Finding the right dentist in New Braunfels is a vital consideration – you will need to work with a highly trained, professional dentist to ensure good oral health, and to provide preventative and general dentistry, including dental exams, general dental care like cleanings, fillings and the like, and a great deal more. Of course, many new patients do not understand all of the services that fall under the heading of preventative and general dentistry. In this guide, we will walk you through what you need to know about these treatment options available from your dentist.

Which Treatments Fall Under the Preventative and General Dentistry Heading?

While you might initially think about treatments like teeth whitening or even veneers and crowns, those are not part of preventative and general dentistry. Rather, they are part of cosmetic dentistry. They are treatments designed to be applied to improve the appearance of your teeth but do not actually do anything to improve your oral health. For this reason, cosmetic treatments are not usually covered by your insurance.

Preventative and general dentistry, on the other hand, include treatments that are essential for maintaining and improving oral health and are the primary dental care treatments that your insurance covers. Some of the most common treatments include the treatment options outlined below.

Dental Exams

Dental exams should be a routine part of your life. You should schedule dental exams at least once every six months. Not only are these important for assessing your general oral health and identifying problems like cavities that need to be filled, but they can be important opportunities to catch potentially serious problems like oral cancer that, if left untreated, could have a profound effect on your quality of life.

During dental exams, your dentist will also check for things like tooth decay, receding gums, signs of periodontal disease and more. The purpose of dental exams is to prevent future problems, and if those issues are caught soon enough, many can be eliminated before they cause damage to your teeth, gums or the soft tissue in your mouth.

In general, your dental exam will consist of a full inspection by an oral hygienist, combined with a tartar removal. If the hygienist notices potential issues, he or she may order x-rays to be taken. Your dentist will discuss the visit with you before you leave, as well as any potential problems, actions that you need to take, and more.

Routine Cleanings and Checkups

These are the primary areas of preventative and general dentistry – cleanings and checkups. They are generally scheduled at the same time as your twice-yearly dental exam. They are important for many reasons, not the least of which is to remove plaque buildup from your teeth and gum line, as well as to assess your overall oral health.

During your cleaning and checkup, the dental hygienist or the dentist will examine your mouth and then clean all around each tooth. This will usually involve the use of a manual scraping tool to remove buildup from the tooth and around the gum line. You will also have your teeth polished with a small automatic polisher and a dental polishing compound. This brightens your smile and can help to remove extrinsic staining (note that preventative and general dentistry methods do not treat intrinsic staining).

If the dentist or hygienist notices anything potentially problematic during the initial assessment/checkup or the cleaning process, he or she may order x-rays to be taken. After the cleaning, you will schedule your next appointment, as well as discuss any steps that need to be taken for better oral care with your dentist. If there are serious problems or potential problems, your dentist will discuss those with you at this time, as well.

Fillings

While fillings technically fall under the banner of restorative dentistry, rather than preventive and general dentistry, most general dentists do provide fillings as part of their general services. However, the days of lead-based fillings that stand out like eyesores in your mouth are long gone.

Today, most fillings are composite, and they are capable of matching the color of your teeth so they blend in almost invisibly. There are many other benefits to using composite fillings to older amalgam fillings, as well. For instance, in order to fill a cavity with amalgam, your dentist would need to remove a significant portion of healthy tooth material from around the cavity. With composite fillings, much less material needs to be removed.

In addition, composite fillings actually last a lot longer than amalgam fillings. However, note that some teeth (and oral health problems) cannot be treated with composite fillings. In these instances, inlays or onlays may need to be used. If those are not usable, then your dentist in New Braunfels may recommend crowns, instead.

Cancer Screenings

As frightening as it is, oral cancer is one of the most survivable if it is caught early on. In fact, it is possibly the most easily treatable form of cancer when caught in the beginning stages, other than perhaps skin cancer. You should receive an oral cancer screening at least twice per year, during your checkup and cleaning.

However, you should feel free to schedule an oral cancer screening with your dentist at any point if you feel that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. An oral cancer screening will consist of a visual examination of your teeth, gums and the soft tissues in your mouth. Your dentist will also examine your neck and face for signs of swelling or other signs that might indicate the presence of oral cancer.

Anything that appears cancerous or precancerous may be addressed with a biopsy, as well. Note that if you are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer, due to the use of alcohol, smoking or the use of smokeless tobacco, you might want to schedule your oral cancer screenings more frequently.

