SAVE YOURSELF TIME, MONEY, AND PAIN WITH PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY
You probably don't love going to the dentist, you probably dislike toothaches more. Whether your motivation is avoiding pain or having a great-looking smile, preventive dentistry should be part of your daily routine. At Meadows Dental Care, our team of dental professionals works with each of our patients to improve their oral health with preventive dentistry. Starting with visits to our dental practice in Austin, TX at least twice a year and following a good oral hygiene routine at home, we help our patients avoid painful dental problems. If you have dental insurance, preventive dentistry appointments are often covered since they will save you money in the long run. Below is a review of the most important parts of any preventive dentistry plan for patients in Austin, TX. Read on to learn more and then schedule an appointment at Meadows Dental Care for yourself and your family to start your preventive dentistry plan.
- A HEALTHY, BALANCED DIET
What you eat affects your mouth as much as your waistline. Sugary foods and drinks (particularly sodas, candy, and juices) encourage the growth of bacteria that turns into cavities. Try to limit sugar and processed foods or at the very least, brush your teeth or rinse your mouth as soon as possible after eating and drinking. To help remove buildup from your teeth, snack on crunchy vegetables like celery and drink fluoridated tap water.
- PROPER DENTAL ALIGNMENT
Teeth that are out of alignment may cause serious dental problems. Teeth that are crooked or too close together are more difficult to clean properly, which puts you at higher risk for problems like cavities and gum disease. A dental malocclusion (overbite, underbite, or crossbite) can lead to painful problems like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). If you are a parent, ask your dentist in Austin, TX to check your child's dental alignment and recommend an orthodontic treatment if necessary. If you never had braces as a child and your teeth are out of alignment, there are many great modern orthodontic options, like Invisalign, to gently move your teeth into place with clear, removable aligners.
- PROFESSIONAL FLUORIDE TREATMENTS
Professional fluoride treatments are recommended for children every six months. Fluoride helps strengthen and protect the enamel while the teeth are developing. Adults who are prone to cavities or have weak enamel may request fluoride treatments at the dentist. Many cities add fluoride to their drinking water to help their residents, but if you are in an area that doesn’t have fluoride in the water, you don't drink tap water, or your city doesn't add enough fluoride (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 0.7 mg of fluoride per liter of drinking water), ask your dentist about home fluoride treatments.
- ATHLETIC MOUTH GUARDS
If you or your children participate in any athletic activities, you need to make sure you are wearing a mouth guard. For contact sports (for example, football and hockey), a mouth guard is usually mandatory, but it's also a good idea to wear a mouth guard during any activity where your teeth may be at risk (like soccer, basketball, or skateboarding). For better protection and comfort, ask your dentist in Austin, TX about a custom athletic mouth guard.
- GOOD HOME ORAL CARE
Since most people are only at the dentist's office two days a year, it's important to take good care of your mouth the other 363 days of the year on your own. To prevent oral health problems, you need to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste. Whether you prefer a manual or electric toothbrush, make sure you're brushing for two minutes with light pressure moving your toothbrush in small circles across your teeth and gumline. You also need to make sure you are replacing your toothbrush (or brush head for electric toothbrushes) every three months or earlier if the bristles are worn. In addition to brushing twice a day, you should be flossing at least once a day. Proper flossing removes debris and plaque between your teeth and helps to keep your gums healthy. If you're not sure about your brushing or flossing technique, ask your dentist or hygienist for a demonstration at your next appointment.
- ANNUAL ORAL HEALTH EXAMINATION
An important part of preventive dentistry is diagnosing and treating problems before they become painful or require an invasive procedure. Visiting your dentist in Austin, TX at least once a year for an oral health examination allows your dental team the opportunity to check for problems, like cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer. Using digital x-rays and other state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, the team at Meadows Dental Care checks the health of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. If any problems are discovered, your dentist will explain your diagnosis and discuss your treatment options. If signs of oral cancer are discovered, you may be referred to an oncologist in Austin, TX for a biopsy and treatment. While it's tempting to avoid the dentist so you don't have to find out about problems or get treatment, early diagnosis typically means an easier, less invasive treatment.
- DENTAL SEALANTS
Most often recommended for younger children (since they typically aren't great about brushing and flossing as much as they should), dental sealants help prevent cavities. Sealants are a flexible plastic material that can be adhered by a dentist to the tops of the molars and premolars in a quick procedure. This protects the grooves in the back teeth from trapping debris and bacteria where cavities are commonly found.
- TREAT PROBLEMS RIGHT AWAY
If your dentist finds a problem during your oral health examination, make sure you schedule an appointment to have it treated. If you aren't going to the dentist regularly and you notice symptoms like a toothache, sensitive teeth, or bleeding gums, schedule an examination with a dentist in Austin, TX right away. Most dental problems don't heal themselves, so ignoring a diagnosis or symptoms will only make the problem worse. Early diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid a more invasive and expensive procedure later.
- BI-ANNUAL PROFESSIONAL CLEANINGS
While brushing and flossing your teeth every day is an important part of preventing dental problems, you probably still have some plaque and tartar built up on your teeth. A professional cleaning at a dentist's office in Austin, TX at least twice a year will remove this buildup. Using special tools that help remove buildup from even the hardest to reach areas of your enamel, a dental hygienist carefully scales your teeth during a professional cleaning so the plaque and tartar don't turn into cavities or gum disease. After your teeth are scaled and are free of buildup, your hygienist will polish your enamel to remove stains, which will brighten your smile. After your cleaning is finished, your dental hygienist may talk to you about any areas they found with excessive buildup so you can concentrate on these spots when you brush at home. This is also an excellent time to ask for advice on proper brushing and flossing techniques.