Prevention is always better than cure! Preventative dental measures help to avoid serious and costly dental problems and treatment. Prevention is the secret to ensure a brilliant smile!
Preventing dental disease starts at home by practicing good oral hygiene and following a healthy balanced diet. Prevention of dental disease is taken further in the dental surgery by your dentist and oral hygienist by promoting, restoring, and maintaining your oral health.
Prevention also includes regular dental examinations, cleanings, and x-
A preventive program is a combined effort by the patient, dentist, and dental staff to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions.
A comprehensive dental examination will be performed by your dentist during your first dental visit. During regular check-
Evaluate teeth for tooth decay: All tooth surfaces are checked for decay using the appropriate dental instruments.
Examination of existing restorations: All current fillings, crowns, dentures etc. are checked to see if the restorations are still satisfactory.
Diagnostic dental x-
Evaluation for gum disease: The gums and bone around the teeth are checked for any signs of periodontal disease.
General screening: The face, neck, lips, tongue, throat and gums are checked for any abnormalities, growths, tumors or any signs of disease.
Cleanings, Scaling & Polishing
Professional dental cleanings, often called scaling and polishing are performed either by a dentist or by an oral hygienist. Scaling and polishing includes:
Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is calcified (hardened) plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line, cannot be brushed off and must be removed either with special dental hand instruments or with a mechanical scaling instrument.
Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible, whitish to brown deposit that forms on the teeth. Plaque is a growing colony of living bacteria, food particles and saliva. Bacteria (germs) in plaque produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums and acids that attack and soften tooth enamel. This is how gum disease and dental decay starts!
Polishing of teeth: Polishing is done to remove stains and the last traces of plaque that remain even after scaling. Polishing also leaves the teeth nice and smooth and the mouth tasting clean and fresh!.
Dental abscesses or cysts.
Disease inside a tooth or below the gum line not visible to the naked eye.
Decay below the surface of the tooth or between teeth.
Loss of bone surrounding the teeth.
Tumors. These can be cancerous as well as non-
Incorrect tooth and root positions.
Patients are often concerned about their safety when dental x-
When are dental x-
The need for dental x-
A full mouth series of dental x-
Sealants are also referred to as pit and fissure sealants. Sealants is a thin, resin (plastic) coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth.
Dental decay most often begins in deep pits and fissures since these are difficult to clean, plaque easily clings to these areas and they are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing these deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.
Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits. Sealants should be renewed when needed.
How are sealants applied?
Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or oral hygienist. The whole process takes only a few minutes per tooth.
The teeth to be sealed are cleaned and dried. A weak acid solution is applied to the enamel surface to etch the teeth and to help the sealant bond to the teeth. After the teeth are rinsed and dried the sealant material is carefully painted or flowed onto the enamel surface to cover the deep pits and fissures. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically within a few minutes or will be cured with a special dental curing light.
Fluoride is most effective in preventing tooth decay. Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and in water supplies. The benefits of fluoride are well known and the use of fluoride as a preventative measure is advocated by numerous health and professional organizations.
How fluoride works
Fluoride can reach and strengthen teeth in one of two ways:
Topical fluoride. Such as in fluoride containing toothpastes, mouth rinses or gels. Topical fluoride strengthens teeth once they have appeared in the mouth by making the outer surface of tooth enamel harder and more resistant to decay. When needed, dentists and oral hygienists will apply topical fluoride gels to teeth during regular dental visits.
Systemic fluoride. Systemic fluoride reaches teeth from most foods and from drinking water. Systemic fluoride can also be taken as a dietary supplement in drop or gel form and will be prescribed by your dentist when needed. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years.
It is very important not to give supplementary fluoride to children without consulting a dentist. It is equally important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.
Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth, while they are developing inside the gums, by hardening tooth enamel and making it more resistant to decay.
Most people receive sufficient fluoride from food and water. However, in special cases this is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or oral hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.
Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
Inadequate exposure to fluorides.
Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.
Recent history of dental decay.
Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.
Personal home care plays a vital part in maintaining dental health and a bright smile! Personal home care includes eating healthy balanced meals, limiting the eating of snacks, and correctly brushing and flossing to control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
How to brush
Brush at least twice a day. Remember that brushing before going to bed at night is most important! The flow of saliva decreases during sleep and creates favourable conditions for bacteria to multiply and play havoc with your teeth and gums. (This is the very reason why we wake up in the morning with a dry, foul tasting mouth and night breath). Brushing before bedtime denies bacteria the food particles they feed on during the night.
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a fluoride containing toothpaste.
Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you feel the bristles on the gums.
Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
Make sure that you don’t skip any teeth.
Brush the surface of your tongue. This will remove bacteria and will freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are easy to use and very effective in removing plaque. The use of electric brushes are recommended and your dentist or oral hygienist will be able to demonstrate the correct use of these brushes.
How to floss
Flossing is the only way to clean between teeth and under the gumline. Flossing clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque from building up and prevents damage to the gums, teeth, and bone. Floss at least once a day, preferably before bedtime!
Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down and with a sawing motion, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders can be used if you have difficulty using regular floss. Superfloss is used to clean under fixed bridges and beneath and around orthodontic braces. Ask your dentist or oral hygienist to demonstrate!
Rinse your mouth with water after brushing and/or flossing. This will help to remove remaining particles of food and plaque, loosened by brushing and flossing. If you are unable to brush after meals, rinse your mouth properly with water or a mouthwash to remove as much as possible of remaining food particles.