Preventive dental care is just what it sounds like – taking care of your teeth now to help avoid costly procedures down the road. Essentially, it’s the combination of good oral hygiene along with your dental checkups and cleanings to stop problems before they start. For example, professional teeth cleanings can help prevent cavities and stop tooth loss.
When we look at dental procedures, they are typically grouped into three coverage categories: Preventive, basic and major. Preventive services usually consist of things like routine exams, cleanings and x-rays; however, these can vary by plan so it’s good to check with your personal policy to see what’s covered. Let’s go through them together.
Dental Exams and X-rays
Unless otherwise directed by your doctor, it is recommended that you visit your dentist twice a year for a dental exam. During exams, dentists perform x-rays to check for issues with the teeth, mouth and jaw. X-rays can find problems early, possibly before symptoms are even present, which can include tooth decay, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, bone damage within the jaw and injuries like broken roots. Regular dental check-ups can also be significant in detecting cancer early. Early detection is key, as it always means avoiding more serious problems and less costly treatment down the road.
The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist at least once a year to get a professional teeth cleaning. If you have periodontal issues, your dentist may recommend teeth cleanings more often. So even if you have healthy teeth, cleanings should be an essential part of your oral care routine.
At your cleaning appointment, professional tools are used to thoroughly cleanse beneath, above and within pockets of the gums to get rid of plaque. But what if you brush and floss every day? Although brushing and flossing is important, there are areas in your mouth that are difficult to clean yourself. Cleanings effectively remove plaque, which can become serious, and expensive, if left untreated. Also, removing plaque and bacteria, your breath can instantly improve, especially if the cause is due to periodontal problems. Dental cleanings can also whiten your teeth by effectively removing stains.
Your oral hygiene routine
As always, be sure to spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth, twice a day and floss once a day. Choose a fluoride toothpaste and replace it once every three months. If you need to brush up on your technique, you can click here.
So, there you have it. Preventive dental care is actively caring for your teeth to keep them healthy and strong. As a reminder, we work with over 360,000 access points across the nation to provide the highest-quality, most convenient dental care possible. Need to find a provider near you? Click here.