Your dentist performs restorative dental services to help repair your teeth. Although damage from decay or dental trauma is often repairable, it is best to avoid the damage altogether. Thus, your dentist offers preventive care to help maintain the health of your teeth.
Here are a few preventive services that your dentist may provide.
A dental sealant is a plastic coating that forms a barrier between your teeth and harmful substances, such as plaque and oral acids. The sealants are placed on the deeply grooved chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These surfaces tend to be more prone to decay since plaque and leftover particles of food readily settle in the grooves and may remain there until the next time that you brush your teeth.
The dental sealants help fill the grooves and protect the surfaces of the tooth from decay. The dentist applies the sealants in a liquid form. However, they quickly harden after the application. In some instances, a special curing light is used to assist in the hardening process.
Dental sealants often remain in place for years. However, if a sealant is damaged, the dentist can simply reapply it.
Fluoride treatments are preventive applications that strengthen the teeth against the formation of cavities. Fluoride, although found in other dental care products, such as toothpaste, is provided in higher concentrations through a fluoride treatment.
During the treatment, the dentist applies the fluoride product, which may be a gel, liquid, or foam, to the teeth. The product is allowed to rest in place for a few moments and is then rinsed from the mouth. The application is quick and painless but helps the teeth become more decay-resistant.
Fluoride remineralizes the teeth by attracting minerals that have been displaced from the tooth enamel back to the surfaces of the teeth. The fluoride then combines with the minerals to form a new tooth material. The new enamel is better able to resist damages from oral acids.
Dental cleanings are used to remove tartar from the teeth. Tartar, which is hardened plaque, collects in the interdental spaces and along the gum line. The material is porous and can become a collection spot for oral bacteria and additional plaque. As a result, a heavy buildup of tartar can facilitate gum inflammation.
To remove the tartar from your teeth, the dentist uses a specialized tool called a scaler. The scaler scrapes the hard substance away without damaging the tooth enamel.
To schedule preventive dental care services, schedule an appointment with a dentist in your local area.