Preventive dentistry reduces the likelihood of more complicated dental procedures later, such as tooth extraction. At Family Dentistry of Neosho, we provide preventive treatment options to treat tooth decay and oral habits that can harm teeth.
Tooth decay results when bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth interact with sugars in your diet. Sugar causes the bacteria to produce acids that break down the minerals in teeth, forming a cavity.
Dentists remove the decay, fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, and restore the tooth to a healthy state. Severe decay can cause nerve damage and may require a crown (a cap that covers the tooth to make it stronger).
Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment. Simply adhere to a strict dental hygiene regimen to avoid unnecessary decay: brush and floss twice a day, get regular dental checkups, and control diet. Remember to avoid pop and energy drinks and receive fluoride treatment.
Fluoride helps teeth become strong and resistant to decay. Regularly drink water treated with fluoride, brush, and floss to ensure significantly lower cavities.
The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of your back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, which causes cavities. Research indicates that this reaction causes 88 percent of cavities in American school children.
Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions to prevent bacteria and food particles from residing there.
Sealant material is a resin typically added to the back teeth, molars and premolars, and areas prone to cavities. It lasts several years, but requires checking during regular appointments.
Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Children usually stop thumb sucking between the ages of two and four years when their permanent teeth are ready to erupt. If they continue to suck their thumbs beyond this point, the mouth can grow improperly and the teeth can become misaligned.
If you notice prolonged and vigorous thumb sucking behavior in your child, talk to your dentist.
Here are some ways to help children outgrow thumb sucking:
- Praise them when they stop sucking their thumbs instead of scolding them when they do.
- Focus on eliminating the anxiety—thumb sucking comforts children to help them cope with stress or discomfort.
- Praise them when they refrain from the habit during difficult periods.