The Dentist From a Child' Point of View

Preventive Applications For Your Teeth

To keep your teeth in top shape, it is important to take measures to prevent tooth decay. Some activities, such as routine brushing and flossing can be performed at home, but other preventive applications need to be completed in a professional dental setting. Here are a few preventive dentistry applications that your dentist may use to protect the health of your teeth:

Plastic Sealants

Sealants are protective coatings of plastic that are applied to the teeth to help prevent decay. Dental decay is often caused by the exposure of a tooth to bacterial acids that eat away at the tooth enamel. The acid is released by the bacteria in the mouth as they digest food particles left in the oral cavity after you eat.

When sealants are in place, they form a barrier between the surface of the teeth and the bacterial acid. The coatings are often placed on the grooved chewing surfaces of the teeth, where bacteria, plaque and food often settle. 

Since the sealants are generally clear, they don't negatively affect the appearance of the teeth. In addition, they are long-lasting and can be expected to last for years. If they do start to wear away, they can be quickly reapplied. 

A sealant is applied to the teeth as a liquid but quickly hardens into place. There is no pain associated with the application.

Professional Teeth Cleaning

When your teeth are professionally cleaned, the dentist removes not only the plaque that could be eliminated through regular brushing, but he or she also removes tartar. Tartar is the yellowish, hard material that accumulates over time between the teeth and along the gumline. The material is actually plaque that has hardened into position. 

Plaque is usually sticky and can be removed with a regular toothbrush, but once it becomes calcified, special scraping tools are needed to remove it from the teeth. These tools should only be used by a qualified dental professional. 

The dental cleaning may need to extend below the gumline if serious symptoms of gum disease, such as deep gingival pockets develop. 

Fluoride Applications

Your dentist may also apply fluoride to your teeth to prevent decay. The treatment is allowed to rest on the teeth for a period before it is removed from the mouth. Fluoride aids in the remineralization of the teeth and helps make them more resistant to acid-based damage.

To learn more about preventive applications that your dentist may use to protect your teeth, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your area.