When you have a toothache, you probably make a dental appointment. However, preventative dental care can reduce the risk of decay and other oral complications. If you would like to know more about preventative dental care, keep reading.

What's Included in Preventative Dental Care?

For most patients, preventative dental care includes:

  • Regular cleanings
  • Examination
  • X-rays

To clean the teeth, the dentist or dental hygienist removes any plaque and tartar from the teeth, including along the gumline. They also floss between teeth and polish them. During an examination, the dentist looks for:

  • Tooth decay/infection
  • Weakening enamel
  • Gum disease and complications
  • Complications with emerging teeth
  • Signs of oral cancer

The dentist may not perform X-rays during every examination, but X-rays can help monitor health below the gumline. This is particularly helpful for looking for signs of infection. If you have unhealthy gums or large pockets, the dentist may also perform pocket measurements and deep cleaning/root planing.

What Are the Benefits of Preventative Dental Care?

The leading benefit of preventative care is that it helps prevent and/or reduce the risk of more complex oral complications, such as severe tooth decay, infection, gum disease, and tooth loss. Not only can these conditions be painful, but they may be expensive to treat. Overall, regular dental care, including dental cleanings, allows you and your dentist to better monitor your overall oral health.

In many cases, your dental insurance covers the cost of preventative dental care. They may even waive the deductible for preventative care. For restorative procedures like fillings, dental crowns, root canal treatment, and dental implants, you'll pay a lot more out-of-pocket costs.

How Often Do You Need Preventative Dental Care?

It's usually a good idea to visit the dentist about twice a year to monitor your oral health. However, there is nothing wrong with visiting the dentist more often, especially if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Smoke
  • Have gum disease
  • Have diabetes

Depending on your overall oral health and risks, you may need dental X-rays every six months, but many dentists prefer every 18 months unless you have a concern. Ultimately, your dentist will recommend how often you need regular cleanings, exams, and X-rays.

Don't neglect your oral health by ignoring preventative care. Good preventative care can do a lot to prevent many oral complications. If you would like to know more, or if you want to schedule an examination and dental cleaning, contact a dentist in your area.