What Is the Preventive Treatment for Tooth Decay?

What Is the Preventive Treatment for Tooth Decay?

August 1, 2023

Preventive treatments are all measures, protocols, and procedures that dentists perform to help their patients overcome various dental complications. Usually, Preventive Dentistry in Danbury, CT, concerns pre-empting potential oral problems and addressing them before they manifest. Therefore, dentists will provide various services to help you maintain a healthy smile while avoiding bacterial infections and other oral problems.

Examples of Preventive Treatments in Dentistry

Since preventive dentistry covers various aspects of oral health, you can have various treatments, including the following:

  • Dental sealants for molars and premolars
  • Fluoride treatment to strengthen teeth
  • Dental cleanings to boost oral hygiene
  • Dental exams
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Habit counseling

What Is Tooth Decay and How Does It Occur?

Tooth decay is among the most prevalent oral issues we treat at Danbury Smiles – George Landress, DDS, MAGD. It is a condition with a bacterial infection in the mouth that damages teeth structure. The decay is a process that happens gradually over time, starting from the point of enamel erosion.

High consumption of certain foods and drinks, like those rich in sugars and acids, coupled with poor oral hygiene, begin a process of enamel erosion. The food debris remains on teeth and converts into a sticky film called plaque. Over time, the plaque harbors and promotes bacterial overgrowth, which combines with acids to erode the enamel. This erosion is the initial point of the decay process.

After a while, the erosion exposes the inner layers of teeth, which are more susceptible to damage. In the early stages, the acids and bacteria will create small holes or weak spots on your teeth’ enamel, eventually reaching the next layer called dentin. When dentin is involved, the decay spreads further and quicker than before. Therefore, you must seek preventive dental care before dentin involvement in the decay process. If not, the infection will continue to spread.

The next layer of attack is the pulp cavity, which houses all the soft tissues, including blood vessels, nerve endings, and connective tissues. When the bacteria reach the pulp, you will experience pronounced symptoms like toothaches, swelling, and bad breath. Eventually, The infection reaches the tooth’s roots, causing abscesses and other severe complications.

What Preventive Treatments Can You Get for Tooth Decay?

Depending on the phase of decay you are at, different preventive treatments may be necessary. For advanced stages of dental decay, dentists typically recommend restorative treatments like root canal therapy and dental fillings. However, if you visit your dentist early, the following preventive treatments can be relevant for your oral health:

  • Dental sealants – feature thin, protective coatings that apply perfectly to the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. The sealant material fits into the deep grooves and fissures of the back teeth, where food particles and bacteria typically accumulate, making them more prone to decay. The role of dental sealants is to create a smooth surface that bars bacteria and food from getting trapped in these areas.
  • Fluoride treatments – involve applying a concentrated fluoride solution to the teeth to enrich them with minerals. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, helping to resist acid attacks and plaque bacteria.
  • Antibacterial mouthwashes – your dentist may recommend a mouthwash to counter dental decay since some contain antibacterial agents that reduce bacteria in the mouth. Mouthwashes can help control plaque formation and decrease the risk of tooth decay, usually combined with regular teeth brushing and flossing.
  • Professional dental cleanings – entail thoroughly brushing and flossing teeth in a dental clinic, usually by a dentist or dental hygienist. A typical cleaning entails removing plaque, tartar, and surface stains from teeth. However, if you have gum disease, your dentist will recommend a deep cleaning that comprises scaling and root planing to restore gum and teeth health.
  • Regular dental check-ups – your dentist will recommend routine evaluations to detect early signs of tooth decay and address other oral health issues. During exams, the dentist will assess your mouth by performing necessary diagnostic tests (such as X-rays) before providing appropriate preventive advice and treatments tailored to your needs.

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