General dentistry and preventative care are part of maintaining good oral health. In fact, many acute dental issues can be avoided or minimized with regular dental treatments. General dentists, also referred to as family dentists, focus on the health of your teeth and gums with preventative care services and restorative work. Here are some of the procedures that fall under general dentistry and preventative care.
Preventative Dental Care
Simply put, prevention is key to excellent oral health for life. Preventative dental services include:
- Dental cleaning - Professional cleaning includes removal of built-up plaque and tartar, a thorough clean, floss, polishing, and fluoride treatment application. We recommend having a dental cleaning at least twice a year.
- Oral exam - Oral exams are typically performed by your dentist after a routine clean. Examinations typically include an X-ray with low-level radiation. These images help your dentist detect gum disease and tooth decay in its early stages and can reveal impacted teeth.
- Children’s dentistry - Establishing good oral care starts at a young age. Children’s dentistry focuses on education, helping kids feel comfortable in the dentist chair, and creating a positive impression and outlook on seeing the dentist regularly.
- Family dental - Lifelong family dentistry comes with many advantages, including establishing a trusting and confident patient-dentist relationship with the dentist and staff, consistent care, and a professional who knows your family history. This helps your dentist identify any pre-conditioned issues and take proactive steps with treatment.
- Sealants - Sealants are a treatment that helps prevent cavities. A thin, plastic coating is applied on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to block food particles from getting stuck in hard-to-reach areas.
- Mouth guards - Mouth guards protect your teeth from serious injury during sports or other physical activity. Your dentist will also check for signs of teeth-grinding at night and recommend a night-time mouth guard to alleviate the problem.
- Oral cancer screening - The goal of oral cancer screening is to discover signs and symptoms of the disease early on. Your dentist will typically recommend a screening every year starting at 18 years old.
General Dentistry Procedures
When tooth decay and gum disease are evident, treatment must be performed as soon as possible before the issue progresses. General dentistry includes:
- Fillings - One of the most common types of procedures, tooth-coloured fillings prevent cavities from progressing deep down into the root. Other treatments for dental cavities include crowns and root canal therapy.
- Root canal therapy - Root canals are recommended if deep tooth decay is detected, there have been repeated procedures on the same tooth, or for a chipped or cracked tooth. Many patients express concern about root canal therapy being painful, but recent dental technologies have made this treatment smooth and with little discomfort.
- Periodontal treatment - Periodontal disease is a serious gum infection that leads to inflamed and bleeding gums. Without treatment, the infection can begin to attack the supporting bones of the teeth and oral structures. Research has linked periodontal disease to cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. Periodontal disease can be treated. Treatment options are determined on a case by case basis.
- Bad breath care - Bad breath can impact our self-esteem and the way we interact with others. The good news is, there are treatment options available. Speak to your family dentist about bad breath care and how to prevent it.
- Wisdom tooth extraction - Most patients choose to remove their wisdom teeth before they become impacted and cause pain. Wisdom teeth removal can be performed by your family dentist with the sedation of your choice to ensure the most comfortable experience for you.
- Dental sedation - Many patients feel anxiety and fear about coming to the dentist. Most, if not all, dental offices in Calgary want to ease their patients’ anxiety and offer safe sedation options to help with making treatment more relaxed. Dental sedation includes laughing gas, IV sedatives, oral sedation, and general anesthesia.
- Orthodontics - Contrary to popular belief, your family dentist can perform orthodontic procedures such as braces and retainers for teeth alignment. One of the advantages of this is that patients feel more comfortable seeing their family dentist for orthodontic treatments.
Other treatments such as teeth whitening, cosmetic procedures, and restorative services also fall under general dentistry, meaning you don’t need to see a specialist. Along with seeing your dentist regularly, be sure to keep up with daily brushing and flossing to maintain healthy teeth and gums!