Prevention is always better than treatment in the patient’s eyes and we as healthcare practitioners should focus on creating preventive dentistry as the heart of our practices. Preventative dentistry promotes all ways to develop healthy oral care habits at home and simple, non-invasive treatments in the dental office.
Here a few ways that you can implement established preventative services in your office.
Routine dental visits
Recommending routine dental visits for your patients is the easiest way to help establish good oral health habits. Visiting the dentist twice a year helps evaluate for tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. It is also a great way to discuss good ways to improve oral hygiene and if there are any dental issues, to address them in their early stages.
Discussing a patient’s oral hygiene is typical, but there are many other factors that impact a person’s oral health. Diet. Medication. Lifestyle. Family history. A conversation about how smoking can have an adverse effect on your gums or how periodontal disease can worsen your diabetes can be life changing. Education always helps patients make the best healthcare decisions.
Fluoride is one of the simplest services you can offer your patients to help fight tooth decay. Fluoride is cost effective and non-invasive, all while providing your patient with the assistance to fight acid attacks that cause enamel breakdown. For patients who have poor dietary or brushing habits or take daily medication that causes dry mouth, fluoride is a beneficial preventive treatment that can make a huge change in your patients oral health.
Many people think sealants are just for children, but the truth is anyone is eligible to get dental sealants. Sealants are one of the best ways to help prevent tooth decay by covering the deeper, susceptible grooves of molars. Sealant application is simple, quick, and it costs pennies compared to more costly dental treatment like fillings and crowns.
If your patients play any contact sports in school or even an intramural adult team, it is worth protecting their smiles with an athletic mouthguard. A custom mouthguard is a small investment compared to the stress and agony of losing a front tooth from trauma. Custom mouthguards also fit properly and protect your patient’s jaw and soft tissues from injury. Show them one picture of a hockey player with a missing tooth and this may be all the explanation they need to sign up for a mouthguard.
Preventive visits are great because they help remove plaque and tartar that a patient may not be able to remove at home. When a patient gets a scaling and root planing or even just a simple prophylaxis, it helps brighten their smiles, improve their oral health, and lower their risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
Many patients forget to report they clench and grind their teeth while sleeping. Grinding at night can actually indicate a much larger problem like a sleep disorder. When there is bruxism present, always remember to discuss their sleep habits and it may be possible they need a further evaluation for sleep apnea. Sometimes a custom night guard is appropriate to help reduce clenching, which can cause teeth to wear down and TMJ problems.
By Dr. Anand, DDS | firstname.lastname@example.org