The key to keeping your teeth healthy throughout your life is to ensure that you take a long term approach to your oral health and that you look in to a dental preventive care package that will ensure that your teeth last a lifetime and reduce the number of problems that might otherwise appear.
Good oral health can also impact your overall health. What is preventive dentistry? What are its benefits? What type of dental plan covers preventive care?
What is preventive dentistry?
Preventive dentistry is all dental care that helps maintain good oral health. It’s a combination of dental checkups as well as developing good habits, like brushing and flossing. Taking care of your teeth begins early in childhood and extends throughout your life.
What are the most common preventive dentistry services?
Preventive dentistry services may include:
Regular oral exams, usually once every 6 months
Your dental plan may fully cover preventive care, depending on the type of dental plan you have.
What is your role in preventive dental care?
Much of preventive dental care begins with you. Developing healthy dental habits in the early years can help reduce cavities, gum disease, and gingivitis. 1 Here are the basics of good oral health:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day (usually morning and night) using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Your dentist can recommend the best toothpaste and toothbrush for you. It can also teach you how to brush properly.
Floss daily to remove food stuck between your teeth before it turns into tartar.
Use a mouthwash to remove any food particles left behind after flossing.
Avoid acidic foods that can damage tooth enamel.
Be careful with hard foods that can damage or chip teeth, such as candy, foods with bones, seeds, or fruit pits.
Do not smoke or use tobacco products: they can cause cancer and other dental problems.
Wear a mouthguard when playing certain sports.
If you clench your teeth while sleeping, ask your dentist for a mouth guard to reduce gum recession.
What type of dentist provides preventive dental care?
There are many different types of dentists and dental specialties. Those who provide preventive dentistry include the following:
General dentist: The general dentist is also known as a family dentist. They’re your regular provider, the one you go to when you need routine preventive care like teeth cleanings, exams, or X-rays. They also do fillings and other basic dental care services. One of the most important roles of the general dentist is to guide you in proper dental care: they can identify any potential problems before they become serious, help you adopt healthier habits, and refer you to a dental specialist if you need additional care.
Pediatric Dentist (Children’s Dentist): Pediatric dentists specialize in dental care for children. Most children start their dental care sometimes as soon as the first tooth appears. In many cases, the pediatric dentist will continue to see children well into their teens. In addition, it provides both preventive dentistry services and more specialized care if needed, including extractions, fillings, and oral surgery in some cases.
What is preventive dentistry for children?
Preventive dental care can begin when the first tooth appears. 2 Preventive dentistry for children can help identify problems early in childhood, before they get worse and cost more, as they often do. Services generally include the following:
Encouragement of good dental habits, including brushing and flossing; advice on the habit of thumb sucking; and advice on eating habits that help improve dental health.
Regular teeth cleanings and oral exams, usually once every 6 months
Fluoride application (generally up to a certain age)
Routine x-rays to monitor the development of the jaw and teeth
Proper sports mouthguards
Referrals to see orthodontists for crooked teeth
Referrals to see other dental specialists if needed
Help identifying health-related issues that may impact a child’s dental health
Before you schedule a visit to the dentist, check the details of your dental plan to find out what it covers and when.
Are fillings considered preventive dental care?
Fillings or fillings are not considered preventive care. They fall under “basic restorative” services, which often include fillings, extractions, and root canals, among other benefits. For these services, you may be required to pay toward a deductible, coinsurance, or copayment, depending on your dental plan.
What are the benefits of preventive dentistry?
Regular preventive dental exams offer the following benefits to your oral health:
They help reduce the risks of developing tooth decay, gum disease, or more serious dental problems.
They help promote good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing.
They allow early identification of dental problems and thus minimize their treatment and cost.
They allow your dentist to carry out a complete examination of your mouth, jaw, neck, etc., to identify any related problems.
They help reduce dental problems related to certain chronic medical conditions. Diabetes, osteoporosis, certain types of cancer and eating disorders can impact oral and dental health. 4 For people with chronic conditions, preventive dental care is an important part of their overall health.
Do all dental plans cover preventive dental services?
Preventive dental care is an important part of a person’s overall health, which is why many dental plans cover it. When choosing a dental plan, look for information about coverage for diagnostic and preventive services. Make sure you understand the limits and frequencies for preventive care. For example:
Dental cleanings: Your plan may only cover two dental cleanings per year, one every six months.
Fluoride treatments: These are considered preventive only for children under a certain age.
X-Rays: Only certain types of X-rays, usually bitewing or interproximal X-rays, are covered as routine or preventive, and only for a limited number.
How much does preventive dental care cost?
Depending on the dental plan you choose, it may cover 100% of your preventive dentistry. Preventive dental care includes oral exams, dental cleanings and routine x-rays. There are often limits on how much you can get each year. If you exceed that amount, you may have to pay out of pocket, so it’s important to understand the details of your coverage.
Preventive dentistry is an important part of taking care of your health. Check all your dental plan documents to make sure it covers preventive care.
Hi, my name’s Gina Long. I'm a successful businesswoman and love to stay healthy. I consider health and wealth to be an essential part of my makeup. In this blog, I talk about these things that are essential to me and hopefully my readers.