How to Maintain a Healthy Smile

Posted on: 21 July 2023

Your dentist can help keep your teeth healthy and monitor for signs of future complications like oral cancer. If you haven't been to the dentist in a long time, you're not alone. However, there are many procedures that can help boost your oral health and improve the appearance of your smile. If you would like to know more, keep reading.

Dental Cleanings and Exams

Dental cleanings and exams are incredibly important preventative care. During cleanings, the dentist removes any tartar and plaque to reduce the risk of decay. They may also use fluoride to help strengthen tooth enamel.

During a dental exam, the dentist looks at the gum for signs of gum disease like redness, tenderness, and bleeding. Depending on your age and gum health, they may measure gum pockets. Large pockets increase the risk of gum disease and decay. Dentists also look for signs of weakening enamel, developing cavities, etc. X-rays help the dentist view inside the tooth and the tooth's roots.


If you develop tooth decay, you may have pain or sensitivity. The decayed tissue must be removed and replaced with a filling before it continues to spread. In the past, metal fillings were the only option, but today, most patients choose composite resin or tooth-colored fillings. If the filling is large, or the tooth requires multiple fillings, your dentist may also recommend a dental crown.

Root Canal Treatment

If decay and bacteria reach the tooth's root, it can develop an abscess or tooth infection. While some tooth infections have little to no symptoms, many present with:

  • Severe tooth pain that radiates
  • Bad breath
  • Visible pus

With root canal treatment, the dentist removes all the dead tissue and fully kills the infection. They seal the tooth and top with a crown. This prevents the need for extraction: the only alternative treatment for a tooth abscess.


You may want your tooth extracted if you can't afford root canal treatment. Similarly, if root canal treatment has continually failed to treat the tooth, the dentist may also recommend extraction. Teeth may also be extracted for other reasons, including severe decay and trauma. The dentist may also recommend extraction for:

  • Impacted teeth
  • Non erupted teeth
  • Wisdom teeth

In some cases, the dentist may also suggest extraction before braces to make the finished smile look more natural and less crowded. Depending on the tooth, the dentist may need to perform a surgical extraction, which requires stitches.

The dentist can help give you a healthier and more attractive smile. Even if you've never had a cavity, routine visits allow the dentist to monitor possible future complications. If you would like to know more, contact a dentist today.