With Teeth, An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Ton of Cure
Dental anxiety, or dental appointment anxiety, can start long before the day of your dental visit. Just seeing “dentist” on your calendar may put you in a fog of worry: What will they find? Have I been flossing enough? Please, don’t let me need a root canal again!
For parents of children who have needed dental work in the past, the angst can be downright debilitating. Not only are you anxious to know whether you child has developed any new cavities, but you’re also concerned about your child’s potential fears and setting a good example by staying calm!
Sometimes it feels like bad things start with dental appointments, but the truth is that regular appointments are the cornerstone of successful preventive dentistry. Beyond good oral hygiene, the most important step you can take to prevent cavities is schedule and keep your dental appointments.
Do you need a regular dentist for routine preventive appointments? Contact our office for an appointment at our Kirkwood, MO or Hazelwood, MO dental office.
Why Teeth Need a Preventive Approach
Did you know that teeth are one of the very few parts of the human anatomy that cannot heal? Once a cavity starts, there is nothing your body can do to correct it or halt the spread of decay. The usual “wait and see” approach to bodily aches and pains is never an appropriate strategy for dealing with dental problems. This is why prevention is the best way to approach your family’s oral health maintenance. Taking active steps to prevent cavities from developing is always preferable to extensive restorations, such as fillings and root canal therapy.
Regular dental appointments, every six months, give our staff the opportunity to (1) remove the plaque and tartar that lead to cavities, (2) deliver treatments that help prevent tooth decay, and (3) detect early signs of decay–before they advance into painful toothaches and infections. More dental visits may feel like more anxiety, but they are the best way to save yourself and your family the hassle and expense of advanced dental work in the future.
A preventive approach to dentistry involves:
- Education: knowing how cavities develop and the best way to prevent them.
- Good Habits: avoiding risky activities that may harm the teeth and gums.
- Home Care: good daily oral hygiene, brushing and flossing with the proper tools.
- Dental Cleanings: to remove accumulated plaque and tartar not removed by daily brushing.
- Examinations: dental staff use advanced techniques to spot cavities (before they even happen, in some cases).
- Preventive Treatments: fluoride and sealants can prevent tooth decay for the whole family.
Beyond the prevention and detection of tooth decay, there are other good things that come from regular preventive appointments.
During your family’s routine visits, your dentist will monitor the placement of the teeth and check for alignment issues. Poor alignment can lead to much more than just crooked-looking teeth. When the teeth do not fit together properly, enamel may become worn or cracked and joint problems, such as TMJ disorder, may develop. Improper alignment also plays a role in bruxism (teeth grinding or jaw clenching), which can lead to painful headaches and cracked teeth. Monitoring the development and placement of teeth allows our dentists to make timely recommendations for orthodontic treatment and the extraction of wisdom teeth, when needed.
During preventive visits, we also check for gum disease and early signs of oral cancers. Gum disease is a serious condition that can affect anyone at any age, though it is more common in patients over 30. When gum disease is detected in its earliest stage (gingivitis) it is reversible with good oral hygiene. Since gum disease can develop and progress with few noticeable symptoms, preventive visits to the dentist are incredibly valuable in preventing this disease. If gum disease does develop, we provide periodontal treatments to minimize the symptoms that may lead to tissue damage and tooth loss.
Preventive Dental Visits Keep Your Family Healthy
If you or your family needs a regular dentist for preventive appointments, contact our office for an appointment. We welcome you to our practice for a get-to-know-you visit, in which we will learn about your medical and dental history and have a look at your teeth. If you would like to learn more about preventive dentistry, contact us at our Hazelwood, Missouri office at 314-433-5489 or make an appointment online.