Maintaining good oral health is about more than just avoiding cavities. It helps to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and even potentially serious general health conditions that can result from untreated dental diseases. Adequate preventive care can also help to keep patients’ costs low by catching potential problems before they become more severe.
What to Expect from Preventive Dentistry?
Patients shouldn’t wait until something is wrong to visit a preventive dental practice. The general purpose of preventive dental care is to stop issues like tooth decay and gum disease from coming up, to begin with, so it’s most effective when people start visiting the dentist and practicing good oral hygiene from an early age. Preventive dentistry starts in childhood and extends through the rest of patients’ lives.
Common preventive dentistry services include routine exams, professional teeth cleaning, regular X-rays, and fluoride treatments or sealant placement for children. These services are almost always covered by patients’ dental insurance plans, and even some health insurance plans cover preventive dental care. The best part is, family and general dentists all have the right expertise to provide restorative services along with preventive care, so if any issues do come up during an exam, patients will be able to get help from a dental practice they already know and trust.
Prevent the Need for More Expensive Procedures
Dental surgeries, such as root canals, tooth extractions, and implant procedures can all be quite expensive, and they’re not always covered by insurance. Most dental surgeries are corrective or restorative in nature, meaning that their purpose is to address a problem that has already occurred such as severe tooth decay or periodontal disease. Following preventive dentistry best practices can help patients avoid the need for surgery, though most dentists do have trained dental surgeons and periodontists on staff to meet the need for surgical intervention as required.
Types of Dental Surgeries
Preventive care can reduce patients’ chances of needing most types of dental surgery. However, some times of corrective dental surgery are unrelated to patients’ oral hygiene. Surgeries that treat conditions like TMJ and sleep apnea may be unavoidable, but patients can reduce their chances of facing procedures like soft and hard tissue grafts, tooth extractions, and dental implant placements.
A Patient’s Role in Preventive Care
Dentists can only do so much to prevent oral health issues. Patients also need to do their part by brushing twice daily, flossing at least once a day, and avoiding excessively sugary foods. Patients should also be careful when eating hard foods and those that contain seeds, pits, or bones, as they can wind up damaging otherwise healthy teeth, and no one should smoke tobacco, which can lead to not just mouth cancer but also other serious oral health issues.
At-home care isn’t enough to maintain optimal dental health. People also need to visit their dentists at least twice a year for routine cleanings and exams.
The Bottom Line
As with most things in life, when it comes to oral health problems, prevention is the best cure. Find a family dentist that specializes in providing excellent preventive care and make sure to practice good oral hygiene habits from childhood all the way through old age.