When it comes to taking care of your teeth, brushing and flossing are just the beginning. If you want to make sure your smile stays healthy for many years to come, you’ll want to consider preventive dentistry. As an alternative to reactive dentistry, which treats issues as they occur, preventive dentistry focuses on preventing future problems before they begin. If you’re not familiar with the world of preventive dentistry, you probably have some questions about what it is, whether it’s right for you, and where you can find a dentist who specializes in this type of treatment.
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Keep reading to learn more about why seeking preventative dental care is so important and what exactly that entails.
What is Preventative Dental Care?
Preventative dental care is exactly what it sounds like—a preventative approach to oral health care. Rather than waiting until you have a dental problem and then finding the right treatment method to solve the problem, preventative dental care aims to stop dental issues before they start. Preventative dentistry can include a variety of different treatments, including:
- Oral hygiene practices and maintenance – You know that twice a day brushing and flossing are key for healthy teeth and gums, but did you know that regular brushing can actually prevent cavities?
- Sealants – Applied to the teeth of children and adolescents as a protective barrier and to prevent tooth decay.
- Dental screenings and cleanings – Routine dental cleanings and screenings, including X-rays, can help catch and treat dental problems in the very early stages.
- Dental bonding – Dental bonding is a cosmetic procedure that uses tooth-colored composite materials to repair chipped or broken teeth.
- Dental fillings – While dental fillings have a bad reputation, they are actually a necessary treatment for many people.
Reasons Why You Should Seek Preventative Dental Care
It’s no secret that prevention is better than cure—especially when it comes to dental health. That’s why you should make preventative dental care a top priority if you want to keep your teeth healthy for the long haul. Here are three reasons why you should seek preventative dental care.
Prevention is better than cure
People often wait until they have a serious dental problem before they seek treatment. In fact, more than 40 percent of adults in the U.S. wait until they have a dental problem requiring treatment before they even see a dentist. And that’s a problem: The longer you wait to treat a dental issue, the more expensive and complicated the treatment will be. For example, you may have a cavity that’s just beginning to form beneath the surface of your tooth. If left untreated, it will spread and cause a lot of damage to your tooth. But if you catch it early enough, you may be able to plug the cavity with a filling. On the other hand, if you wait until you have a severe cavity, you may need a root canal or even a tooth extraction. Both of these treatments are more complicated and more expensive than a simple filling.
Prevent future dental problems
Another reason to seek preventative dental care is that it can help you avoid future dental issues. For example, if you have a dental condition that’s easily treated, such as gingivitis (gum disease), early detection and treatment can prevent the condition from worsening. In fact, early detection and treatment can prevent many dental problems from becoming more severe and needing more extensive treatment in the future. This is especially true for dental issues like cavities, where early detection and treatment can save your tooth from needing a root canal.
Stay healthy overall
Finally, many people don’t realize that oral health is connected to general health in a big way. In fact, oral diseases can have a negative impact on your physical and psychological health, including your overall well-being. This is because many oral diseases are caused by bacteria that enter your body through small cuts in your mouth. When the bacteria travels through your bloodstream, it can cause a number of health issues. These problems can include heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, as well as diabetes, and arthritis.
Why is Preventative Dental Care Important?
Preventative dental care can help you avoid many types of dental issues that may require treatment. This is why it’s so important to seek preventative dental care — so you can avoid more severe treatment methods and keep your teeth healthy for many years to come. As you’ve learned, preventative dental care can help you prevent future dental issues, stay healthy overall, and avoid the more expensive treatment methods that often crop up when an issue has been left untreated for too long.
When it comes to taking care of your teeth and overall oral health, there’s no better time to start than now. In fact, the best time to start this type of preventative care is as soon as you begin developing teeth. Once you’re an adult, though, it’s not too late, either. The key is to find a dentist who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your specific dental needs. This way, you can start preventing future dental issues and stay healthy overall.