Dentists help patients deal with toothaches and wisdom teeth, but that's not all they do. Your dentist isn't just there to help you when you have a dental problem. They're also there to prevent dental problems from arising. Here are four preventative dental care services that can benefit every patient:
1. Patient Education
Patient education is actually one of the most important jobs a dentist has. Most of your dental maintenance happens at home between dental appointments. It's your job to brush your teeth twice a day and floss your teeth daily. Dentists can offer tips and advice that will help you take better care of your teeth. At your biannual checkup, your dentist will ask how you've been caring for your teeth. They will offer suggestions and education as necessary.
Dental x-rays are a vital part of preventative dental care. They are indispensable for diagnostic purposes. Your dentist will take x-rays of your mouth from various angles. X-rays allow your dentist to see dark spots on your teeth that indicate decay. Using this tool, dentists can find cavities that might be invisible to the naked eye. Ideally, you should have new x-rays taken once a year. If you experience tooth pain before your next scheduled x-ray, your dentist may give you additional x-rays to find the source of your discomfort.
3. Gum Health Checkups
Your gums are an easily overlooked part of your mouth. However, healthy gums are very important. Gum disease can cause your gums to recede, which can lead to loose teeth. Severe gum disease can even cause tooth loss. Your dentist will help you prevent periodontal disease by checking your gum health at regular intervals. A dentist can painlessly measure your gum depth during your next dental exam by gently sticking a measuring tool into the gum pocket beside each of your teeth.
4. Tartar Scaling
When combined with sugar and saliva, bacteria in your mouth becomes a sticky substance called plaque. Over time, plaque can calcify, becoming a hard substance known as tartar. It's difficult to impossible to remove tartar on your own, but your dentist can remove it through a process called scaling. Your dentist will take a sharp hook-like tool and use it to scrape tartar away from your tooth enamel. Tartar scaling is an important part of preventative dental care. It can reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease. Most people should have their teeth scaled every six months at their regular dental exam.