Diagnostic and Preventive Dentistry
The Goal of Diagnostic & Preventive Dentistry
The benefits of this form of dentistry are numerous, and patients of all ages can realize its goal: keeping gum disease, sensitivity, cavities and other common conditions at bay. If early signs of cavities and gum disease can be reversed, then patients can look forward to a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Taking care of your teeth means more than brushing and flossing. For complete care, it’s important to visit a dentist every six months for a regular checkup and professional cleaning. The first step in this process is to find a dentist with whom you feel comfortable, and then schedule an appointment.
What To Expect During a Dental Visit
On your first visit, your dentist will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell your dentist. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist.
- A Thorough Cleaning – a dental hygienist or dentist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Then he or she will polish and floss your teeth.
- A Full Dental Examination – your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems.
- X-Rays – X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth.
Treatment for Children
In children, preventive dentistry is very important. Everyone should know early exams and cleanings (before bacteria builds up) can ensure a lifetime of dental health. After getting your kids’ teeth cleaned, reinforcing the dentist’s work with fluoride varnish prescriptions can help make the teeth of any patient more resistant to decay.
Sealants are another preventive measure for which your kids may be eligible, according to the ADA. As young children’s permanent molars erupt between the ages of six and 12, dental sealants are applied to the top surfaces to prevent decay from occurring in the grooves naturally found in these back teeth.
As children continue to grow, they may need to undergo orthodontics (braces), wherein they wear brackets and wires surrounding most of the teeth to prevent misalignment as the jaw matures into adulthood. Home fluoride rinse can help make sure cavities don’t set in around the brackets glued to the teeth during treatment.
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