General dentistry is what we call dentistry dedicated primarily to the prevention and treatment of dental disease. It overlaps with restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry, but is often considered to mostly consist of less invasive procedures such as preventive dentistry checkups and cleanings. Although advanced dental restorations may get the most attention, these preventive procedures are really the most important ones in dentistry.
Good Oral Hygiene With General Dentistry
Good oral hygiene is the backbone of general dentistry. Oral hygiene is divided into two parts: the part you undertake at home, and the part that we provide during your regular dental visits.
Home oral hygiene is the most important, because you practice it every day to help maintain the health of your teeth. You should brush twice a day for two minutes. Brush at night just before you go to bed. This helps protect your mouth overnight when saliva production drops and bacteria populations can increase. It’s also a good idea to brush in the morning to remove nightly accumulation. Brushing after breakfast can help by removing food particles that feed oral bacteria. If you want, you can brush during the day, too, after lunch. Always remember to wait half an hour after eating acidic foods or drinking acidic beverages before brushing. Brushing too often and too hard can injure your gums. It’s not necessary to brush after every time you eat.
Floss daily to help clean between your teeth. Make sure to curl the floss around your teeth and get the floss down to the gum line.
It’s also important to make your regular dental checkups. The benefits of visiting your dentist every six months include:
- We can remove hardened plaque (calculus) that you can’t
- We can safely polish your teeth so they look more attractive
- We can check your teeth for decay before it becomes too damaging
- We can identify shortcomings in home oral hygiene and recommend changes
All these will help prevent decay and infection of teeth so you can maintain a more healthy and attractive smile.
Prevention Is Better Than Restoration
As much as we love the challenge of a complex restorative dentistry case or cosmetic dentistry smile makeover, we have to admit that the best thing for you is to take care of your teeth to avoid tooth decay and damage.
There are many reasons why prevention is the best choice for your health. First, your tooth enamel is unique and irreplaceable. Once it’s lost, it’s lost forever, and none of the restoration materials we use are as good.
Once a tooth is damaged, it is vulnerable to an accelerating rate of decay. Once a cavity starts to form, it provides shelter for oral bacteria and can trap food particles, which causes more decay. Even fillings can contribute to the weakening of your tooth, especially metal amalgam fillings, but even ceramic fillings are weaker than your tooth enamel, making your tooth more vulnerable to breakage.
Once bacteria establish a presence in one part of your mouth, they can easily spread to others. Having cavities, for example, can increase the risk that you’ll develop an infection around your dental implants.
Bacteria in your mouth can have harmful effects elsewhere. Gum disease bacteria in particular can contribute to a wide range of serious health conditions, from diabetes to heart disease to cancer.
Prevention Is Vital to Cosmetic Dentistry
General dentistry is a vital part of cosmetic dentistry because healthy teeth are a vital foundation for an attractive smile. Here are some of the ways that good oral health contributes to an attractive smile.
- Decayed or missing teeth make for an unattractive smile
- Gum disease makes teeth vulnerable to drifting, which makes them crooked or crowded
- Red or swollen gums can make your smile look unhealthy
- Receding gums can make your teeth look uneven
- Cavities can undermine cosmetic restorations like porcelain veneers
This is why we say that all of our dentistry is cosmetic dentistry. Even when we’re performing the most basic preventive procedures, we are considering the potential impact on the appearance of your smile.