Many problems associated with dental decay and other damage to teeth can be prevented. This is unique to teeth, as teeth tend to take an incredible amount of force or wear over time before any lasting damage presents itself. This is where preventative dental care enters the picture. It can save patients many procedures and future dentist appointments while greatly increasing the overall longevity and durability of teeth.
What is Preventative Dental Care?
There are two main types of dental care: preventative and restorative.
Restorative care can be likened to how a doctor performs surgery on a patient’s heart after a heart attack has occurred. This can repair some of the damage that has been done to the patient’s body, but it may never be able to restore the patient’s body to an optimal condition. With dentistry, examples of restorative care are fillings and crowns.
Preventative care works much like the steps you take before an injury has occurred. This allows a dentist to prevent injury or, in this case, damage to the teeth before it occurs by applying certain measures that prevent it. Procedures that cover diagnosis, examination and treating teeth to harden them against decay tend to be considered preventative. The thing that separates these procedures from restorative ones is the fact that they typically do not repair any form of damage that exists.
Examples of Preventative Dental Care
The following is a short list of procedures considered preventative by most dentists:
- Dental Examinations
- Cleaning of the Teeth and Gums
- Imaging Scans
- Fluoride Treatments
- Tooth Sealant Applications
Other procedures may be considered preventative on a case-by-case basis. Items like mouth guards may be designed to prevent grinding of the teeth, which in turn could lead to extensive mechanical damage such as fracturing and tooth chipping.
The Importance of Preventing Dental Problems
The reason preventative dentistry is so important concerns the way teeth work. While restorations can restore a large amount of durability to teeth, they do fail after withstanding a certain amount of force.
This can lead to further tooth decay, damage, gum disease, tooth loss and a plethora of conditions that only worsen with each successive treatment. The only forms of restorative dentistry are lab-grown teeth, but those are still extremely complicated to make and within their initial phases of development.
Preventing problems before they appear is often the best course of action for the patient. Preventing a cavity means that there will be no filling. Any given tooth without a filling is significantly less prone to fracturing or being completely lost. Nerve damage, gum disease and other problems that often coincide with decay and tooth damage are also prevented when preventative care is properly practiced.
Preventative dental care can prevent procedures, lengthen the overall life of a tooth, and significantly increase the health of a patient’s mouth. This is why preventative dentistry is an important step that should always be paired with restorative procedures.
Dr. Jamie Elizabeth Sands, who runs her own practice, is one such dentist that takes preventative care seriously. If you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Sands will be able to assist you. By contacting Dr. Sands to set up a consultation, you are one step closer to getting the preventative care your teeth deserves and needs.