In dentistry—and all forms of health care—Warren Melamed is one dental professional who believes problems are best attended to before they become worse, or before they become problems at all. This is the frame of mind he has tried to instill among his many patients throughout his many years of work, but as tooth decay and other oral health issues remain prevalent in America, it seems that preventative dental care is not widely valued in the US.
In a recent press statement, Melamed explains, “Unfortunately, most people still view a trip to the dentist’s office as one that is only necessary if one has an infection, cavity or severe pain. However, many dental professionals—like myself—continue to work to motivate Americans to regularly visit their care provider to not only take care of existing problems, but learn about new ways to prevent possible issues that may occur is one does not follow a strict hygiene routine.”
For this reason, Melamed points to a recent article from Dental Health Magazine that explains, “Preventative dentistry is mainly about preserving the health of the oral cavity, teeth and their Surrounding structures. Health is defined as ‘A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.” Believing that all people should take pride in their oral health care and dental condition, Melamed strongly advises individuals to look into the benefits of preventative dentistry.
While many may consider preventative dentistry as scheduling bi-annual cleanings at the dental office and maintaining a rigid tooth brushing and flossing routine, Melamed notes that some may be surprised to learn that there are three levels of the field. According to the article, preventative dentistry is made up of primary, secondary and tertiary levels of prevention.
Dental Health Magazine reveals, “[Primary prevention involves] the steps taken to take measures and prevent the onset of disease and to halt the progress of any disease which is in its initial stages of development before secondary mode of preventative measures because necessary.” Some practices that may be associated with the primary level of prevention include fluoride application, pit and fissure sealants, plaque control and diet control. For instance, the article states, “Diet control is also a very important aspect of preventative dentistry, where we need to help people be aware of the ill effects of [eating] [a] lot of sticky food, sugars during night time and not brushing their teeth, which will lead to accumulation of food and acid production leading to [cavity] formation and so on.”
In response, Warren Melamed comments, “There is a lot of effort to make sure that patients are aware of how to avoid tooth decay based on the things they eat. Most people are aware that sugars cause cavities, but also breads and carb-rich foods are responsible for this decay, as they all stimulate the growth of bacteria within the mouth. In addition, patients should learn what foods can actually help fortify their teeth.” For example, fruits can boost vitamin C levels to protect gums, dairy can deliver calcium to strengthen teeth and onions are even known to kill cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.
According to Melamed, primary prevention also should include a focus on education among patients. He states, “There needs to be heightened levels of patient education—young and old—to help individuals better understand why regular preventative care is necessary. Patients should not only be aware of how to protect and clean their teeth, but also why these practices are important to oral health and overall well-being.”
When it comes to secondary prevention methods, the article highlights solutions that may prove more invasive in application. Dental Health Magazine explains, “These are steps taken terminate a disease which has started in the oral cavity and to bring back or restore the tissue to its normal situation. The various restorative techniques by removal of [cavities] are the various secondary prevention techniques.” According to the article, some of these secondary levels of preventative treatment may include cavity removal and restoration through the use of varied types of fillings, such as opaque composite or silver amalgams.
Warren Melamed comments, “Secondary prevention methods may not seem preventative, as they are often used to take care of a problem that already exists. And while these treatments may not prove popular among most patients, it is important that they understand these procedures are necessary to prevent worse problems from occurring.”
According to Melamed, if a patient fails to observe the demands of secondary prevention, tertiary practices may become necessary. Dental Health Magazine states, “[Tertiary prevention methods are] the measures taken when there is loss of tissues in the oral cavity; the replacement of these tissues to bring back the normal conditions in physical form to help the patient get back his psychological confidence.”
Although most patients would prefer not to require “tertiary” treatments, Melamed explains that those who make this step are proving committed to making change. “While it is important to encourage youth to practice proper oral hygiene and receive care on a regular basis, it is never too late to begin practicing better dental health. Those patients that have endured infections and require higher amounts of care may feel as if they have already reached the worse point in their dental health. While avoiding the primary and secondary levels of prevention will lead to more problems, engaging in a ‘tertiary’ solution is still a step in the right direction. Trusting in a qualified dental health professional to treat these matters and referring to him or her on a regular basis can mean an improved future for your mouth,” Warren Melamed concludes.
Warren Melamedis a noted dental professional who is known for his work as the CEO and President of Oral Health Management—a Tennessee-based LLC. He is also recognized for founding Monarch Dental in Dallas, Texas—an organization that went public in 1997 and allowed Melamed to take on several roles as Chairman, President and Chief Dental Officer. Although Melamed has made considerable contributions to the health and dental care industry, he is also noted for maintaining charity as a priority and has made numerous efforts to give back to the community through various capacities.