Preventive dental care includes procedures that stop dental issues from occurring. Although restorative dental treatments can help restore the health of the teeth and gums once a damaging event transpires, most people prefer to avoid the expense and discomfort of a restorative treatment altogether. Here are a couple of preventive treatments that your dentist can provide.
Dental sealants are plastic barriers that are placed over the chewing surfaces of the teeth to prevent dental decay. Tooth decay takes place when bacterial acids make contact with the tooth enamel. The acids dissolve the mineral content of the enamel, causing the formation of cavities.
Cavities are likely to occur in deeply grooved chewing surfaces, where plaque and particles of food regularly settle. Plaque is a combination of oral bacteria, food, and the biofilm that the bacteria produce. With the bacteria and a food source on the surface of the tooth material, the acids that are released by the microbes as digestive byproducts make direct contact with the enamel in an undiluted state.
Dental sealants fill the grooved chewing surfaces and block the contact between the damaging acids and the tooth material. When a dentist applies a dental sealant, it is brushed on in a liquid form. Once the sealants are applied, they are cured, allowing them to harden in position. Dental sealants can last for years, providing preventive protection for the teeth.
Fluoride treatments are also provided in the dental office. The fluoride helps to remineralize and strengthen the teeth to lessen the chance of decay. During the treatment, fluoride attracts the minerals that have been displaced from the tooth enamel by the bacterial acids. As the minerals and the fluoride connect, new tooth material forms. The new material that includes fluoride is more resistant to decay-causing acids than the original tooth material was.
When the dentist applies a fluoride treatment, they brush the fluoride product onto the teeth. Once in place, the fluoridating substance is allowed to remain undisturbed for a brief period. Then, the dentist rinses the patient's mouth. There is no pain or discomfort associated with the procedure. Nevertheless, after the treatment, the dentist may ask that you refrain from eating or drinking for about 30 minutes to help ensure the full absorption of the fluoride.
To learn more about the preventive dental care that dentists offer, schedule a consultation with a dental provider in your local area.