops a condition that could have been avoided. Consider how much it would cost to have your teeth extracted and replaced. It less expensive to schedule a preventive dental appointment so that a dentist can diagnose your oral.
- Dentists offer advice on the best oral hygiene practices
A trip to the store to purchase oral hygiene products can be stressful. Knowing what to choose from thousands of products ranging from toothbrushes to toothpaste with multiple ingredients can be difficult. It's made worse when every product claims to provide the best results.
A preventive dental visit will provide patients with a professional who will speak with them about medically approved dental care products. Furthermore, they always provide additional information such as the proper technique for cleaning your teeth and mouth, as well as a diet to follow.
- Patients get their social life back
Bad breath, a crooked smile, and browning teeth can all have an impact on a person's social life. People with these conditions frequently have low self-esteem, which can lead to depression.
Going to the dentist is sometimes all that is required to resolve this. In no time, the patient will be free of the body image issues caused by oral health problems.
- A visit could identify life-threatening diseases
Poor oral health can lead to life-threatening conditions like heart attacks and strokes. Preventive dental exams can aid in the early detection of conditions such as oral cancer, which is treatable if caught early.
The most significant regret people always have when they receive a bleak diagnosis of a situation they could have handled easily if they had seen a professional sooner.
What type of dentist offers preventive dental care?
There are a lot of different types of dentists and dental specialties. Those that provide preventive dentistry include:
A general dentist:
Is also referred to as a family dentist. This is who patient go-to provide routine preventive care, such as teeth cleanings, exams, and X-rays. They will also perform fillings and other basic dental care. One of general dentist's primary responsibilities is to advise you on proper dental care for yourself. They can detect potential problems early on, assist you in developing healthier habits, and refer you to dental specialists if necessary.
Pediatric dentists (children's dentists):
Pediatric dentists are dentists who specialize in providing dental care to children. Most children will begin receiving dental care as soon as their first tooth appears. In many cases, a pediatric dentist will see children through their adolescence.
A pediatric dentist provides both preventive dentistry and more specialized care when necessary, such as extractions, fillings, and, in some cases, oral surgery.
What is preventive dentistry for children?
Preventive dental care can begin as soon as a child gets their first tooth.
Preventive dentistry for children can help identify problems early in your child's life, before they become worse and more expensive. Typical services include the following:
- Encourage good dental habits, such as brushing and flossing, as well as advice on thumb sucking and eating habits that improve dental health.
- Regular teeth cleanings and oral exams are recommended every 6 months.
- Fluoride administration (usually up to a certain age)
- Routine X-rays to monitor jaw and tooth development
- Athletic mouth guards that fit
- Referrals to orthodontists if teeth are crooked
- Referrals to other dental specialists as needed
- Helping identify related health issues that may impact a child’s dental health
Preventive dentistry is dental care that promotes good oral health. It's a combination of regular dental check-ups and developing good habits like brushing and flossing. Teeth care begins in childhood and continues throughout your life.