You’re probably familiar with the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
This is especially true when it comes to preventive dental care, which can keep your teeth healthy and prevent the need for more extensive, expensive treatment that may be required if you wait until you’re in pain to see the dentist.
Delta Dental conducted the Preventive Dental Care Study in 2013, the largest claims study of its kind, and found that many Americans who have a higher risk for tooth decay or gum disease don’t receive proper preventive dental care.
More than 25 percent of children ages 18 and younger are at higher risk for tooth decay. Of those children, more than 65 percent don’t receive two fluoride treatments per year, more than 68 percent of 6- to 9-year-olds don’t have dental sealants on their first molars, and more than 86 percent of children between ages 10 and 14 don’t have dental sealants on their second molars.
It’s important for children to establish habits early to increase their likelihood of experiencing a lifetime of good oral health.
What are the consequences of failing to maintain regular dental checkups and teeth cleaning appointments? Often, it’s tooth decay, gum disease and eventual tooth loss. Tooth loss can result in bone loss. The more effort you put into preventing these problems or addressing them in their earliest stages, the greater your chances of keeping your teeth for life.
Here’s what to expect at your preventive dental appointments:
- Members of our dental staff take X-rays to see beyond what is visible to the naked eye, such as small cavities. They also assess your teeth and gums, and discuss treatment options to address any dental problems.
- One of our dental hygienists will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth.
- We will offer tips and instructions on brushing and flossing techniques so you can maintain stellar home care between appointments.
- We will counsel you on diet and habits (such as alcohol use and smoking) that may leave you more susceptible to gum inflammation and tooth decay.
- We will offer recommendations on types of oral care products that will best meet your needs.
- The dentist will inspect your fillings or other dental restorations to ensure they are in good shape.
- We may recommend additional preventive measures such as dental sealants for children, and fluoride treatments for children and adults.
Everyone should have a comprehensive dental exam and professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year. Patients who have periodontal disease may require more frequent cleanings to keep the disease under control.