Preventative Dentistry is a term used to describe a situation where the dentist, hygienist and patient work together to reduce the need for dental treatment and avoid the traditional pattern of fillings and extractions.
Smilemakers as a Practice base our patient care on the principles of Preventative Dentistry.
The Smilemakers team will recommend a course of treatment to get your mouth into good condition, and then work out a 'maintenance plan' to help you keep it that way. The Smilemakers' maintenance plan is uniquely formulated to you, involving appointments with our award-winning hygiene team and oral care packages formulated just for yourself.
Preventative dentistry will benefit anyone with some of their own teeth. People who don't have any teeth can also benefit, because conditions such as mouth cancer can be spotted during regular visits to the dentist and then treated. It is excellent for children and young people, but it is never too late to start.
Integral to Preventative Dentistry are good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups
A check-up allows your dentist to see if you have any dental problems and helps you keep your mouth healthy.
In many cases, dental and other oral health problems can be present for a long time before you may become aware of them. It does NOT always follow that your body will let you know when you have a problem!
Unfortunately leaving problems untreated could make them more difficult to treat in the future, so it's best to deal with problems early, or, if possible, prevent them altogether. For example, decay can be symptomless for years until the tooth starts hurting, at which point root canal treatment may be required (see our section on root canal treatment) rather than the simple filling that would have been required had the tooth been seen by a dentist sooner.
A dental check-up will also enable your dentist to check important aspects of your health not directly related to your teeth e.g. oral cancer (see our section on oral cancer)
At each check-up, your dentist will:
After your check-up, your dentist will recommend a date for your next visit. The time to your next check-up can vary from three months to a year or more depending on how healthy your teeth and gums are and your risk of future problems.
One thing to remember with a check-up is that your dentist is working with you as a team. You do most of the work each day when you carefully brush and floss your teeth.
As we look at each tooth, we are checking for signs of decay and gum disease, and also for signs of damage. Teeth can start to crumble and split as you get older. You may be brushing too hard and wearing away the enamel. You may be starting to develop gaps between the teeth as your gums recede.
Oral cancers can grow very fast. They are more likely to appear after the age of 35 as they are directly linked to lifestyle choices such as what you eat and whether your drink or smoke. We will look carefully at your lips and the soft parts of your mouth for tell-tale lumps or patches. We will also feel into your throat and neck to check for bumps that should not be there. When caught early, oral cancers are very easy to treat.
It is important to bring your children in for regular check-ups. Children are far more likely to suffer tooth decay. This is because their tooth enamel is still hardening up. Children are also more likely to be consuming sugary snacks and drinks and they have not yet developed great brushing skills.
Tooth decay in baby teeth may not seem that important, but it can spread to the adult teeth developing in the jawbone and even into the jawbone itself.
About 13% of the population suffers from dental phobia, and dentists today are trained to make dental treatments a positive experience. If you are scared of the dentist, it can be tempting to put off your check-ups until there is a problem you can feel. The trouble is that you can end up having to go through more invasive and lengthy treatments. Just let us know that you suffer from a fear of the dentist and we will make sure to treat you in the gentlest way possible.