When you want good teeth care, you not only want to look for qualified dentists, but you also should look for those dentists who can help prevent dental problems in the first place. This type of practice will enable you to keep your teeth in tiptop shape and do it with lower costs. Preventative dental service can help protect the teeth and gums of your whole family.
Many people today are suffering from dental problems. Ranging from cavities to gum disease, dental problems are slowly taking a toll on America’s teeth. People are often in pain because of sensitive teeth, untreated cavities, missing teeth, and periodontitis. Periodontitis (serious gum disease) continues to be the major reason why adults are losing their teeth – and almost 50 percent of them have it.
Preventive dentistry employs personal and professional measures designed to help prevent these dental problems and enable your teeth to last a lifetime. When your teeth and gums are in good shape, it will help you to have good overall health, too.
Making regular dental visits about every six months enables a dentist to keep an eye on problems as they occur in your mouth. They will be seen in the early stages and corrected when they are still small. When neglected, dental problems will only get bigger and become more expensive to treat.
Getting treated early will help to keep your dental costs lower. Dental insurance plans often provide free dental visits each year to help you get preventive dentistry. Letting a dental problem go untreated, such as a cavity, could result in costly solutions. It can end up requiring a root canal and a dental crown, or, if decayed enough, you may need an extraction. Once a tooth is extracted, you will either need a dental bridge or a dental implant to replace it to restore your smile.
If you are someone who may be likely to have more dental issues than other people, the dentist can help control any dental problems that may appear. This helps minimize problems and costs and helps you keep your teeth longer.
The dentist is also likely to see problems developing before you do. They have the training and expertise. One very serious problem that may appear in some people is oral cancer. This disease is fast-growing and often fatal. It is painless in the early stages but it is most often spotted by the dentist rather than other medical professionals. Catching it early helps raise the survival rate.
A healthy mouth and healthy teeth go together. If your teeth and gums have problems, it will also affect your body in some ways. It also works both ways, because several diseases and health issues can be spotted in the mouth before anywhere else.
When your gums are not healthy because of periodontal disease, it will drastically affect your body negatively. Not only will this disease affect your gums and teeth, but it also affects your body in many ways. Everywhere the bacteria go in your body it will cause inflammation, which will lead to build-ups in your bloodstream and organs.
The buildups caused by the resulting inflammation leads to accumulations along the walls of your arteries and blood vessels. They can break off and cause many including cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, cancer, infertility, ED, rheumatoid arthritis, and many more.
People that have a mental illness or a lot of stress are less likely to take good care of their teeth. This means that they will be more prone to cavities and gum disease, which will ultimately result in tooth loss.
Another problem is that people with both conditions are more likely to drink alcohol and smoke. These habits make dental problems more severe and help to promote gum disease. The nicotine in tobacco reduces the flow of blood in your gums, which cuts down on the oxygen and nutrition that your gums need to fight off gum disease.
Dry mouth is another problem often faced by people with mental conditions or stress. It can be caused because of medications, smoking, or tobacco. Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a problem because your saliva naturally helps to keep the bacteria and acid away from your teeth and gums. This bacterium produces acid when you consume sugar and it is the cause of cavities and gum disease.
Gum disease is also promoted by those conditions caused by a lack of nutrition. This occurs with anorexia nervosa and dry mouth is promoted by bulimia.
A long-term lack of personal dental care could result in oral cancer. This is known to be one of the factors. Since these individuals are also less likely to get regular dental care, it means that if they get oral cancer that it will not be identified in time.
Some people have stress or phobias about going to the dentist. This keeps them away and they will often only go to the dentist when the pain becomes unbearable. Various anesthetic options such as sleep dentistry can enable them to get the dental care and preventive dental care necessary to have better health.
Stress, in general, causes an increase in cortisol production. This weakens your immune system and the more cortisol you produce, the weaker it becomes. Anxiety may also cause teeth-grinding (bruxism), and the more stress you have the more you will grind your teeth – which can wear them down and cause them to chip or crack.
