The routine visits to your dentist twice a year can help your teeth remain healthy. During these appointments, your dentist can provide preventive services that help you avoid decay. Here are a few of those services.
A fluoride treatment offers a way for your dentist to expose your mouth to concentrated applications of fluoride that can help protect your teeth from cavities. The professional fluoride products that are applied during a fluoride treatment are often painted onto the teeth as a varnish or applied using a mouth tray. Regardless of the method of application, the products offer a higher dose of fluoride than that of your toothpaste, drinking water, or even fluoride rinses.
Once the fluoride treatment is allowed to remain on the teeth for a few moments, it is rinsed away. Still, the protective effects of the application remain long after the actual treatment is complete. Fluoride helps prevent cavities by attracting minerals back to areas of weakened tooth enamel to remineralize the teeth. Fluoride even combines with the displaced minerals, creating additional tooth enamel that is more acid-resistant than your original tooth material.
Sealants are plastic coatings that are placed on the chewing surfaces of the teeth in the back of your mouth. The sealants provide a barrier that helps to prevent decay. The chewing surfaces of your molars are often deeply grooved. The crevices allow plaque and food particles to settle on the surfaces, making the teeth more susceptible to decay as the bacteria within the plaque feed and release cavity-causing acid.
Dental sealants remain in place for years and can be easily replaced if they begin to wear away. The sealants are often applied to children's teeth, but they are also suitable for adult teeth that are prone to decay.
Tartar removal is also a preventive dental service. As your dentist scrapes away tartar accumulations, they help prevent decay and gum disease.
Tartar is simply hardened plaque, and it can harbor a large number of oral microbes. When these microbes release acid, the corrosive material is frequently in direct contact with the teeth and gums. Thus, the acid can harm the teeth and gingival tissues before it is adequately diluted by the saliva.
You can help prevent the formation of tartar by brushing and flossing regularly. However, once tartar develops it can only be scraped from the teeth. To learn more about preventative dental care services offered by dentists, schedule a consultation with a local dental office.