We admit it, visiting the dentist every six months is not something anyone gets excited about. However, it is strongly recommended that you visit the dentist regularly to help keep your mouth functioning normally and prevent any future dental problems.
An ounce of prevention can go a long way when it comes to oral health. One of the primary reasons for these routine checkups is to identify early signs of problems before they become major issues. Identifying these problems early helps to prevent future problems that can be both costly and painful. More importantly, it can help you avoid harmful overall health problems.
A Typical Dental Check-Up
Have you ever considered skipping a dental check-up due to time, cost, or even because you get anxious about what the dentist will think of your teeth and gums?
Well, you should probably think again. Routine check-ups will help save you time, money, and peace of mind. Plus, you’ll walk out with clean and shiny teeth.
Whenever you go in for a dental checkup, the dental hygienist or certified dental assistant will take over first and perform a thorough teeth cleaning. Once they are done polishing and cleaning your teeth and gums, the assistant or hygienist will report their findings to your dentist. They may also perform x-rays or fluoride varnish treatment depending on your age, the state of your teeth, and the length of time since your last visit.
Once your teeth have all been cleaned, the dentist will personally examine your teeth and gums and checks for anything the hygienist may have missed. They may recommend additional dental treatments based on their findings or give you advice on how to keep up your maintenance of healthy teeth and gums.
Preventing Plaque, Tartar, and Cavities
Since oral diseases caused by tooth decay affect over 3.5 million people worldwide, regular dental checkups are actively encouraged. Tooth decay can be caused by multiple things; however, it is primarily associated with the build-up of plaque and tartar which may result in cavities.
As explained earlier, the first step in a dental check-up is the cleaning by the dental hygienist. This specific cleaning focuses on assessing overall oral health and the removal of any plaque or tartar built around your teeth’s surface over time.
Leaving plaque unattended allows tartar to form. When this occurs it causes damage to the surface of the teeth, increasing the possibility of having cavities. Consistent dental visits help treat any causes of damage to the teeth and the reduces the chance of creating cavities.
The Prevention of Gum Disease
Gum disease is categorized into two measures. The first is preventative measures to stop periodontal disease from occurring in the first place and the second is managing the occurrence of periodontal disease.
So how do consistent dental check-ups prevent gum disease?
First, regular dental visits hold the patient accountable for their teeth. These dental check-ups evaluate the patient’s oral health habits and gives the dentist time to offer advice on how to improve dental hygiene.
Additionally, these regular visits and professional cleanings help to prevent gum disease and ensure that it does not progress. The dentist will also use medical imaging technologies such as X-rays to examine the jaw, teeth, and gums in order to make effective and efficient decisions regarding treatment plans.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Have you ever experienced swelling of your gums? Or, perhaps, do your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth? This may be a sign of gum disease, which, if left untreated, has the ability to destroy your jawbone. The primary signs of gum disease consist of the following:
- Halitosis or bad breath
- Gum recession
- Hardened plaque (tartar) around the teeth
- Loose teeth
- A foul taste in your mouth that does not disappear
A good rule of thumb supported by the majority of dentists is that it is absolutely crucial that you brush and floss your teeth twice daily. This helps prevent swelling around the gums and gives you fresh breath, but more importantly, it reduces the risk of you getting gum disease.
If your dentist diagnoses you with gum disease it is important to take action immediately, or else you risk losing many of your natural teeth.
Screening for Oral Cancer
Routine dental checkups also allow dentists and hygeinists to screen for any abnormalities in the mouth, such as oral cancer. Oral cancer can have serious consequences such as speech problems, dysphagia, and potentially life-threatening issues. Going to the dentist every 6 months helps to catch any early signs of mouth cancer.
Keeping Bad Habits In Check
We all have habits that can have negative effects on our overall oral health. In fact, many common daily habits such as chewing ice, biting our nails, smoking, and the consumption of alcohol and sugary foods can cause dental health issues.
When you go in for your next dental check-up, the dentist will check for any oral damages that may have been caused by these habits. The information given to you in this checkup will allow you to change your lifestyle choices to prevent additional damage.
Head, Neck, and Lymph Node Check-Ups
In addition to checking your gums, teeth, and tongue your dentist may also examine your head, neck, and lymph nodes. This type of dental exam allows the dentist to identify abnormalities within these specific areas.
Having an abnormality in one of these three areas could be a sign of a certain type of cancer or disease, which often require immediate attention. Taking the time out of your day to schedule an appointment with the dentist is a large step you can take to prevent various cancers or identify early onset problems concerning your overall general health.
How often do I Need to go in for a Dental Checkup?
Most dentists and hygienists recommend that you come in for a professional cleaning and check-up every six months in order to maintain good oral and overall health.
Here at Clock Tower Dental, we know just how important your oral health is to your overall health. We don’t neglect your regular 6-month checkups. Give us a call to schedule your next dental checkup, and don’t be afraid to reach out if you have any questions whatsoever. Our qualified dental staff is here to make sure that your next visit is a smooth one!