Preventive dentistry comprises of various procedures that help in maintaining good health of teeth, gums and other oral structures. The concept of prevention is the maintenance of oral health, rather than treatment, but may be considered as the basis for treatment planning.
Objectives of preventive dentistry are as follows:
- Prevent factors which predispose to the disease
- Prevent the disease itself
- Prevent factors that evoke more severe manifestation of acute disease
- Prevent factors which tend to maintain disease in chronic stage
- Prevent complications of disease
- Prevent sequel of disease, both acute and chronic
- Prevent factors which interfere with rehabilitation
Successful prevention depends upon:
- Knowledge of causation
- Dynamics of transmission
- Identification of risk factors
- Availability of early detection and treatment measures
- Facilities for these dental procedures
- Evaluation and development of these dental procedures
A well-balanced diet plays a vital role in oral health. Diets that are high in carbohydrates wear away at the enamel of teeth and place a child at risk of developing cavities. Parents should also limit frequent snacking and sips of sugary drinks, which increase the acidity level of the mouth and begin the process of cavity formation.
When it comes to oral hygiene, parents should teach their children how to brush properly and encourage them to brush on their own twice every day.
Pit and fissure sealants
Pit and fissure sealants are an adhesive material that is applied in the occlusal pits and fissures in order to prevent the development of caries. It forms a protective layer. It acts as a barrier between the tooth and caries causing bacteria
Indications of pit and fissure sealants are as follows:
- Deep, retentive pits and fissures
- Stained pits and fissures
- Questionable enamel caries in pits and fissures
Contraindications of pit and fissure sealants are as follows:
- Self-cleansing pits and fissures
- Tooth not fully erupted
- Dentinal caries
Fluoride can be delivered either as topical fluoride or systemic fluoride.
Topical fluoride: These include measures designed for professional application in a dental office, such as fluoride containing prophylactic pastes, solutions, gels, varnishes, as well as systems designed for unsupervised home use, such as fluoride dentifrices and rinses.
Indications for topical fluoride use are as follows:
- Caries active individuals
- Those who take medication that decreases salivary flow
- After periodontal surgery when roots are exposed
- Patients with fixed or removable prosthesis
Preventive orthodontics aims at preventing the development of malocclusion by maintaining the integrity of normally developing dentition.
Preventive orthodontics includes the following:
- Parent education
- Caries control
- Care of deciduous dentition
- Maintenance of quadrant wise tooth shedding time table
- Check up for oral habits and habit breaking appliance if required
- Extraction of supernumerary teeth
- Space maintenance
The best treatment is prevention. The first step in maintaining good dentition is to maintain good oral hygiene and control abnormal oral habits.