What does preventive dentistry mean?

The goal of preventive dentistry is to prevent any pathology, cavities, infections, etc. from ever happening to any patient. It is achieved by placing the patient on a regular periodic maintenance, i.e. for periodic dental checkups. Also by ensuring the patient is mainting good oral hygiene on a regular, consistent basis. 
Dental disease is almost entirely preventable and oral health is just as important as the health of the rest of your body. Untreated dental disease can lead to serious health problems such as infection, damage to bone or nerve, and tooth loss. Infection from tooth disease can even spread to other parts of the body and in rare cases, can lead to death.

You can practice preventive dentistry on yourself by adopting these healthy habits: Always remember to brush your teeth twice a day, floss between teeth once a day, and eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. This will help ensure a beautiful smile for a lifetime.
In its purest sense preventive dentistry is what you and your dentist do to prevent dental disease. This includes proper home care, including brushing and cleaning between the teeth, use of fluoride toothpaste, proper diet, regular dental maintenance and continuing care appointments. Your continuing care visit may include an oral examination and cancer screening, necessary radiographs and thorough cleaning of the teeth. Sealants, reshaping of deep grooves and special fluoride toothpastes, gels and rinses may also be part of a preventive program.

Also, athletic mouth guards to prevent sports trauma and niteguards to prevent wear and breakage of teeth from grinding of the teeth are certainly an important part of preventive care, although not necessarily often considered under the category of preventive dentistry.

Keeping up with techniques that improve and maintain the health of your mouth. For example, incorporating a good hygiene program at home into your 3 or 6 month checkup and cleanings. Keeping the bad bacterial count in your mouth is very important for overall health. Therefore, using adjunctive aids such as decontaminating the mouth with a laser during your cleaning along with an antimicrobial mouth rinse (if necessary) will be very beneficial. 

Romesh Nalliah
Preventive dentistry involves any dental procedures or protocols that attempt to preserve oral hard tissues (teeth) and soft tissues (gums) in good health. Common examples of preventive dentistry include regular checkups, regular cleanings, fluoride treatment and fissure sealants.

At a regular check up your dentist will search for signs of dental disease (like cavities and gingivitis) but can also search for risk factors which may lead to dental disease. For example, a dry mouth puts you at higher risk of getting cavities. Additionally, dentists can also check for signs of oral cancer.

Preventive dentistry means taking the step necessary to prevent the need for dental treatment. Every patient has different dental needs for prevention. Talk to your dentist to establish an Oral Hygiene regimen that you can follow and stick to. For example, some patients need cleanings every three months while others only require a cleaning every six months. Only by talking to your dentist can you determine what is right for you.  

Preventive dentistry is performing procedures on your teeth and gums that will prevent problems. This can range from daily brushing and flossing to regular dental cleanings to application of fluorides and sealants. Our goal is to allow our patients to keep their teeth for a lifetime...and if all goes well; never do anything more than routine cleanings. That can mean no fillings!

Lucia Yau, DDS
Preventive dentistry means certain dental procedures are done to reduce or stop dental cavities, gum diseases, and tooth loss before they happen. Such procedures include but not limit to regular dental checkup and cleaning at the dental office (every 6 months), sealants bonding to seal out cavities, and fluoride application to strengthen enamel (outer layer of teeth). 
Preventive dentistry should be the goal of any oral health team as it has been well documented that oral health can have a wide ranging impact on overall health and well-being. Every patient presents with a unique clinical picture. The foundation of preventive dentistry is based on comprehensive clinical examination and sound diagnosis. Using this information, the patient can be educated about his/her oral condition. Education, routine care and management of risk factors can go a long way to minimize future dental problems. As they say, prevention is the best medicine!!  
Josh Berd, DDS
Preventative dentistry maintains your healthy and beautiful smile. It includes regular dental cleanings and exams, as well as fluoride application, sealants and night-guards. During every initial visit with a new patient, I focus on teaching oral health skill such as proper brushing and flossing. These 'home care' skills, in combination with regular dental visits are imperative to preventing the start and progression of dental decay. Prevention is truly your best investment! 
So that you can have fewer dental and health problems, you and the dental professionals can create a unique program of home care, products, (like which toothbrush to use), and dental services that address your particular risk factors.

Using a good quality brush, floss, and paste can be preventive dentistry. Taking a badly infected tooth out can prevent endangering your whole body health.

