The practice of looking after your gums and teeth and maintaining good oral hygiene to keep them healthy is known as preventive dentistry. The main aim is to avoid cavities, gum infections, enamel wear, tooth loss and more. With the advent of years of refined diet, we have become more susceptible to oral diseases and hence maintaining them has become extremely important. With advancements in dentistry prevention of oral diseases has become easier. Maintenance of oral hygiene has to be practiced from an early age. The daily routines of brushing and flossing twice are the simplest form of preventive dentistry. Visiting a dentist with 6 months follow up is another way of preventing oral diseases. Children benefit most from the preventive dentistry protocol which as it allows their newly developed adult teeth to come strong and healthy. Preventive dentistry aims to prevent initiation and progress of dental diseases, limits their complications and also to provide rehabilitation.
Dental Procedures Involved In Preventive Dentistry:
PREVENTION OF DENTAL DECAY
- Pit and fissure
sealants – Sealants are a safe and painless way
to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are applied
in the deep fissures and pits of back teeth (molars and premolars) which have
pit and fissures on the chewing surface and are more susceptible to decay.
In this, a protective barrier is placed on the tooth surface which keeps the tooth safe from decays.
- Fluoride application – Fluoride is a mineral which increases the strength of teeth and also prevents decays and can be recommended in both children and adults. Fluoride gel is applied on trays and then placed on the teeth wherein it forms a strong layer thereby making the teeth resistant to decays.
- Enameloplasty – In this procedure the deep fissures and fossas are broadened which prevents food lodgement thereby preventing decay. As a result, during chewing the food particles are swept away from the surface preventing the possibilities of decays.
PREVENTION OF GUM DISEASES
- Oral prophylaxis – A simple procedure of professional cleaning of teeth dislodges the plaque deposits on the teeth and hence maintains the health of the gums. This procedure should be done at an interval of 6 months.
PREVENTION OF CROWDING OF TEETH
- Serial extraction – It’s a planned extraction of certain deciduous teeth and specific permanent teeth to guide the erupting permanent teeth into a favorable position. This prevents the possibility of crowding in the future. This is usually done during the age of 8 to 9 years.
- Space maintainers –
Space maintainers are custom made appliances which are placed to maintain space
for the erupting permanent teeth.
In cases of early loss of deciduous teeth, either because of caries, trauma or early shedding of milk/ primary teeth the space for the upcoming permanent tooth can be lost, if the posterior teeth move forward.
In order to save this migration of adjacent teeth into this empty space, space maintainers are given. These are a preventive appliance to ensure no complication in the eruption of teeth.
ADVANTAGES OF PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY
- Helps in the maintenance of the health of gums and teeth.
- Prevents the occurrence of cavities.
- Prevents gum diseases
- Prevents or reduces the chances of upcoming malalignment of teeth
WHO ALL ARE BENEFITTED FROM PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY?
Preventive Dentistry is for all. Starting right from childhood when the teeth are just emerging to the stage when one might have a chance of losing their teeth or have lost some. In kids, they help in preventing the teeth from getting decayed and also helps your newly grown permanent teeth to stay strong and fit. In growing adults, this keeps the permanent teeth healthy which eventually can be a reason for healthy living.
BecauseOral Health is a window to your overall health, therefore, keeping your teeth protected ensures healthy living and more years to your age.
Best Practices For Healthy Teeth
- Brushing twice a day is the first and foremost step in keeping your teeth healthy, make it a habit. And ensure that you brush before going to the bed as this helps to fight off the bacteria that stay overnight and can harm your tissues.
- Floss daily. This helps to clean off the particles stuck between your teeth which can be a reason of cavity. Flossing helps to get rid of these particles making your teeth healthy.
- Rinse after every meal. This is done to ensure that there isn’t any food particle stuck on your gums. This keeps your mouth clean which eventually leads to healthy teeth.
- Eat a balanced diet. This will help your teeth to get the required nutrients. Drink plenty of water and avoid carbonated drinks. Get a diet which includes all the vitamins and minerals as they are important for your teeth.
- Visit a dentist. Along with practicing the routine as mentioned above, visit a dentist to after every 6 months for a routine check-up. Your dentist will help you to know whether the practices you are following are good enough or do you need to be extra careful about your oral health.
WHAT ARE GUM DISEASES?
disease is an inflammation of the gum line that can progress to affect the bone
that surrounds and supports your teeth.
