What is preventive dentistry?
Preventive dentistry is a field of dentistry that deals with educating patients and raising awareness regarding the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene to keep infections and diseases at bay. Preventive dentistry can be practiced at the dental office, as well as at home with the right instructions and guidelines.
What are some of prominent features of preventive dentistry?
Preventive dentistry performed by professionals at dental offices and hospitals includes:
- Dental Cleaning or Ultrasonic Scaling: Professional dental cleaning, which is also known as Scaling is a procedure whereby calculus, plaque, accumulated food debris and bacteria are removed from around the teeth and below the gums with the help of a vibrating hand-held Scaler fitted with a sharp tip. The treatment is painless and thoroughly cleans the teeth in a way that brushing and flossing alone cannot. Scaling once in 4-6 months can help prevent cavities, bacterial infections and periodontal diseases.
- Dental Exams: During routine checkups, dentists perform a general exam or evaluation of the hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity. This is done with the help of a mouth mirror and a probe. These examination instruments are used to check every part of the mouth for any unusual changes, such as carious lesions, change in the texture, tone or color of the soft tissues, swellings, symptoms of oral cancers etc. The process is painless and in case of any suspicious changes, is generally followed by radiographs.
- Dental X-Rays: Dental X-rays play a critical role in diagnosing a condition and making a treatment plan accordingly. X-rays allow the dentists to see what remains hidden from the naked eye, especially structures underneath the gum. Some conditions that are diagnosed with the help of radiographs in dentistry include pulpitis, caries, impactions, root fractures, cysts, abscess, bone resorption, tumors etc.
- Periodontal Exam: Contrary to the popular misconception, it is more important to care for the gums than the teeth. This is because it is the gums that firmly hold each tooth in its socket and compromised periodontal health can lead to root exposure, mobility and even early loss of teeth. In order to maintain excellent periodontal health, it is important to visit the dental clinic for routinely checkups, and cleaning at least twice a year.
- Fluoride Therapy: Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that holds immense importance and value in oral healthcare. Fluoride rinses and topical fluoride applications can help strengthen the teeth, and prevent bacterial infections.
- Oral Cancer Screening: Oral cancer screening is performed by dentists using a variety of examination instruments and screening methods. Cancer screening is performed to detect any changes in the texture or color of the soft mucosa, such as white or red lesions. The sooner a cancerous lesion is detected, the better the prognosis.
Dr Michael Butcher and his team focus on educating patients regarding proper brushing techniques, the right way to maintain proper oral hygiene daily at home, and the importance of visiting the dental clinic for routinely checkups. Detecting any problem, whether it is medical or dental, during its initial phases is always better in terms of prognosis. Book an appointment at South Austin Dental to have all your questions regarding oral hygiene addressed by some of the most experienced professionals in the field today!