Preventative dental care services are important for everyone in your family. They can keep dental problems from developing and spare your kids the pain of toothaches. A good thing about preventative dental care is that it's often covered by your dental insurance. Here are some types of preventative dental care your dentist may provide.
Dental x-rays are often done when you have a toothache, but they are also done routinely so your dentist can assess the health of your teeth. Cavities show up on x-rays even when your dentist can't see them during an examination. X-rays also show problems with alignment. The results of a routine x-ray can help your dentist provide early treatments that prevent problems from misaligned bite or from a hidden cavity that grows and becomes abscessed.
Teeth cleaning is one of the most important parts of preventative dentistry. Regular cleaning helps prevent gum disease and cavities. During the cleaning, the hygienist scrapes away tartar and plaque, which are difficult to remove through regular brushing at home. When you have your teeth cleaned, you'll also have an examination of your mouth so your dentist and hygienist can catch signs of cavities, sores, teeth grinding, and other problems that may need prompt attention.
Fluoride is useful for preventing cavities, which is why it's a common ingredient in toothpaste. Your dentist might also recommend fluoride treatments in the office for you or your kids. These are rinses or gels that contain a higher percentage of fluoride than can be found in over-the-counter dental products. The frequency of fluoride treatments and whether you need them or not depends on your individual dental health and your susceptibility to getting cavities.
Your dentist might recommend a sealant for yours or your child's teeth. A sealant is a coating that's usually applied to the back teeth since back teeth have grooves that trap food that can lead to cavities. The sealant lasts for several years, and the dentist checks its condition during every dental checkup. When the sealant wears down, it can be applied again as ongoing protection against cavities.
While your dentist can do a lot to prevent cavities and help your teeth stay healthy, your daily practices at home also have an impact on your teeth. Remember to brush and floss daily, and eat a healthy diet to keep your teeth healthy. Also, teach your children the importance of good oral hygiene and preventative dental care from an early age so they can avoid dental pain and infections as they grow.