What Does Preventive Dentistry Do?
Our dental team will first check your teeth and gums, and talk to you about any treatment you need. The main aim is to help you get your mouth really healthy. In a healthy mouth it is unlikely that decay or gum disease will continue to be a problem.
• Our dental team will thoroughly remove all plaque and tartar from your teeth. This is often called a ‘scale and polish’.
• Fluoride application- A topical fluoride treatment is applied after you received a professional cleaning. Usually a fluoride gel or foam is placed in mouth shaped trays (affectionately known as duck trays) and inserted into the mouth for the teeth to “soak” in for a few minutes. Fluoride can re-mineralize small imperfections in the tooth enamel by attracting calcium to the teeth. Fluoride can actually make teeth stronger! Years of research and use have proven fluoride to be a safe and effective means of fighting and preventing tooth decay.
• Our dental team will show you the best ways to brush, and how to clean in between your teeth using interdental brushes or floss, to remove the bacterial ‘plaque’ which forms constantly on your teeth. When you eat or drink something sugary, the bacteria in the plaque turn the sugar into acid, which may cause tooth decay. Plaque can also cause gum inflammation (swelling and soreness) if it is not regularly and thoroughly removed. The hard tartar (or ‘calculus’) which builds up on the teeth also starts off as plaque.
What else can the dentist and hygienist do to help prevent tooth decay?
Fluoride helps teeth resist decay. Your dental team will recommend the right level of fluoride for you to use in your toothpaste. Fluoride varnishes may be recommended for children to help prevent decay. If you are particularly at risk of decay your dental team may recommend or prescribe a high-strength fluoride toothpaste.
What are pit and fissure sealants?
The biting surfaces of teeth can be protected by applying ‘sealants’. These make the tooth surface smoother and easier to clean, and prevent decay starting in the difficult-to-clean areas. Your dental team will suggest whether this would be right for you.