Preventive dentistry is defined by what you need as an individual, to lower the risk of serious disease.
Preventive dentistry is key to long term oral health. Regular dental visits, x-rays, sealants, cleanings, fluoride, diet, protecting teeth from injury, and home oral hygiene are all integral in preventing more costly dental problems. Waiting to see a dentist until something hurts is not recommended. We like to catch problems before they progress to the point of pain and infection.     
Preventative dentistry means teaching the patient how to prevent problems in the first place! It is the next best thing to Dental Insurance!

It includes proper teeth brushing and flossing methods, nutrition counseling, and tricks and techniques to maintain the integrity and structure of teeth and oral hygiene.

Incorporating preventative dentistry into each dental visit is an important aspect of providning good dental care!

Check out these videos for great oral hygiene techniques:
I have heard it said that the profession of dentistry tries to put itself "out of business", because of our strong emphasis on prevention. As dental professionals, we truly are focused on improving our patients' quality of life, by preventing dental diseases and disorders. Most dentists and dental auxilliaries agree that the best recommendation for your health is to visit your dentist twice each year for periodic examinations ("check-ups") and "cleaning". It has been shown that tooth decay and gum disease take about six months to get established, so following this regimen can prevent the most common issues with oral health. When dental disorders do occur, they will be "caught" quickly, which -- when treated right away -- will not only be easier and more efficient, but result in big financial savings, in the long run.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Preventive dentistry is the general term for dental care-related procedures or treatments that are meant to prevent oral health problems from rearing their ugly heads. A great example of a preventive dentistry procedure is sealants. A sealant is a layer of a protective, long-lasting special plastic. Your dentist can quickly and easily place this layer on your back teeth to prevent decay. These teeth are the ones that are most likely to decay, which is why they are targeted.

So ask your dentist to explain which procedures and treatments will best prevent problems, and check in with your benefits provider to find out which of these procedures are covered by your plan.
Dentistry has been proud of the fact that it has been one of the most "proactive" of all health care professions in the area of disease prevention. Since the opening of the first schools of Dental Hygiene in the early 1900's, preventive dentistry has played a prominent role in most dental practices. Dental Hygienists are solely oriented toward promoting oral health, through instruction of preventive techniques and regular dental maintenance which they administer.

Preventive dentistry has been shown to be essential to systemic health and wellness, with the many scientific studies linking oral disease to many major systemic diseases. Conversely oral health and preventive dentistry has also been identified as an vitally important component to improving overall health and reducing health care costs related to the management of patients with major systemic diseases. In a 2006 study funded by Aetna Health Care with Columbia University's College of Dental Medicine with over 145,000 patients being treated for heart disease, stroke and diabetes, the improvement of oral health resulted in an average decrease of  21% in the health care costs related to the management  of those diseases. A similar study was repeated in Japan with nearly identical findings. That translates into 'hundreds of billions' of dollars in savings from the $2.2 trillion spent each year on U.S. healthcare, and making preventive dentistry more important than ever!
Preventive dentistry refers to the practices within dental medicine and surgery that seek to eliminate, reduce and or minimize the need for dental treatments that require invasive therapy, or "cutting" of the dental tissue. There are really three phases of preventive dentistsry, prevention of one from getting dental disease, treating it as non-invasively as possible and use fo preventive principles to help avoid the return of the disease. Prevention should really begin from the time we have teeth, or about age one. Regular home care, brushing, visiting the dental professional, dental sealants and use of a fluorided tooth paste can help assure complete prevention of dental disease as it relates to caries or advancement of caries into cavities, holes in the teeth. For those high risk individuals who do develop caries, early intervetion is key to prevent the need for cutting the tooth and placing a filling. This is often done by medical management of dental disease through early diagnosis aidded by risk assessment, patient counsuling and use of appropriate theraputic agents such as fluordie gels and varnsihes, oral antibiotics and remineralizing agents, such as as MI paste with RECALDENT. Once the caries process advances to full demineralization of dental tissue, the hard tooth structure breaks down and invasive or some sort of cutting treamtent is needed to remove the diseased part of the tooh. Here preventive approaches would aim to use techniues such as ultra small burs or lasers and biogenic material such as glass ionomers that minimize the amount of the dental tissue that need to be cut away. Similar preventive approaches used in the prevention of caries are would be used to help prevent the disease from coming back.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.