Preventative Dentistry

Preventative Dentistry

Preventative dentistry is an essential part of our health. Because our oral health is connected to our body and plays an integral role in our overall well-being, there are a number of hygienic habits everyone must adopt to avoid cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, periodontitis, enamel breakdown, and more. Without proper maintenance of our teeth and gums, there are a wide range of problems that can arise. At Dolphin Dental of St. Petersburg, Florida, we want to help educate our patients about oral hygiene and teach them how to maintain their healthy, pearly smiles.

Keep in mind that just because your teeth may be white, doesn’t necessarily mean they are healthy. Sometimes the symptoms of poor oral health are so subtle you don’t even notice them until you see a dentist. But the longer you wait to have an issue addressed, the worse, more painful, and more expensive it can become to treat it.

What is Preventative Dentistry?

There are many forms—all of which are important to integrate into your daily regime if you want a healthy smile. These include:

  • Brushing twice a day using fluoride tooth paste. Fluoride is a natural mineral that is essential in the prevention of tooth decay.
  • Flossing daily to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Replacing toothbrush 2-4x a year, once the bristles begin to fray.
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting annual dental cleanings

Aside from your daily, at home oral hygiene routine, it is imperative you see a St. Petersburg dentist for a preventative dentistry checkup and cleaning—at minimum—once a year. Sometimes it might be recommended you go more frequently, depending on your oral health condition. At Dolphin Dental, we will be able to spot any existing problems and treat them early on, before they have time to escalate.

Who Needs Preventative Dentistry

Everyone benefits from it—especially children who have newly developed teeth.

Our mouths are highly susceptible to harmful bacteria and neglecting to adequately care for your teeth and gums on a daily basis will likely lead to health problems. Problems with your teeth don’t just lead to issues like gum disease, root canals, extractions, and fillings; they can also lead to issues with speaking, and a decrease in one’s self-esteem.

Our mouths are highly susceptible to harmful bacteria and neglecting to adequately care for your teeth and gums on a daily basis will likely lead to health problems. Problems with your teeth don’t just lead to issues like gum disease, root canals, extractions, and fillings; they can also lead to issues with speaking, and a decrease in one’s self-esteem.

St. Petersburg Dentist

At Dolphin Dental in St. Petersburg, we specialize in preventative dentistry and want to help each and every one of our patients learn how to best care for their teeth and gums. In addition to comprehensive examinations, oral surgery, fillings, and an abundance of other services, we also offer preventative dentistry services, such as sealants, which are white plastic coatings applied to the surface of your “biting teeth” to act as a protective barrier and prevent tooth decay.


Fluoride is a highly effective part of your tooth decay prevention program, no matter what your age. When children are young and their teeth are forming, fluoride joins with the enamel surface and makes it harder and more resistant to decay. For adults, fluoride can repair an early cavity even before it’s become visible in the mouth by rebuilding the enamel layer of the teeth. And in older adults, fluoride can help solve the problem of root decay or root sensitivity.Nature’s cavity fighter

Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in many sources of water. Some cities add additional fluoride to their water supply to help fight tooth decay.

Your Fluoride Plan
We recommend that you brush daily with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. In addition, we may recommend fluoride drops or tablets, gels or rinses, or a prescription toothpaste with higher fluoride levels, depending on your circumstances. We can also provide you with a fluoride treatment, in the form of a gel or rinse, immediately after we clean your teeth.

When combined with good oral hygiene habits, including daily flossing and brushing, fluoride can go a long way to ensuring that you keep your natural teeth for a lifetime.

Fluoride protects your teeth by:

  • Hardening the outer enamel layer to protect against decay
  • Helping to relieve root sensitivity
  • Rebuilding the enamel layer once a cavity has begun

Sealants Prevent Cavities

Sealants are a white or colorless plastic coating that is applied to the biting surfaces of back teeth to prevent tooth decay. Sealants offer a great deal of protection against decay by acting as a protective barrier against the bacteria in plaque, the sticky, invisible film that forms constantly on your teeth. The bacteria in plaque turn the sugar and starch in your food into a destructive acid that attacks your teeth for 20 minutes or more each time you eat. Repeated attacks can break down the enamel of your teeth and cause cavities.

Sealants for TeethFrequent brushing and flossing removes much of the plaque, but there are tiny grooves called pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. When applied to the pits and fissures of teeth, sealants create a smooth, slippery barrier that prevents plaque and bacteria from entering these tiny, unreachable and therefore very vulnerable areas. Sealants literally seal out decay!

What Exactly are Sealants?
Because they act as a barrier to decay, sealants are a highly effective tool in our fight against tooth decay. But precisely what are sealants?

Sealants are made from a harmless, tasteless plastic material. They are quick and easy to apply, and go a long way towards preventing decay in both children and adults. The application process is completely comfortable, and can be completed in one visit.

