Preventative dental care services help to reduce the chance that you'll develop gum disease or cavities in your teeth, which helps to prevent you from losing teeth or requiring more expensive procedures like a root canal. Dentists have access to a variety of procedures that can help strengthen your enamel, remove bacteria, and protect your teeth. To learn more about preventative dental care services commonly offered by dentists and how they work, read on.
One of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of developing cavities and gum disease is to have your teeth cleaned by a hygienist at your dentist's office at least twice a year. Professional teeth cleaning involves using a dental scaler to remove the built-up tartar that accumulates on your teeth, and this tartar cannot be removed through brushing your teeth alone.
Tartar is created by bacteria in your mouth, and it provides a place for bacteria to hide. It's typically found close to your gums, and the bacteria there can increase your risk of developing gum disease along with cavities on the affected teeth. Having the built-up tartar removed also helps improve the appearance of your teeth since tartar discolors the surface of the tooth it's on.
Another way that a dentist can help reduce your risk of developing cavities is to apply a fluoride treatment to your teeth. Fluoride binds with the enamel in your teeth and strengthens it. Cavities occur when plaque-causing bacteria eats away at the enamel in your teeth, so having stronger enamel will reduce the chance of cavities forming on your teeth. During a fluoride treatment, your dentist will apply a paste to your teeth that contains a very high concentration of fluoride, and the paste will be left on your teeth while it strengthens your enamel. Afterward, you rinse your mouth in order to remove the paste.
It's usually most convenient to undergo a fluoride treatment while you're having your teeth cleaned twice a year. However, your dentist may recommend more frequent treatments if you're at a higher risk of developing cavities, such as if you smoke.
Dental sealants are another tool that a dentist can use to reduce your risk of developing cavities. The dental sealant is applied to your teeth with a swab, and then ultraviolet light is used to harden the sealant and cause it to bind with your enamel. The sealant provides a barrier on the surface of the tooth that prevents bacteria from touching the enamel, reducing the risk that they'll be able to cause cavities. It's usually applied to the molars in the back of your mouth since these teeth can be hard to brush and their pitted shape can harbor food particles or bacteria.
Dental sealant is capable of remaining effective for up to a decade, but they'll need to be inspected every time you have your teeth cleaned. If you chip or crack the sealant, you'll need to have it removed and replaced in order to continue protecting your tooth.
Ultimately, the purpose of the procedures listed above is to reduce the risk that you'll develop cavities and gum disease, which helps you avoid the need for a filling or a root canal. Preventative dental care services are inexpensive, so it's worth undergoing them regularly — preventing a root canal can save you quite a bit of money in the long run. In addition, reducing the likelihood that you'll develop gum disease will make it less likely that you'll lose any of your teeth. Tooth loss is often due to advanced gum disease that attacks your jawbone, resulting in your teeth becoming loose. If you're not receiving regular preventative dental care services, it's a good idea to contact a dentist in your area and schedule an appointment — they'll help protect your oral health.