Patients who are afraid of going to the dentist do not have any reason to fear dental cleaning. Getting regular preventive dental treatment is a key part of keeping your teeth in good shape.
Dental cleanings do not require any anesthesia. Although dental tools are used to remove plaque, tartar, and stains, there is no pain associated with the process.
If you have fear that will not let you relax, dentists can provide you with various types of anesthesia. On the light end, dentists can provide you with a numbing topical cream. Other types of anesthesia range from mild (nitrous oxide) to heavy-duty (called sleep dentistry and twilight dentistry). The medium and stronger types of anesthesia will also help you not even to remember the procedure. Oftentimes, after fearful patients have a successful treatment without pain (or memory of it), they lose the fear and can proceed to get other needed dental treatments.
While some things you should do before a dental cleaning may seem to make sense, some steps may not be intuitive. These steps include:
It is not a problem, but not brushing will let the dentist see where food particles accumulate between your teeth. This will reveal areas that need to be more carefully checked for cavities and that you need to improve on in your personal dental care.
The chemicals used in teeth whitening can make your teeth sensitive. Although it will not last long, you want your teeth to feel natural when getting teeth cleaning. This way, you can tell the dentist what teeth hurt or are sensitive and which ones are sound. Part of the purpose of teeth cleaning is so that the dentist can inform you of areas you miss when brushing and flossing your teeth.
While some people are going to go to an appointment just because it has been set up, it is not a good idea when getting a dental cleaning. Because a dental cleaning means removing tartar beneath your gums, it can permit bacteria to get into them and from there into your bloodstream. If you are not healthy, or immunocompromised, it can result in a serious infection called bacteremia. Healthy people do not usually have a problem with it.
A dental cleaning will usually involve five or six different steps. They include:
Before doing any dental cleaning, the dental hygienist will take a thorough look around your mouth. A mirror will be used to look for oral problems such as cavities, gum disease, sores, and other problems. If a problem is suspected, the dentist will be called.
After the oral inspection, the dental hygienist will start to remove any plaque or tartar on your teeth. While the plaque can be easily removed, a special tool called a scaler will be needed to remove the tartar. Tartar (hardened plaque) will develop above and below the gum line and it can lead to gum disease if not removed.
The next step the dental hygienist will take is to use a high-powered brush to remove the remaining tartar and remove stains. This will polish your teeth and make them smooth.
Now that the surfaces of your teeth have been cleaned, it is time to get in between them. The hygienist will now floss your teeth the way they should be flossed. Although you may do this yourself regularly, you can be sure that this step will be a thorough job.
When the flossing is finished, you will rinse your mouth to remove any remaining food, tartar, or other debris.
The final step in a dental cleaning is to give you a fluoride treatment. This step is very valuable for extended cavity prevention and to prevent toothaches. The liquid or gel is placed in a mouthpiece. It will fit over your teeth and remain in place for one minute. You may also have fluoride varnish painted on your teeth. The varnish will harden as soon as it comes in contact with your saliva.
After the teeth cleaning has been completed, your teeth will feel much cleaner. They may also be a little bit sensitive. This may last about a week.
Before you leave the office, the dentist will ask you to make an appointment about six months later. Regular appointments are needed for the best preventive dental care. It helps keep your teeth free of plaque and tartar and lets the dentist spot problems as they start to develop.
The dentist will tell you to continue with your regular dental care, such as brushing twice a day and flossing. You may also want to use toothpaste for sensitive teeth if you have this problem.
Avoid hard foods such as hard candies and ice. Foods that are chewy can become caught between your teeth and can cause pain.
If you were given a fluoride treatment, it is best to wait about 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything. This enables your teeth to get the maximum benefit of the fluoride by being able to absorb more of it. Acidic foods and drinks (sodas and fruit juices) may wear it away at a faster rate than non-acidic ones.
Getting preventive dental procedures for yourself and the family will help each one to keep their smile longer. Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist, provides preventative dental service and dental cleaning in his Champion Dental office in Farmers Branch, TX. Most dental insurance plans are accepted. To set up a consultation or to get more information about preventive dentistry, you can contact his office at (214) 747-0763.