In this section Dr. Alexander Shor discusses Preventive Dentistry and why it is an important link in the maintenance of good oral health.
Oral diseases and disability
Different oral diseases can negatively impact patient’s quality of life and result in pain, impaired function, loss of productivity, and decreased psychological well-being of the patient. Aggressive forms of dental disease can also result in disability and in rare cases can lead to death. Majority of dental diseases and conditions are completely preventable by healthy lifestyle and preventive regimens. It is much more beneficial to prevent problems in the first place rather that treat the disease and its consequences.
What is preventive dentistry?
The goal of preventive dentistry is promotion and maintenance of optimal oral health where efforts are directed towards prevention rather than treatment of the disease. Preventive dentistry includes screening of the patient’s oral condition by health care practitioner, identification of risk factors, and development of individualized preventive regimen as well as its implementation. Below are the areas of preventive dentistry.
- Screening by dental specialist and identification
- Education and development of individualized preventive protocols
- Home regimens and behavioral practices
- Professional preventive services
What are the preventive practices for most common oral diseases?
Prevention of tooth decay (dental caries)
Tooth decay (also called dental caries) is a chronic infectious disease which results in softening and breakdown of the hard tooth material. Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent human diseases. Yet it is completely preventable. Most common preventive regimens included good oral hygiene, professional cleanings, oral rinses, fluoride formulations, antibacterial rinses and dental sealants. Patients may be advised to adhere to the low sugar diet.
Prevention of gum disease (Gingivitis and Periodontitis)
Gum disease also called gingivitis / periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory condition which results in the progressive loss of the jaw bone which hold the teeth in its place. It is an infectious disease. Most common preventive regimens included good oral hygiene, professional cleanings, antibacterial rinses and is some instances systemic antibiotics and anti-inflammatory agents. Patients may also be advised to quit smoking and adhere to a health lifestyle.
Prevention of tooth wear
Tooth wear is an irreversible loss of tooth structure as a result of chemical and mechanical processes which occur in the oral cavity. Most common preventive regimens may application and use of fluoride formulations and tooth re-hardening agents. Patients may also be advised to use a protective mouth guard.
Prevention of oral cancer
Oral cancer is a malignant growth of the oral tissues with the potential to spread to the other parts of the body. Most common preventive regimens included healthy lifestyle, avoidance of tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption.
Prevention of bad breath (halitosis)
Bad breath is often caused by oral bacteria. Most common preventive regimens includes good oral hygiene, professional cleanings, application of antibacterial agents.
Prevention of sports related injuries
Sport injuries often involve teeth and jaws. Common preventive measures include fabrication of custom mouthguards.
Preventive dentistry by Seattle’s dentists at Shor Dental
At our Seattle Dental Practice we strongly believe in preventive practices to maintain good oral health. Each patient is carefully evaluated for evidence of the disease and presence of risk factors. Appropriate individualized advise is given based on the best available evidence. Professional preventive services are also provided in our facility by our experienced staff and patients are recalled for follow up evaluation and care. For certain conditions we may also provide an appropriate referral to related health care specialist.