Preventive dental treatments are procedures that aim to prevent or reduce the risk of oral diseases, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Preventive dental treatments can help you maintain a healthy smile, avoid pain and discomfort, and save money on future dental expenses.
Here are some of the preventive dental treatments that your dentist may offer.
These are regular visits to your dentist where they examine your teeth, gums, and mouth for any signs of problems. Dental check-ups can help detect and treat issues early before they become more serious and costly.
During these visits, your dentist may also perform a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums, which can cause cavities and gum inflammation. Dental check-ups are recommended at least once every six months, or more often if you have specific risk factors or conditions.
Sealants are coatings made of thin plastic. The dentist applies them to the chewing surfaces of your molars, or back teeth, to protect them from decay. Dental sealants create a barrier that prevents food and bacteria from getting into the grooves and pits of your teeth, where brushing and flossing may not reach. Sealants are usually applied to children's permanent teeth as soon as they erupt, but they can also benefit adults who are prone to decay.
Fluoride treatments are topical applications of fluoride, a mineral that strengthens the enamel of your teeth and makes them more resistant to decay. Although you may treat your teeth with fluoride at home using fluoride products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, or gel, the treatment that your dentist offers will contain a much higher concentration of the mineral. Fluoride treatments can help prevent cavities, especially in children who have developing teeth.
X-rays are images that show the inside of your teeth and bones, where problems may not be visible to the naked eye. Dental X-rays can help your dentist diagnose and treat conditions such as tooth decay, abscesses, infections, bone loss, cysts, tumors, and impacted teeth. The X-rays are usually taken once a year or as needed depending on your dental history and risk factors.
Oral Cancer Screening
Your dentist screens for oral cancer by examining your mouth, lips, tongue, cheeks, throat, and neck for any signs of abnormal tissue or lesions that could indicate oral cancer. Oral cancer screening can help detect cancer early when it is easier to treat and cure.
The screening is usually done during your dental check-up or as a separate appointment if you have symptoms or risk factors such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption, HPV infection, sun exposure, or family history.
To learn more about the preventive treatments that dentists offer, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.