Gum Disease also known as Periodontal Disease begins with bacterial growth in the mouth, the localized inflammation of the gingiva is initiated by bacteria in the dental plaque, which is a microbial biofilm that forms on the teeth and gingiva. Nearly 70% of the people are affected by this disease at some point in their life. Though such a prevalent disease most people are unaware of the issue and the problems it can cause.
CAUSES OF GUM DISEASE
The primary cause of Gum Disease is poor oral hygiene. If you are not brushing or flossing properly, then the chances of bacteria build-up are high. However, there are other reasons as well such as:
- Smoking orchewing tobacco which makes difficult for gum tissues to repair
- Consuming certain medications (oral contraceptives, steroids, anticonvulsants, calcium channel blockers, and chemotherapy) lessen saliva flow that protects teeth and gums. Some medicines even cause the abnormal growth of gum tissue.
- Crooked or misaligned teeth
- Hormonal changes such as puberty, menstruation, menopause, pregnancy etc. can make your gums sensitive and as a result prone to gum diseases.
- Certain illness such as cancer and HIV make your immune system weak are at higher risk of developing gum disease. Also, people who are diabetic are more prone to get Gum Disease.
- Genetic susceptibility such as family history can contribute to gingivitis
SYMPTOMS OF GUM DISEASES
- Bleeding of gums when you brush or floss your teeth
- Pulling of gums away from the teeth
- Teeth loosening
- Change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite (malocclusion)
- Pus between teeth and gums
- Pain while chewing
- Teeth sensitivity
- Tender, red or swollen gums
- Ill-fitting partial dentures
- Foul breath that doesn’t go away even after brushing
- Deep space formation between gums and teeth
STAGES OR TYPES OF GUM DISEASE
The stages of Gum Diseases are as follows:
This is the first stage of gum disease, caused due to the plaque build-up on gums. If the plaque is not gone after brushing and flossing, then it can cause irritation. In this stage, you will notice your gums bleeding while brushing and flossing. Because bone is not affected in this stage, the chances of recovery are quite high.
Gingivitis if not treated on time, can lead to Periodontitis. This stage starts affecting your bone. Spaces are formed between bone and gum line as a result, bacteria will get a space food lodgement. If you visit your dentist on time then Periodontitis can be prevented. Periodontitis is an advanced gum disease.
This is the final stage of your gum disease where your bone is destroyed making your teeth loosen further. This can only be saved with surgery. And if the case is very advanced then even surgery cannot save your tooth, as a result, your dentist has to extract your tooth.
TREATMENT OPTION OF GUM DISEASE
The treatment option depends on the stage of Gum Disease. It also depends on your medical history and your overall health.
The treatment options range from non-surgical therapies to surgical treatments.
The Non-Surgical Options Include:
This is done in the very initial stage of developing a Gum Disease. Your dentist will remove the plaque or tartar (which hardens the tooth surface) from below and above the gum line. It is a preventive measure which helps you to save from getting gum disease.
Scaling & Root Planning
This is also a deep cleaning process. The only difference is that your dentist will give local anesthesia to start the process. Plaque and tartar are removed from above and below the gum line and after that, the rough spots are made smooth. The process of smoothing helps to remove the bacteria. This is done only if your dentist finds that you have calculus deposits under the gum.
Surgical Treatment Includes:
In this, incision is made on the gums to remove the tartar. Sometimes the irregular surface of the bone is smoothened so that there are no areas for bacteria which cause this disease can hide. This method is used to remove the gap between gums and tooth.
This method is used to regenerate the bone. The dentist use fragments of synthetic bone donated bone or your own bone which is used to replace the bone destroyed due to gum disease
Soft Tissue Graft
This method is used if the gums are receded. Gums are taken from the roof of the mouth and is stitched to the area of gum recession.
Guided Tissue Regeneration
Done along flap surgery when bone which supports your teeth are destroyed. Your dentist will insert a small piece of mesh-like fabric between your bone and gum tissue.
PREVENTION OF GUM DISEASE
- Brush your teeth twice a day (with a fluoride toothpaste).
- Floss regularly to remove plaque from between teeth.
- Visit your dentist after every 6 months for a routine check-up and professional cleaning.
- Quit smoking
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q.1. What Is The First Sign Of Gum Disease?
Red, sore and tender gums are usually the first sign. Or bleeding gums after brushing can also be considered as the first sign.
Q.2. Is Gum Disease Treatable?
Yes it is treatable and preventable.
Q.3. How Long Does It Take For Gum Disease To Be Cured?
It totally depends on the stage it is in.
Q.4. Can Gum Disease Be Treated On Its Own?
Certainly not. You should visit a dentist to get it cured.