Preventive dentistry is the branch of dentistry that concern with the prevention of disease, the maintenance, and promotion of oral health. Preventive care is a modern approach to dentistry. It aims at reducing the amount of dental treatment that we may need by working together with a dentist and dental hygienist, to maintain a healthy mouth. The hope is to avoid the traditional cycle of fillings and extractions.
With ongoing co-operation between patient, dentist and hygienist, preventive dentistry can change the traditional pattern of continuing treatment to one of continuing dental health, so that teeth last a lifetime. This is important because teeth help us to chew and digest food, to pronounce different sounds properly, and also give shape to your face. A healthy smile is a great asset.
Preventive dentistry comprises three main divisions
1. Pediatric Dentistry
2. Community Dental Health
It is the branch of dentistry that deals with the health children's teeth from birth through adolescence. It promotes the dental health of children as well as the educational resources for parents.
Many pediatric academies and health associations recommended that a dental visit should occur within six months after the presence of the first tooth or by a child's first birthday. This is important to establish a comprehensive and accessible ongoing relationship between the dentist and patient – referring to this as the patient's "dental home". This is because early oral examination aids in the detection of the early stages of tooth decay. Early detection is essential to maintain oral health, modify aberrant habits, and treat as needed and as simply as possible. Additionally, parents are given a program of preventative home care (brushing/flossing/fluorides), a caries risk assessment, information on finger, thumb, and pacifier habits, advice on preventing injuries to the mouth and teeth of children, diet counseling, and information on growth and development.
Community Dental Health
It is a specialty concerned primarily with prevention of dental decay and of periodontal disease (disease of the tissues surrounding the teeth).
Public health dentistry is practiced generally through governmentally sponsored programs, which are for the most part directed toward public-school children in the belief that their education in oral hygiene is the best way to reach the general public. The pattern for such programs in the past was a dentist's annual visit to a school to lecture and to demonstrate proper tooth-brushing techniques.
The 1970s saw the emergence of a more elaborate program that included a week of one-hour sessions of instruction, demonstration, and questions and answers, conducted by a dentist and a dental assistant and aided by a teacher who had previously been given several hours of instruction. Use was also made of televised dental health education programs, which parents were encouraged to observe. On a larger scale, public health dentistry has been concerned with the improvement of oral health in large populations. Thus, the fluoridation of municipal water supplies in the mid-1940s resulted from research studies conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service.
Orthodontia, also known as orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, was the first specialty created in the field of dentistry. An orthodontist, specialist in orthodontia, is limited to practice orthodontia only. Whereas general dentists can provide orthodontic treatment along with other treatments for teeth like fillings, cleanings, crowns, etc. Orthodontists are concerned with the study and treatment of malocclusions (improper bites), which may be a result of tooth irregularity and/or disproportionate jaw relationships. Orthodontic treatment can focus on dental displacement only, or can deal with the control and modification of facial growth. In the latter case it is better defined as "dentofacial orthopedics".