In the Carrollton dental office of Dr. Shahnaz Babaloui, we repair a lot of teeth. Some dental restorations are minor, and some are quite extensive. A question we often hear from patients who require extensive dental restorations is “I brush and floss every day. How did this happen to my teeth?” The answer, of course, varies from patient to patient, but there is always one very important, often overlooked element to prevention of major dental problems. That factor is regular dental care. Preventive dentistry is the single most important factor in maintaining good dental health and preventing the need for extensive dental restorations. Brushing and flossing is not enough for most dental patients.
All Teeth Are Prone To Decay
The shape of your teeth can play a role in developing tooth decay. Teeth are shaped for biting, tearing and chewing. Grooves in your teeth, tiny cracks and narrow tooth grooves make perfect hideouts for decay causing bacteria. Teeth that are crooked or overlap can be difficult to keep clean, also providing the perfect place for tooth decay to develop. Bacteria break down tooth enamel and tooth decay starts very small. Most of the time, tooth decay is not even noticeable until it becomes visible with the eye. By that time, it may be advanced to the point of requiring a dental filling or a crown. The goal in preventive dentistry is to prevent tooth decay and gum disease from forming in the first place and to detect tiny problem areas before they advance into advanced tooth decay. In order to accomplish this goal, regular dental check -ups are an absolute necessity.
Steps to Preventive Dentistry
In order to effectively prevent tooth decay and gum disease, Dr. Babaloui recommends that her patients follow these steps:
Practice good oral hygiene habits including brushing and flossing daily.Avoid foods that promote tooth decay.
See your dentist and dental hygienist for regular dental check-ups and dental cleanings every 4-6 months.
Follow the recommendations and instructions provided by your dental professional in order to maintain a healthy mouth
Don’t postpone needed treatment
Fluoride treatments are an important part of prevention for patients whose teeth are prone to decay. At-home fluoride treatments can be used to deliver important minerals to the surface of your teeth which can help prevent tooth decay. You can find fluoride in dental hygiene products like toothpaste and mouthwash. Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when choosing an at-home fluoride product. Dr. Babaloui may recommend more concentrated fluoride treatments to be done in the office or at home, using special fluoride trays designed to deliver fluoride right to the surface of your teeth. Higher concentrations of fluoride can help prevent cavities in teeth which have tiny cracks or porous enamel, making them more prone to decay. Ask Dr. B if professional fluoride applications are right for you.
Dental sealants can be an important component to the prevention of tooth decay, especially in children. Because cavities usually begin in the narrow grooves in permanent teeth, eliminating the grooves using a plasticized sealant can be an effective form of cavity prevention. Children should have sealants placed upon the arrival of the permanent molars and premolars. Even adults can have sealants placed in healthy teeth. You can expect dental sealants to last for 3-5 years. Because they are only effective when intact, sealants should be replaced about every 5 years if they show signs of lifting or loosening.
Preventive dentistry goes a long way toward prevention of cavities. Effectively preventing dental problems through good oral hygiene and high-tech preventive dentistry saves you time and money. To get started on the path to good oral health and dental hygiene, contact our treatment coordinator to schedule your dental check-up today!