A lot of dental patients do not realize that their dentists offer several different preventative dental care services. Some of these are more commonly performed on younger patients with their parents' permission. However, adults may request these preventative care services too, if they know what they are and are willing to wait the extra time in the dental chair for them. 

Fluoride Treatments

Trays filled with flavored fluoride gel are inserted into your mouth. You'll have to sit there for some time to get the full benefit of the fluoride gel. It helps reinforce weakened areas in your enamel and slows the progression of tiny cavities. Raspberry, mint, grape, bubblegum, mint chocolate chip, and cinnamon are the most common fluoride treatment flavors. If you request this add-on service during your dental hygiene cleaning, be sure to ask which flavors of fluoride your dentist has so that you can pick one that sounds agreeable to you. After the fluoride treatment residue is rinsed from your teeth, you cannot chew or eat anything for an hour or two, so make sure you have already had breakfast or lunch before sitting down in the dentist's chair.

Tooth Varnish

This is a variation on the fluoride treatment, except instead of sitting in the dental chair with gel-filled trays in your mouth, the hygienist or dentist "paints" your teeth with a tacky, clear substance that will dry as a clear sealant on your teeth. It usually takes less than ten minutes to apply. Like the gel-filled trays, you cannot eat or drink for a while after the tooth varnish has been applied. This service generally seals your teeth against harmful, cavity-causing bacteria for up to six months, but it depends on your dental habits and the foods you tend to consume. 

Plaque Removal Under Your Gums

Most hygienists remove the plaque that can be seen along the gum line edges of your teeth. However, plaque can and does exist below the gum lines. There, it creates a plethora of bacteria that causes gingivitis and tooth loss. You can request that this unseen plaque be removed, but you should be aware that it is not always a pain-free service.

People with especially sensitive gums often find that this add-on procedure is painful. It results in some bleeding gums, too, because the dental tools used to remove the hiding plaque are sharp and tend to poke the gums a bit while scraping out the hidden plaque. Still, your gums will heal and they will be healthier for it.