What is preventative care?
Preventative care usually consists of regular appointments to the dentist (twice a year) and maintaining good oral habits at home.
Maintaining your teeth to the optimal capacity is a two-way street. It is important for you to brush and clean your teeth at home to the best of your ability and also having routine examinations at the dental clinic.
It is impossible to clean your teeth 100%, when plaque (soft bacteria that forms over our teeth naturally) is not removed, the saliva in our mouth causes it to harden into calculus. Calculus looks and feels like a rock that is attached to your tooth, over time you will get used to that calculus being their without noticing that it is not your tooth. Calculus cannot be brushed off with a toothbrush. It needs to be professionally removed by a dental clinician. If you leave calculus on your teeth, it can cause gingivitis (inflammation in your gums), which may include; bleeding gums, sore gums and puffy swollen gums.
Another reason routine appointments are important is to check for any changes in your teeth or the soft tissues in your mouth. Dental appointments check for cavities (holes) in your teeth so that an early intervention can be placed instead of invasive treatments such as extractions and root canal treatment.
What can happen if I don't visit the dentist regularly?
Routine dental appointments help to prevent diseases from getting worse and addressing problems at it's early stages to minimise treatment and costs. During a dental examination we check:
oral cancer screening
the health of your gums (checking for gum disease)
check for cavities/holes in your teeth (tooth decay)
check any old fillings that may require replacement
When you don't visit the dentist routinely (once-twice a year), tooth decay and gum disease and can progress rapidly during that time and treatments can become more expensive and complicated.
Examples of preventative care
1. Fissure sealants are placed in deep grooves of teeth to help create a smooth crevice so that plaque and food doesn't get trapped in the groove preventing tooth decay (holes/cavities)
2. Regular cleans at the dentist help to reduce risk for periodontal disease (gum disease)
3. Routine x-rays (every two years) taken can help to detect early stages of tooth decay to prevent the hole from getting larger over time. If you have tooth decay and it reaches the nerve of your tooth, it may become infected and treatment at this stage would be extraction or root canal treatment. Early intervention helps to minimise the cavity size. Smaller fillings last longer than larger ones and are less expensive.