Preventive Dentistry: What It Is and Why It’s Important
Dentistry is founded on the principle of prevention. So, preventive dentistry focuses on keeping the mouth clean by controlling oral bacteria, improving gum health, and (most importantly) stopping oral issues before they arise.
For healthy patients, we recommend they visit the dentist’s office every six months for cleanings and examinations:
- Professional cleanings help remove debris and disease-causing pathogens that contribute to gum disease, cavities, and other oral health problems.
- Consistent checkups allow dentists to detect issues and take care of them immediately.
Although there are good and bad bacteria in the mouth, excessive harmful bacteria can cause oral health problems and may compromise the immune system. After you eat or drink, the bacteria in plaque can attack tooth enamel, create cavities, and damage gums. When not removed, plaque can harden into tartar (calculus deposits). Tartar accumulation poses a more complex removal challenge.
Twice daily brushing and flossing help control bacteria in the mouth, but it’s just not enough. While it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene at home, dental hygienists use specialized tools that help clean areas of the mouth that a toothbrush and floss simply cannot reach. At Live Oak Dental Group, our caring, hard-working, and experienced dental hygienists:
- Gently clean and polish the teeth
- Ask and answer questions about your at-home routine and care products
- Educate patients about caring for their teeth
- Answer any oral hygiene questions
- Document any changes in your overall wellness
For years, dental professionals have harnessed the power of ultrasound technology to blast away caked-on tartar in hard-to-reach areas to make it easier to remove. At Live Oak Dental Group, we use ultrasonic scalers to gently remove calculus deposits and produce minimal or no damage to the teeth and tooth roots.
Beyond cleaning and polishing, dental check-ups are essential for the early detection of gum disease, oral cancer, cavities, and more. After your dental hygienist cleans your teeth, one of our dentists will:
- Conduct an oral exam on the gums and teeth
- Look for signs of any oral health conditions or diseases
- May order x-rays to examine dental structures
- Recommend further treatments
Is it time to schedule your next preventive dentistry visit?
Ask yourself these questions before scheduling your next dental cleaning and exam:
- When was the last time you visited the dentist? If it’s been over six months since your last dental cleaning and exam, the time is now.
- Have you noticed any recent changes in your oral health? If your breath smells extremely bad, you can see tartar on or between your teeth, or you have noticed a receding gumline, a trip to the dentist may help.
- Do you have oral sores (ulcers) that won’t resolve themselves on their own? Unfortunately, sores that don’t heal on their own within two weeks can signify oral cancer. Immediate treatment could save your life.