X-Rays

X-rays are vital tools in the world of preventative and general dentistry. X-rays are used to discover signs of decay, bone loss, tooth damage and more. You will also find that this technology has evolved considerably over time. Having dental x-rays taken is much more comfortable and much faster than it once was.

The accuracy has also been improved. In New Braunfels, your dentist will use an intraoral camera and digital x-ray technology. This will allow a good view of your jawbone, your teeth, and even the tissue of your gums. The process takes only a few seconds and uses 90% less radiation than other methods. Our dental office uses an advanced system, called DIAGNOdent Laser Cavity Detection and CariVu to ensure precision, speed, and accuracy. It is all part of our commitment to ensuring the best possible dental care to all of our patients.

Periodontics

When it comes to periodontics, most people think of periodontal disease. That makes sense, as this is probably one of the most common problems diagnosed in adult patients. However, your dental care should include more than just an examination for periodontal disease. Your general dentist should be able to provide a full range of periodontics treatments.

For instance, gum re-contouring to help combat problems stemming from gingivitis should be included, as should gingivectomy treatments and even frenectomy treatments. All of these treatments can play important roles in general oral health and should be provided as needed by your general dentist.

Dental Hygiene

While preventative and general dentistry will ensure that you visit with a dental hygienist twice per year during your bi-annual checkup and cleaning, you should also be able to schedule a dental hygiene appointment. This is an opportunity for you to discuss with a general dentist whether or not you are doing what you can to protect your oral health.

For instance, you might be able to learn whether or not your flossing habits are correct, or whether you are brushing with too much force or too little. You can learn about the correct type of toothbrush to use, how to treat chronic bad breath, how to care for restorations like crowns, implants or dentures, and more.

Root Canals

Root canals play an important role in general dentistry. Once, these were frightening, painful experiences that patients dreaded. Today, things have changed. New technologies, as well as new sedation options, make root canals virtually painless. In fact, many patients report more discomfort when having a cavity filled than when having a modern root canal.

Root canals must be performed when the root of a tooth has become infected, and you notice pain, swelling, and other signs. In this process, you will first receive anesthesia to numb the tooth. Then, the root will be drilled out to completely remove all infected material, and the tooth will be capped with a composite filling or crown.

Does a General Dentist Only Offer Preventative and General Dentistry?

Most dentist offices in New Braunfels and the surrounding area will offer preventative and general dentistry treatments, as these are the most commonly required options by patients. However, you should make sure that your general dentist offers more than basic treatments. You should have access to a full spectrum of modern dental solutions to help improve and maintain your oral health and to boost your self-esteem and self-confidence. What other treatments might you have from your dentist?

Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry includes a very wide range of treatment options, all of which are designed to make your smile brighter, whiter and bolder. For instance, braces fall under cosmetic dentistry, as do porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, smile makeovers and even dental bonding. Each of these treatments fills a different need, but all of them apply to the appearance of your teeth primarily, and oral health secondarily. At Rivercrest Family Dental, we’re proud to provide our patients with access to a full range of cosmetic dentistry treatments, in addition to our preventative and general dentistry solutions. Want to make sure your smile is bright, white and aligned perfectly? We invite you to get in touch with us today.

Restorative Dentistry

Restorative dentistry is the name given to the range of treatments that help to restore your smile to what it was after it has been damaged. For instance, you’ll find that we can provide dental bridges, dental crowns, dental implants and dentures as part of our restorative dentistry repertoire. At Rivercrest Family Dental, we are more than just a general dentist office – our treatments include options to address every potential need you or your family might have.

These are just a few of the additional treatment options to which you should have access to the right dental office. At Rivercrest Family Dental, we are dedicated to ensuring that each patient can take advantage of the treatment options they need to achieve ideal oral health.

Schedule Preventative and General Dentistry Treatments with Your New Braunfels Dentist

Has it been some time since you had a checkup and cleaning? Are you experiencing the pain of a cavity? Are you concerned that you might be developing periodontal disease, or that oral cancer may have developed? We can help with these issues and much more. We invite you to call Rivercrest Family Dental at our New Braunfels office at 830-625-7611 to schedule an appointment. You can also use the contact form on our website if you would prefer. We look forward to helping ensure you enjoy the best possible oral health!