Preventive Dentistry is the area of dentistry that focuses on those procedures and life practices that help people to prevent the beginning or progression of oral disease. It includes at-home dental care performed by patients, as well as dental care and education by professional dental staff in the office or clinic.
Its purpose includes two aspects of dental care, both performed to help patients avoid dental disease or to catch it in its early, more treatable stages. In part, it is the oral hygiene care performed by the patient at home. Preventive dentistry also encompasses what is done by the dental staff in their offices to help patients maintain healthy teeth and gums. In either case, the objectives are to stop the development of oral disease or to find it at an early stage. Dental health professionals most often look for early signs of PERIODONTAL DISEASE, DENTAL DECAY, and other changes in the soft tissue of the mouth that could lead to oral cancer.
1. Oral Prophylaxis
Periodontal disease, an infection of the teeth, gums, and bone that surrounds the teeth, is the number-one cause of adult tooth loss. It begins when plaque, a sticky film of food and bacteria, builds up on your teeth. If plaque isn’t removed, it hardens into calculus, also called tartar. The buildup of plaque and tartar dramatically increases the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth and can result in deepening spaces between the teeth and gums, called pockets. Bacteria trigger the body’s immune system to produce enzymes.
These enzymes destroy the bone surrounding the teeth, which ultimately leads to tooth loss.