Applying sealants
applying sealants to teethFirst, we clean the teeth that are going to be sealed. Then, the chewing surfaces are conditioned and dried, and the sealant material is painted onto the pits and fissures of the enamel, where it hardens and bonds to your teeth. Sometimes, we use a special, high-intensity light to help harden the sealant.

Home Care with Sealants
Teeth Home CareThough sealants hold up very well against day-to-day chewing, they do eventually wear out and have to be replaced. Hard or sticky candies or other abrasive foods can damage sealants and cause them to wear out faster. We’ll check the condition of your sealants each time you come in for a checkup, and we’ll let you know if any of them need to be replaced.

One note of caution having sealants on teeth doesn’t make brushing and flossing unnecessary! Daily home care is still essential to ensure a bright, healthy smile.

Low Sugar Diet

Carbonated soft drinks account for almost one-third of Americans’ beverage consumption. Drinking canned soda, even the diet variety, can cause your teeth to look older than they are. The phosphoric acid in soda wears away the hard enamel layer, the artificial caramel coloring stains teeth a dullish brown, and the sugar feeds destructive bacteria that live in your mouth, resulting in decay-producing acids. And perhaps worst of all, some scientists believe that drinking too much soda can actually weaken your jawbone, increasing the chances of losing teeth.

Canned soft drinks contain high amounts of phosphorus, a mineral that can leach calcium from your bones if you consume too much. This can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that makes bones brittle, frail, and susceptible to fracture. How does this affect your teeth? Your jaws are made of bone, and as your bones weaken from insufficient calcium, their grasp on your teeth becomes weak. Eventually your teeth loosen and fall out.

“We see a number of young women in their teens who, I believe because of poor dietary habits such as drinking diet soda and not getting enough calcium, have the jaws of much older women,” said Ken Wical, D.D.S., professor of restorative dentistry at Loma Linda University. Dr. Wical added that ‘by the time they are in their thirties, these women frequently lose their natural teeth and are wearing dentures.’

Drinking soda in place of milk can have serious consequences for your bones. Americans today drink 70 percent more soda than they did in the early 1980s, often at the expense of other, more healthful beverage choices. Without drinking milk, it can be difficult to get the 1000-plus milligrams of calcium you need each day.

So next time you’re thirsty, reach for a glass of low fat milk (or calcium-fortified soy milk) instead of a soda. That way, your beverage won’t be staining your teeth or wearing away their enamel. And you’ll be strengthening your bones and teeth, which will go a long way to insuring that your natural smile lasts a lifetime.


Injuries to the mouth and face are the number-one sports trauma, and a dental injury is painful, costly, and permanent. Fortunately, many mouth injuries can be prevented by wearing an athletic mouth protector also called a mouthguard.

A mouthguard is a soft plastic appliance that fits over the teeth. When a properly designed mouthguard is worn, the lips, cheek, tongue, and jaws are protected, as are the teeth. The American Dental Association estimates that mouthguards prevent 200,000 injuries each year in high-school and college sports alone.

Most people are aware that sports mouthguards are mandatory for participation in high-contact sports such as football, boxing and hockey. But what many people don’t realize is that the majority of mouth injuries occur in children between the ages of 7 and 14, often while participating in commonplace activities like skateboarding, rollerblading or bike riding! Mouthguards should be worn during all activities where there is a risk of falling or head contact, either with another player or a piece of equipment. The Academy for Sports Dentistry has identified 35 activities and sports in which mouthguards should be worn to prevent orofacial injury, including baseball, soccer, basketball, martial arts, skiing, volleyball and gymnastics.

The most common mouth injuries are broken or lost teeth, but a blow to the mouth or jaw can also cause jaw fractures, head and neck injuries, concussions and cerebral hemorrhage, jaw dislocations and problems with the jaw joint.

Choosing a Mouthguard
There are three types of mouthguards available: stock mouthguards, boil-and-bite mouthguards, and custom-made mouthguards. The effectiveness of stock mouthguards and boil-and-bite mouthguards is limited even questionable because the fit is so often loose, bulky and uncomfortable. Breathing and speaking are impaired, and because of this, it’s likely that these types of mouthguards will just be left in the gym bag! Custom-made mouthguards are by far the best choice.

For about the cost of a good pair of athletic shoes, custom mouthguards offer:

  • Sufficient thickness in critical areas, so protection is maximized
  • The best possible fit and retention
  • Greater durability, which means less frequent replacement

Custom mouthguards are created specifically for you by professional technicians, using a material that is resilient, odorless and tasteless. To fabricate a custom-made mouthguard, on the first appointment, we take impressions of the teeth. From these impressions, we make models of your teeth. The mouthguard is fabricated on the models to ensure that the fit is precise. Then, on your next appointment, we try in and adjust your mouthguard as necessary to make sure protection and comfort are optimized.

While any mouthguard is better than none at all, a custom mouthguard is far more comfortable and offers a much higher degree of protection for the mouth, teeth and jaw. They may cost a bit more than off-the-shelf varieties, but their precise fit, comfort and excellent quality make them well worth the additional cost.

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