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  Protective Dental Procedures and Equipment  
There are many reasons for undertaking dental procedures. It could be for dental maintenance, disease treatment, tooth extraction or restoration or even for cosmetic reasons. However, the most common aim is to improve dental health, and occasionally for aesthetic improvement. These procedures may be categorized as the protective/preventive, restorative, and cosmetic/aesthetic dentistry. This section of the web site looks at prtective measures for teeth available from dentists.

Mouth guards

A mouth guard is a resilient device placed inside the mouth. It protects from dental injuries, which are commonly sports-related (e.g. boxing, American football, ice hockey, wrestling, and the like). A properly fitted mouth guard can help prevent broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw.

The physical properties required in mouth guards are shock-absorbing capability, hardness, stiffness, tears strength, tensile strength and water absorption. An effective mouth guard has all these physical properties and is comfortable and easy to clean. It also should not restrict breathing or speech. Modern mouth guards are made from polyurethane and silicon, among others, as this proves superior to the earlier rubber-made mouth guards.

Dental sealants

Dental sealant is a plastic resin that a dentist bonds into the grooves of the chewing surface of a tooth with pits and fissures – usually the molars and premolars-- to help prevent the formation of cavities or “tooth decay”.

Sealants are of many types and classified according to the material used, the method of polymerization and whether or not they contain fluoride. Sealants must be retained in the affected area in order for it to be an effective barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids.

First and the second molars are the main candidates for sealant placement. Patients with a history of dental caries in any tooth are considered high risk and so sealant may be used on them as well. Only teeth with the highest risk are normally given this treatment since sealants are costly.

Fluoride Varnish

Fluorides have been used for many years to help prevent dental decay. Applications of fluoride varnish are a well-established, safe and effective way to reduce caries in decayed or filled surfaces, in smooth surface caries. They are not effective in reducing occlusional caries and should not be used as substitute for fluoridated water or toothpaste. They, however, provide an added benefit for children who are at high risk for dental decay. The main advantage of fluoride varnish is its ability to adhere strongly to the tooth surface, allowing better uptake of fluoride into the enamel.

Fluoride varnishes are painted directly onto teeth and are intended to remain in close contact with enamel for several hours. This treatment is primarily meant for patients with smooth surface caries and for those who are at high risk of developing dental caries. These include insufficient sources of dietary fluoride, high carbohydrate diets, caretakers who transmit decay-causing bacteria to their children via their saliva, areas of tooth decalcification, reduced salivary flow and poor oral hygiene.

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