When it comes to the health of your teeth and gums, preventive dental care is key. Brushing and flossing help to remove plaque from teeth and a healthy diet keeps your whole body—including your teeth and gums—in good shape. But it’s the routine dental exams and regular cleanings that help to reduce the likelihood you’ll need higher-cost treatments such as periodontal surgery, root canals, extractions and fillings.
Most dental plans, including those offered by Delta Dental of Arizona, pay all or most of the cost for preventive care like cleanings and examinations. But it’s up to the member—you—to use your preventive benefits.
See your dentist regularly
Most plans cover dental exams and cleanings every 6 months. This allows the dentist to check your mouth’s health on a routine basis. During this exam, you may also receive X-rays. Typically, you’ll receive a full mouth X-ray once every 3 years and bitewing X-rays annually. If you’re a Delta Dental of Arizona member, you can log in to the Member Connection for coverage specifics on any of these items.
Seal out decay
If you have children, ask your dentist about a kid-specific preventive procedure — sealants. Sealants act as a barrier to prevent cavities and are placed on the chewing surfaces of back teeth (molars).
Ask for fluoride treatments
Another wonderful preventive treatment for kids is fluoride. Generally applied as a gel or varnish, fluoride is often called nature’s cavity fighter.
Assess your risk for dental disease
Oral health risk is a combination of genetics, personal habits and diet. Since past history of oral disease is also a factor in risk for future dental health issues, you can ask yourself two questions to get a simplified prediction of your risk:
- Have I had a cavity filled in the past 3 years?
- Have I had a periodontal maintenance treatment in the past 2 years?
If you answered “yes” to either question, you may be at higher risk for dental disease. For a clearer picture of your risk for oral disease, use Delta Dental’s LifeSmile Score assessment tool.
By taking just a few minutes to answer some simple questions, you will receive an easy-to-understand oral health score that tells you exactly where you stand for risk of tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer.
It’s important to take good care of your teeth. Regular preventive care, early diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid more costly dental problems that may develop or be worsened by lack of basic preventive care. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy can help you avoid more serious oral health problems down the road.