The Preventative Program
Charlotte Dentist Preventative Program
Given a choice, our natural teeth are almost always better than the best dentistry any dentist can provide. Our natural teeth are made of enamel, the hardest substance in our body. No matter how good the dentist, anything we can replace our teeth with will always be less than ideal. Despite this, the food we eat, cavities, acid attacks and trauma can damage our teeth. So the best defense is a strong offense, prevention. We can prevent a lot of problems with excellent home care, sealants, fluoride, mouthguards and regular visits.
Home care is the #1 way to prevent a lot of problems with our teeth. Regular brushing 2x a day at a minimum. Brushing with the appropriate toothbrush be it manual or electric is crucial. The bristles should not be worn down. When brushing aim for 2 minutes or more. Flossing is where most patients are lacking. It takes time to floss properly, but it is well worth the effort. Aim for once a day. And if you’re bleeding when you’re flossing, it probably means it’s been awhile since you’ve flossed or you’re not flossing enough. There are many rinses out there that can be used in conjunction with brushing and flossing. What’s important to remember is, the rinses do not replace brushing and flossing.
Sealants, when done properly are one of the best preventative tools against occlusal cavities. These are the cavities that form on the tops of your teeth. A lof of our molars will have deep grooves in them. And all the brushing in the world just can’t get down in the grooves. What sealants will do is seal up the grooves. To accomplish this we clean off the teeth and apply the sealant over them. Once placed, they do require regular follow ups just like anything else. If they start to leak or fail, they’ll need to be replaced. Insurance coverage for sealants in children is usually great. It starts to wean off as the patient gets older. Not sure why the insurance companies think sealants are good when you’re younger and not when you’re older. So no matter the age. The next time you’re in the office, ask us about sealants for your teeth.
Fluoride was one of the greatest public initiative taken in dentistry. It has single handedly reduced the number of caries more than any other technology in dentistry. Charlotte, and pretty much every city in America, has fluoridation in the water supply. Fluoride helps make the teeth more resistant to acid attack from caries, thus making it harder to get cavities. We recommend only toothpastes that has fluoride in it. And brushing with it 2x daily will help keep teeth strong. Also especially for kids while the teeth are still young, we do professional applications of fluoride at their preventative visits. Adults too can benefit from fluoride. It helps keep teeth strong and cuts down on sensitivity. Finally especially in patients with a high caries rate, we recommend using a fluoride rinse. These can include products such as ACT or specially marked Listerine that contains fluoride.
Mouthguards need to be worn when playing sports.
Physical assault is also an enemy to our teeth. There are two primary ways this can happen. First grinding and oral habits. Most of us grind during the night and we may not realize it. A fancy term for it is bruxism. Fortunately dentists can recognize the signs very early on before too much damage is done. The treatment is simple, a nightguard is made and worn at night. As for oral habits, don’t bite and chew on hard things! The second way teeth oftentimes get damaged is through playing sports. We recommend that if you’re participating in any sports to wear a mouthguard. Custom ones can be made in our office.
Finally we want to encourage our patients to visit their Charlotte Dentist. Regular visits to the dentists can prevent a lot of problems. Early problems can be spotted and remedied before any extensive treatment is needed. A regular cycle of cleanings can prevent Periodontal Disease. Catching cavities when they’re small is significantly better than catching them when they’re large. A filling is always easier than a root canals or crowns for the dentist, the patient and your wallet.