The foundation of a healthy smile is supported by preventive dentistry. Routine cleanings and exams can address and treat minor issues before they turn into large and costly problems. Along with a diligent at-home brushing and flossing routine, preventive dental care can help keep dental issues from forming. With regular, small investments in your oral hygiene, a beautiful, healthy smile can continue to thrive. Schedule an appointment today at West Allen Dental.
Flossing allows you to reach and clean 40% more of your tooth surface.
Routine teeth cleaning appointments can ensure your smile remains healthy and strong. We recommend scheduling an appointment every six months so that we can address and remove minor stains, plaque and bacteria.
Taking care of your oral hygiene at home is equally important. Be sure to brush at least twice a day for two minutes using fluoride-based toothpaste. Flossing once per day can remove food particles, plaque and bacteria that can’t be removed with brushing alone.
Digital x-rays are fast, comfortable, high-resolution images that allow the dentist to make an accurate diagnosis and expose patients to less radiation than traditional film x-rays. While most comprehensive digital x-rays are taken every few years, your doctor may recommend additional x-rays if they suspect a dental issue or if you're experiencing a dental emergency.
After your teeth cleaning, your dentist will apply a layer of fluoride-rich gel or paste directly to your teeth and leave it in place for a few minutes before removing it.
This helps minerals like calcium and phosphates bond to your teeth, strengthening and “remineralizing” them, to prevent the formation of cavities.
Patients of all ages can enjoy the cavity-fighting benefits of dental sealants. Sealants are a layer of liquid dental resin and are applied directly to the rear teeth because their deep crevices are more prone to cavities.
After the resin is applied, it is hardened using a special light to create a strong, transparent barrier that blocks food debris, acid and bacteria from coming into contact with your enamel. A strong dental sealant can prevent the formation of cavities for several years.
Patients who struggle with gum disease require periodontal care as a key component of their preventive dentistry. “Gingivitis” is known as the first stage of gum disease. It can be reversed with cleanings and proper at-home oral hygiene. Visiting your dentist for regular checkups is crucial. This way, your dentist can monitor your oral health and ensure gingivitis is at bay.
Patients with “Periodontitis,” a more advanced case of gum disease, will need a deep cleaning and can support their oral health with more frequent maintenance cleanings scheduled every 3 months. Routine periodontal maintenance can halt the progression of the disease and keep their oral health under control.
A crucial part of preventive care includes oral cancer screenings. Catching oral cancer in its early stages before it spreads and becomes more serious can save a life. Your dentist can detect early signs by performing an oral exam at your biannual dental appointments.
By examining your mouth, gums and oral tissues, your dentist will look for discolored patches, lumps, growths and other abnormalities. A biopsy can be taken and sent to a specialist for further analysis or your dentist will refer you to a specialist directly, in the rare case that an issue is found. Your dentist will become familiar with your oral health if you visit consistently, which will allow them to more easily notice changes.
Patients who subconsciously grind and clench their teeth while they sleep can use night guards as a protective solution. By working as a soft barrier between your teeth, these custom-made accessories can prevent painful clenching and grinding overnight. The night guard eases the tension between your jaw muscles and shields your teeth from enamel wear as they bite down. Your custom-molded night guard can alleviate the painful side effects of clenching and grinding.
Tooth enamel is the hardest part of your entire body.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time for a healthy smile. Start by holding your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gums. Using small, circular strokes, clean the front, back and chewing surfaces of each tooth. Each quadrant of your mouth only needs about 30 seconds of proper brushing. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 3-4 months, and to use an ADA-approved toothpaste with fluoride.
Roll out 18-24 inches of floss and wind most of it around the index or middle finger of one of your hands. Then, wind the last few inches around the index or middle finger of your opposite hand.
Pinch a 1-inch section of floss between your fingers and gently move this section of floss between your teeth with a rocking motion. Once the floss reaches your gum line, hug the floss against one of your teeth to create a “c” shape and move it up and down to dislodge plaque and bacteria. Repeat this motion against the next tooth to clean both sides of the gum.
Finish by gently removing the floss from between your teeth. Wind a new 1-inch section of floss between your fingers, move to the next tooth and repeat.
Prophylactic cleanings are the regular cleanings you get every 6 months at your dental appointments, which are required by all patients. Your dentist or dental hygienist will remove plaque, tartar and bacteria from your teeth, buff and polish them, and then floss your teeth to remove any residual debris during these cleanings.
Periodontal cleanings, also known as “deep cleanings”, are only needed for patients who have periodontal or gum disease. This treatment is done in two appointments, as half of your mouth is cleaned at each appointment. By scraping away plaque and tartar between your teeth and gums, your dentist will smooth the roots of your teeth to eliminate pockets that trap bacteria. Unless you have gum disease, a periodontal cleaning isn’t required.
Usually, dental insurance policies cover 100% of basic preventive care. Many cover at least a certain portion of the cost. Preventive care treatments include prophylactic teeth cleanings every 6 months, any necessary x-rays (usually once a year) and an annual or biannual dental exam performed by your dentist. Dental insurance policies may also cover the cost of optional preventive treatments, like dental sealants and fluoride treatments for children.
Insurance policies do differ, and it’s up to the patient to understand their coverage. Consult with your provider so you know exactly what’s covered and what will likely be out-of-pocket.
The average person smiles 40 times a day.