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  • Writer's pictureBright Valley Dental

The Importance of Preventative Dental Care

Updated: Feb 20

If you visited the dentist as a child, you grew up knowing that preventative dental care is important. However, the reasons why it is so essential to health might have yet to be clearly explained. 

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums with preventative care helps to keep your smile beautiful. It is also vital to your overall health. Plus, preventative dental care can save you money, pain, and time spent as a result of developing avoidable oral health problems. 

What Is Preventative Dental Care? 

Preventative dental care refers to a specific type of dentistry that focuses on the prevention and mitigation of oral health problems. Preventative dentistry aims to achieve and maintain good oral health to prevent disease. It helps to preserve, strengthen, and protect a patient’s teeth and gums while keeping the patient’s body strong and healthy, too. 

Preventative dental care typically includes a combination of professional treatments and at-home oral hygiene practices. 

Common Professional Preventative Dental Treatments and Care

General and family dentists, dental technicians, and dental hygienists specialize in providing professional preventative dental care. This typically includes a combination of the following:

  • Routine Dental Examinations - During a dental exam, dentists look for early signs of oral health problems such as tooth decay, periodontal disease (gum disease), bruxism, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), or other issues. 

  • Dental X-Rays - Routine exams sometimes also include dental x-rays which are used to screen patients for signs of oral health issues that can occur inside the teeth or below the gum line. 

  • Professional Teeth Cleaning (Prophylaxis Cleaning) - Routine dental visits also include a professional teeth cleaning which involves the thorough scaling and polishing of the teeth. These treatments remove stubborn plaque and tartar that build up on the surfaces of the teeth. These cleanings help reduce the risk of periodontal disease, tooth decay, and cavities. 

  • Fluoride Treatments - Professional fluoride treatments expose the teeth to high concentrations of fluoride to help remineralize and strengthen the tooth enamel. These treatments can reverse the early stages of tooth decay, helping to prevent cavities. Additionally, fluoride can also help alleviate tooth sensitivity. 

  • Dental Sealants - Dental sealants are used to smooth out difficult-to-clean chewing surfaces of the molars and protect them from tooth decay. Sealants have been estimated to prevent 80% of cavities in children, and they are an effective preventative measure for adults, too. 

  • Oral Cancer Screening - There is no prescribed screening regimen for oral cancer. Therefore, the early detection of abnormalities that could indicate oral cancer largely falls on dental care providers. When you visit our dentist, we provide a routine screening to help patients detect abnormalities early and improve any necessary treatment outcomes. 

  • Oral Care Advice - We also provide our patients with expert advice regarding their oral hygiene and at-home care routines. We personalize our guidance and recommendations to address each patient’s age, oral health needs, and lifestyle.

The Benefits of Regular Dental Checkups

Routine dental checkups are highly beneficial. They improve both oral and general health by preventing and mitigating problems with preventative dental treatments. Additionally, they increase the likelihood of early detection, diagnosis, and treatment. 

The Importance of Early Detection and Diagnosis

Oral health problems such as cavities and advanced periodontal disease are not reversible. For this reason, detecting the earliest signs of developing oral health problems is essential to prevention and successful treatment. 

Additionally, the sooner existing problems are detected, the sooner treatment can be administered, haltering disease or decay progression. 

Early detection almost always translates to less expensive and less invasive treatments in addition to more desirable treatment outcomes. 

Tips for Maintaining Preventative Oral Health

Routine Exams and Cleanings

Visiting the dentist twice a year (or as often as you are recommended) is essential to preventing oral health problems. 

Good Oral Hygiene at Home

A large portion of preventative dental care also occurs in between professional checkups with at-home oral hygiene. Generally, patients should floss once a day and brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association

Powerful Oral Hygiene Tools

Additional at-home care recommendations might include dietary adjustments, using alcohol-free, antibacterial mouthwash, replacing a manual toothbrush with an electric toothbrush, or adding a water flosser to your routine. 

Protecting Your Teeth From Damage

If you suffer from bruxism (clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth) or participate in athletic activities, then the use of a nightguard or athletic mouthguard might be recommended to further protect your teeth. 

Protect Your Dental Health With Our Elgin Area Dentist

At Bright Valley Dental, we provide our patients with highly personalized preventative care designed to meet the individual patient’s needs and maintain a beautiful and healthy smile. To learn more about the importance of preventative dental care or to request an appointment with our dentist in Elgin, Illinois, we welcome you to contact Bright Valley Dental today. 

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