What exactly is it?
What does preventative dentistry mean?
Preventive dentistry is the general term for dental care-related procedures or treatments that are meant to prevent oral health problems. Prevention includes hygiene, diet and dental visits. Our dentists can create a unique program of home care, products (like which toothbrush to use), and dental services that address your particular risk factors. It may include things like regular dental cleanings and exams, fluoride application, sealants or a mouth guard. Our dentists focus on teaching oral health skills such as effective brushing and flossing.
These ‘home care’ skills, in combination with regular dental visits are imperative to preventing the start and progression of dental decay.
Teeth must be brushed at least TWICE daily, preferably by an adult for children under 7 years old. The most important time is just before bed, when many children (and parents) are tired and more likely to miss this step.
Minimise sugary foods. The most common and damaging foods are soft drinks, juices (any type), cordials, and lollies. Minimise snacks or sweet drinks between meals. The more frequently we eat/drink, the more often the teeth are exposed to damage. For children, the last drink of the night must be water (not even a bottle of milk).
We are here to identify any developing damage, to suggest methods of prevention, and to initiate preventative techniques such as fissure sealants and fluoride treatments. We are here to help, not to criticise.
What is included in a check up at our surgery?
At Family Dental Care, our check-ups include:
- Discussion of any concerns that you may want to raise
- Examination of the teeth for decay, fractures, abnormal wear or erosion
- Usually 2 standard X-rays to look for problems within the teeth or supporting bone
- Full dental charting
- Examination of the gums for gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)
- Examination of the skin in the mouth and tongue for ulcers, inflammation, cancers, and other lesions
- Identify any developing damage
- If necessary, photos may be taken
- An individual treatment plan created including expected health fund item numbers
- Discussion with you of any problems detected including any options, suggest methods of prevention and preventative techniques such as fissure sealants and fluoride treatments. If needed, provide specialist referrals
- Discussing the best timing and sequencing of treatment
- Estimating the cost of treatment and payment options
When do I need a check up?
Our dentists recommend you have a comprehensive examination first (including x-rays) and then a periodic check-up every six months after (generally no x-rays are needed). The comprehensive examination should be re-done every two years.
X-Rays: An important Aid to a Diagnosis
Although each person’s needs are different, it is usually advised that X-rays can start as young as 3 years old and should be taken throughout adulthood, and continue for the rest of your life (while you still have natural teeth). Dental X-rays are an essential part of good dental care. Our dentists recommend standard x-rays at least every 2 years, at a minimum. X-rays help the dentist to look for problems within the teeth and supporting bone.
At Family Dental Care we only use digital x-rays which allow us to process them almost instantly, bypassing chemical processing, and are stored on our secure computer system. Less radiation is used than traditional X-rays and the dentist can easily share with you what they see. Digital x-rays also allows us to enhance your images and even print them for you to take home. This is particularly great for little ones to take to school for ‘news’! This modern technology makes it easy for us to show you exactly what is happening with your teeth and gums – without leaving your chair.
Oral hygiene education
This is provided by our dentists to help ensure you have an effective brushing technique. We use puppets for little children and an anatomic tooth model for adults to encourage good communication between dentist and patient. The dentist will also show you the tricky techniques for flossing and the best types of tooth brushes to use.
Professional Teeth Cleaning
When we eat, the bacteria in our mouth produce a sticky substance called plaque. If left on teeth, plaque can turn into calculus (often called tartar) causing inflammation and bleeding of the gums. If left on teeth, calculus levels increase, it spreads down below the gum line, destroys bone, and eventually leads to the loss of your teeth.
A regular professional clean can remove all calculus deposits off your teeth. Cleaning also includes a polish to remove superficial stains. This is called having a scale and clean. The dentist will then provide you with oral health education so you know how to brush & floss effectively at home, to help prevent its return.