Before actually speaking about dental prevention it may be worth defining what health and disease are. Although a straightforward definition is not easy, disease refers to a dynamic condition which temporarily or permanently alters ordinary body functioning. Consequently, health refers to a condition of general physical, psychological and social wellbeing, and not necessarily to the lack of disease or infirmity.Preventative dentistry, therefore, refers to the practice of preventing the onset of certain pathologies through a series of methods which attempt to avoid the development of risk factors and, subsequently, of a full pathology.There are three main prevention methods:
- Primary prevention
- Secondary Prevention
- Tertiary Prevention
It consists of health promotion preventing the onset of diseases by modifying potentially harmful lifestyle choices that may damage people’s health. It is maninly about health information, education and motivation and is the most important form of prevention as it can help avoid the occurrence of a disease. Classic examples of primary prevention is daily teeth brushing, a healthy and balanced diet, the elimination of disease agents for oral and general health, such as sigarette smoking, drinking alcohol or light drugs consumption.
In short, primary prevention is a multifaceted approach towards a perfect wellbeing, aimed at maintaining and promoting health.
It deals with detecting and addressing an existing disease, e.g a minor inflammation, which can be easily cured by fully restoring ordinary health conditions. An example of secondary prevention is gingivitis, an acute inflammation causing redness, swelling, bleeding. Gingivitis may be caused by bacterial plaque and calculus. In such cases, in-office dental cleaning may fully restore oral health with no permanent damage.
To sum up, secondary prevention is an ordinary clinincal approach, which modifies temporary pathological conditions with the aim to restore immune defences to allow, in turn, complete recovery.
Tertiary prevention attempts to reduce the damage caused by symptomatic disease. In such cases, it would be more appropriate to talk about rehabilitation and treatment rather than prevention as a medical diagnosis and prognosis are performed. An example of tertiary prevention is a denture-on-an-implant.
In conclusion, tertiary prevention is about reducing a disease though medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Prevention entails taking the necessary precautions to avoid the onset of a disease, early disease detection before illnesses become symptomatic and are therefore easier to treat.
The fist step in oral prevention is oral hygiene.
Doctor Bahri Adis strongly recommends a check-up every six months to help prevent diseases or to promptly treat onsetting illnesses.
Prophylaxis is a very simple procedure which removes plaque and calculus build-ups. Professional cleaning helps preventing several periodontal and dental diseases and helps preserve long-term impeccable oral health. The advantages of regular professional cleaning include:
- complete removal of plaque and calculus not just from the teeth surface but also in the interstitial spaces and below the gums;
- preventing the onset of caries, periodontitis (pyorrhea); gingivitis and pulpitis;
- Teeth polishing;
- Teeth whitening;
- Prevention of gums inflammation;
- Dental hypersensitivity (DHS) reduction;
- Teeth strengthening;
- Helps prevent gingival recession;
- Teeth stains removal ;
- Helps prevent premature loss of teeth;
- Helps eliminate halitosis;
While professional prophylaxis every six months is advisable, Dr Adis recommends those patients suffering from pyorrhea, gingivitis, crooked teeth and dental malocclusions to undergo teeth cleaning every four months.
Prophylaxis does not generally require anesthesia, unless otherwise recommended by the practiotioner or unless requested by patients.Some patients in fact suffer from high DHS, so that they may experience discomfort during and after treatment.
Discomfort may vary depending on the buildup of calculus or plaque that needs removal, consequently, the more mineral deposits and bacteria require cleaning, the more discomforting the treatment will be. In order to reduce discomfort to a minimum, prophylaxis should be performed at least once a year.
Prophylaxys consists of three stages:
- first, calculus and plaque build-ups are removed from the teeth surface, from gum pockets and from the gum line. Dr Adis uses ultrasonic scalers which use high-frequency oscillation to destroy mineral deposits and bacteria causing plaque.
- then, AIR-FLOW method is used. AIR-FLOW involves projecting a jet of compressed air, water and fine powder particles onto the surface of the tooth to polish the surface and remove debris. Plaque, soft deposits and colorations disappear quickly and painlessly – even from interproximal areas. Air-polishing is not just a reliable and efficient method for the dental practice, but it also delivers patient comfort because it is nonaggressive and pain-free.
- Finally, teeth polishing is performed by means of a special polishing paste which halts bacteria and caries formation and strengthens the enamel. Patients should refrain from drinking and eating for at least an hour after prophylaxis.
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