Preventative Dental Care Most Patients Can Benefit From

Dentist Blog

Most people go to the dentist when they have an oral health problem, such as a painful tooth or red gums. And indeed, a big part of a dentist's job is to diagnose and fix problems like these. However, dentists also offer preventative services, which are services intended to keep the teeth health and prevent longer-term issues. These are some of the key preventative care services most patients can benefit from.


Prophylaxis is the fancy term for "dental cleaning." And yes, the dentist does a lot more than just brush your teeth when you visit for a cleaning. Actually, most of the work is done by a dental hygienist, who is a professional who specializes in cleaning teeth. The dentist will simply check in at the end and make sure everything is done well.

In prophylaxis, the hygienist typically uses a series of metal scrapers to remove tartar from your gumline. This hardened combination of bacteria and saliva can lead to gum disease if not removed periodically. Then, they will polish your teeth with a special, rotating instrument, which will make your teeth slick so that food particles don't stick to them, thereby reducing your risk of cavities.


While x-rays do not directly prevent problems with your teeth, they are considered a preventative care service because they keep problems from getting worse. Your dentist can see a tiny cavity or spot of decay on an x-ray, enabling them to fill or otherwise address it before you end up with a large cavity, an infected tooth root, or a dead tooth.

Most dentists want their patients to have x-rays either once a year or every other year, depending on your dental history. You won't feel a thing during the x-ray, and you'll be given a lead shield to wear to limit your exposure to radiation during the process.

Mouth Guards

Most, although not all, patients can benefit from having a custom mouth guard made. This mouth guard, which is made to fit the teeth exactly, can be worn at night. It will keep you from grinding and clenching your teeth at night, which is a really, really common habit. In doing so, the mouth guard will help prevent wear on your enamel, headaches due to tooth grinding, and even TMJ pain. 

Talk to your dentist to learn more about these and other preventative care services. Most dentists are glad to place an emphasis on preventative care and help you take better care of your teeth. Look for a general dentist in your area like Mark A. Massa, DDS, Inc.


19 February 2021