Preventative dental care is an essential part of any comprehensive dental plan. But it goes beyond that. Good oral health can impact your general health, as well.
What is preventative dentistry?
Preventative dentistry is dental care that helps maintain your oral health. It’s a combination of regular dental check-ups and developing good oral hygiene habits with brushing and flossing. Taking care of your teeth is a lifetime daily necessity.
What preventative dental services do we offer?
Preventative dental services we offer include the following:
- Dental exams
- Teeth cleaning
- Routine X-rays
- Fluoride treatment
- Dental sealants
- Mouth guards
Your dental insurance plan may partially cover your routine preventative care. Please review your plan prior to your appointment.
What’s your responsibility for preventative dental care?
Preventative dental care begins with you. Developing healthy oral hygiene habits early in life can help reduce cavities and gum disease. Here are the basics of good oral hygiene:
- Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day—usually morning and night—using a soft bristled brush and a fluoride toothpaste. When you visit us, your dentist can instruct you on how to properly brush. They can also recommend which toothbrush and toothpaste to use.
- Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque between your teeth before the plaque hardens into tartar.
- Use a mouthwash to rinse away food particles and re-mineralize your teeth after flossing.
- Try your best to avoid or minimize the intake of acidic foods like lemons that can harm tooth enamel. And if you do consume them, immediately rinse your mouth with water.
- Be cautious with chewing on anything hard as that could damage or chip your teeth.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco products—these can lead to periodontal disease or worse.
- Use a mouth guard when involved in contact sports.
- If you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist for a nightguard to help reduce the premature wearing of your teeth.
Are fillings considered preventative dental care?
Fillings are not considered preventative. They are part of “basic restorative” services, which often include services such as extractions, crowns, and root canals. For these services you’re required to pay toward a deductible, coinsurance, or a copayment, depending on your insurance plan.
What are the benefits of preventative dentistry?
Routine preventative dental exams and check-ups provide the following benefits:
- Reduces your risk for developing tooth decay (cavities), gum disease, and more severe dental problems.
- Early detection of dental problems may save you money and reduce or eliminate the need for extensive treatment.
- Allows your dentist to do a full exam of your head and neck to identify any other related problems (such as collapsed airways that lead to sleep apnea or signs of oral cancer).
- Helps manage dental problems associated with chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, and eating disorders). If you suffer from chronic medical conditions, it is vital to practice preventative dental care regularly.
Do all dental insurance plans cover preventative dental services?
Preventative dental care services play a key role to keeping people healthy, so many dental insurance plans cover them. When you’re choosing a dental plan, look for information related to coverage for diagnostic and preventative services. Make sure you understand the limits and frequencies for preventative care. For example:
- Teeth cleanings: You may only be covered for 2 teeth cleanings a year—1 every 6 months.
- Fluoride treatments: These are considered preventative only for children under a certain age.
- X-rays: Only certain kinds of X-rays—usually bitewing—are covered as routine or preventative and only for a limited number of views.
What is the cost of preventative dental services?
Depending on the type of dental plan you choose, preventative dentistry may be covered 100%. Preventative dental services include oral exam, teeth cleaning, and routine X-rays. There are often limits on how many you can get each year. If you go over those limits, you may be required to pay out-of-pocket, so it’s important you understand the details of your coverage.
Review your dental plan to ensure your preventative care is covered.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.