Preventive Dentistry is concerned with maintenance of normal health and function by fortifying or strengthening the structures of oral cavity against damage and disease. It is a means by which you need to have less dental treatment. Preventive Dental Interventions Reduces Disease Burden and Save Money.
Preventive dental care includes all things you do or you should do to take care of your teeth and gums.
HOME CARE METHODS
- Tooth brushing twice daily
- Dental Flossing
- Rinsing after meals
- Avoiding sticky food or else rinsing after eating
- Topical fluoride application
- Pit and fissure sealant
- Space maintainers
- Habit breaking appliances
- Scaling and polishing
Routine dental checkups twice a year can provide the professional preventive dental care. This includes:
TOPICAL FLUORIDE APPLICATION
Topical fluoride application is a treatment for prevention against caries. All fluoridation methods provide low concentrations of fluoride ions in saliva. This fluoride in contact with teeth strengthens the surface by the formation of fluorapatite via remineralization of enamel. Fluoride combats the decay primarily by reducing the rate of tooth enamel demineralization, and increasing the rate of remineralization of the early stages of cavities. Various sources of fluoride include water fluoridation, toothpastes , mouthwashes, gels , varnishes , dietary supplements.
Fluoride varnishes and gels are popular modes of fluoride application. Children below 6 years of age strictly require fluoride application as in this period children do not brush properly and eat lots of sticky food. It is also indicated for all those adults, who have recently gone through the phase of dental caries and filling.
Method of application is very easy and the entire procedure can be completed in 5 minutes and is usually repeated in 3-6 months which vary according to the patient caries index.
PIT AND FISSURE SEALANTS
Dental caries is a very common problems experienced by most of the person in some or the other phase of life. It most commonly affects the occlusal surface (eating surface) or buccal and lingual surface (outer and inner surface) of the tooth. Our normal tooth anatomy consists of pits and fissures over the tooth surface, but it needs to be treated in cases where they are deep and may later on leads to food lodgments and gradually dental caries.
Being a method to prevent caries initiation, Pit and fissure sealants available as thin flowable resin based cements. These sealants can very well seal off the caries susceptible pits and fissure areas of the tooth.
It can be done at any age and just require 10-15 minutes for a single tooth. Child with erupting teeth should be monitored at regular interval of time by dentist and at any stage if any deep pits or fissure is detected it should be restored at that time only. Similarly in adults proper evaluation and intervention with pit and fissure sealant can decrease the incidence of caries.
It may sometime happen that the child may lose milk tooth prematurely due to disease or trauma. In those cases, it is always recommended that the space created by the tooth loss should be maintained for the preceeding permanent tooth uptil the time of its eruption. In case the space is not maintained then the adjacent tooth may drift into the space. This leads to decrease in space required for the permanent tooth to erupt and may result in crowding of teeth. So in these situations, space maintainers appliances are advised which maintains the space for the erupting permanent tooth and may prevent the orthodontic treatment in later stages.
Space maintainers are metal or acrylic appliances which are custom made for specific child mouth. They are made to fit in the space created by the premature loss of deciduous tooth until the permanent tooth erupts in that space.
Space maintainers are removable or fixed appliance and should always be inspected during the treatment period by the parents. If it becomes loose then it needs to be adjusted by the dentist. Oral hygiene should be maintained vigorously as food lodgments in and around space maintainers may cause caries in the adjacent teeth. Sticky food should be avoided and proper rinsing should be done after eating food.
HABIT BREAKING APPLIANCES
During the course of child growth there are many habits or action seen which is repeated by the child during the growing phase. It may be thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, mouth breathing. These habits if exists after a specified period of time needs to be consulted with dental surgeon as these habits may produce ill effects over the teeth alignments as well as growth of jaws.
Habit breaking appliance
- THUMB SUCKING HABIT
It is one of the most common habits seen in growing children. Sucking is the natural reflex which relaxes and comforts the child. This habit usually ceases up to the age of 2-4 years and in other situations should completely cease with the eruption of permanent front teeth. If continues beyond this period may produce teeth malalignment and aberration in growth of upper and lower jaws.
Children with this problem should always consult the dentist. It has been seen in children that these habits are the results of some psychological disturbance in child’s mind. This problem should be identified and rectified as soon as possible. It may also be due to negligence of the first child after second child is born. We at cosmo dental do proper counseling with the child and parents. In most cases habit breaking appliance is given in the form of palatal crib which always reminds the child of his habit. The appliance can be removable or fixed and is given for at least 6 months or more. The appliance does not cause any harm and the child may soon give up the habit.
- TONGUE THRUSTING HABIT
This is one of the habits which is very commonly seen in infants but is self correcting as the teeth erupt in the oral cavity. Tongue thrusting, is the habit of placing the tongue in the wrong position during swallowing, either too far forward or to the sides. A person swallows from 1,200 to 2,000 times every 24 hours with about four pounds (1.8 kg) of pressure each time. These excessive forces over front teeth in upper jaws in due course of time may cause proclination of upper teeth leading to spacing and open bite.
This habit needs to be treated before or during orthodontic treatment. It can be treated first by the appliances similar to nightguard or custom made appliances fixed by dentist. The other method is habit training which includes exercises to restore the correct movement of the muscles associated with swallowing thereby changing the swallowing pattern.
SCALING AND POLISHING
It is a natural routine process for a thin invisible sticky film to form on teeth every time we eat anything and is called plaque. Plaque is easily and effectively removed with routine oral hygiene procedures of brushing and flossing which is very essential as plaque houses numerous bacteria responsible for dental decay and gum problems.
Calculus is the hardened form of plaque present both above and below the gumline. Unlike plaque calculus is visible with yellow to brown to greenish stains. It is hard enough to injure your gums and bleeding from gums results on slightest trauma, even on brushing. Prolonged irritation is responsible for serious gum diseases from lowering of gumline to pocket formation around the tooth with bone loss and eventual loosening and loss of teeth.
Scaling is a procedure done by a dentist or dental hygienist to remove all the stains, calculus and plaque present over the teeth with special instruments like ultrasonic scalers. It is very safe and does not harm the tooth in any way, on the contrary a smooth tooth surface free from plaque and calculus is ideal for gum reattachment. Professional scaling and polishing at least once a year is the secret for healthy gums and teeth.