People often neglect a vital part of oral care—going to the dentist for regular dental checkups. For some, it is their fear of dentists and their equipment. For others, they simply don’t see having the check up as important enough to squeeze into a busy schedule.
Here are some benefits of regular dental checkups, as well as some recommendations on how often you should schedule a checkup.
The best way to calm fears about going to the dentist is to know what to expect, and to learn the benefits of the good dental check up by your dentist. A checkup will sometimes involve the use of x-rays to make sure that teeth are healthy. This allows the dentist to see damage that may not yet be clearly visible, such as developing a new cavity. A new cavity, if diagnosed early, can heal—and with a little non-invasive professional intervention and guidance by your doctor, will never need to be drilled and filled.
Prevention is a cornerstone of a good professional dental care. The dentist will also screen for oral cancer. Incidences of oral cancer are on the rise, and diagnosed early, can save one’s life. The dentist or hygienist will evaluate your oral hygiene and help you to modify your home technique to achieve the best results in order to maintain a good oral health.
The other main purpose of a dental checkup is to receive dental prophylaxis. Don’t worry, that’s just a fancy way of saying that your teeth will be professionally cleaned. You will receive a much better cleaning along the gum line than you can do at home. Plus, you will have tartar removed from below the gum line, which is virtually impossible to do at home. Dentist will also evaluate gingival inflammation and assess the status of periodontium – or gums. Sometimes they may recommend localized teeth scaling to improve gingival health and to prevent an outbreak of periodontal disease.
The biggest benefit that comes from dental cleaning is that tartar you can’t get to yourself will be removed. This will keep your gums healthy and reduce the risk of gum disease, such as periodontal disease and the complications that can result, like teeth sensitivity, teeth mobility, dental abscesses, bone loss, and eventually teeth loss. You will also have better-smelling breath without bacteria hiding below the gum line, out of reach of your toothbrush. In addition, during the cleaning, your dental professional will be able to detect any health issues involving your teeth and gums. