Preventative dental care is having routine services that help prolong the health of your teeth and tries to catch problems early. Some of these prevention services include cleanings, screenings, polishing and sealants. Also, a new preventative dental care technique is the laser cavity detection procedure. We’ll look at each of these prevention items and how they work in saving your teeth.

The Importance of Routine Cleanings

Dental cleanings should be done every six months to help remove plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth. While brushing and flossing at home is great, there are times when there is buildup that no brushing or flossing is going to remove. In these instances, a professional dental cleaning can help. Doing this twice a year can cut your chances of tooth and gum disease dramatically.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Your dentist can also do preventative oral cancer screenings, which are good for those who have a family history of the condition. Screenings should be done for everyone because when this type of cancer is found early it is easier to treat and hasn’t had time to spread into other areas.

Cavity Preventing Sealants

Sealants are thin coats of plastic that are painted on the tooth’s surface, especially back teeth, to help lower tooth decay. It will bond to the tooth, especially the grooves and depressions, and it will help shield the tooth from decay. While brushing is good, there are times it doesn’t get into the deep crevices, which is where sealants can help. Sealants are especially good for those ages six to fourteen, as these are what dentists term “cavity years”. Dental sealants will last up to ten years with regular check-ups for wear and tear. Replacements can be done as needed.

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride treatments are done to strengthen the tooth and help slow the growth of plaque-forming bacteria on the teeth. Fluoride is added in many public drinking water systems and there are toothpastes that add it in as well. Fluorinated water supplies can help lower tooth decay in a community by as much as 50 percent. When applied as a treatment in the dentist’s office it is either a varnish to go on the tooth or given in tablet form.

Dental Polishing

Dental polishing is where there is an air polisher put onto the surface of the tooth to rid it of calculus, stains, and plaque. It will whiten the tooth and help clean it from excess buildup, leaving it smooth and clean. It is often done before other treatments so that there is better oral health to the patient. By polishing the tooth, there is less and less plaque to harbor bacteria and other decay-causing items.

Laser Cavity Detection

DIAGNOdent laser cavity detection is one of the latest and greatest dental technology finds. Through this, they can find “hidden” cavities before they have time to destroy the tooth’s surface and cause worsening oral health. Through a Swiss study by Dr. Lussi of Berne University, there was a 90 percent success rate in finding these hidden fissures over only 57 percent by visual inspection. The DIAGNOdent laser system was more successful than even bitewing x-rays. There is a better degree of certainty that without opening up a tooth on a “maybe”. This new preventative measure is one of the most beneficial to patients, and should be looked at in part of the total diagnostic and preventative treatment package.