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General Dentistry & Preventative Dentistry

by James Adkins, DDS 

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What is preventive dentistry?

Preventive dentistry includes all the procedures and treatments that are used to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems, including routine cleanings, x-rays, gum disease treatments, fluoride treatments, dental sealants and oral cancer screenings. Preventive dentistry plays an essential role in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums and avoiding serious damage like decay and tooth loss.

What happens during a dental cleaning?

Cleanings are an important part of both preventive and general dentistry, relying on special instruments and techniques to remove harmful bacteria, plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces and gum line so teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible. As your teeth are being cleaned, the hygienist will look for areas where plaque and tartar have built up to provide you with important guidance that can help ensure you're brushing and flossing properly so you can do your part to avoid gum disease and decay. You may also be provided with a fluoride rinse and x-rays may be taken to see inside your tooth structure and to evaluate your jaws and other structures. Plus, your cleaning is the ideal opportunity for the hygienist to look for signs of gum disease so it can be treated as early as possible.

What can I do to prevent tooth decay and gum disease?

Seeing the dentist twice a year is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy and to have relatively minor issues treated before they can grow into big problems. It's also important to brush and floss at least twice each day, in the morning and before bed, and ideally after meals as well. You should also avoid sticky, sugary snacks which provide a perfect food source for harmful bacteria, and wear a sports guard when participating in activities where impact to the mouth and teeth is a possibility.

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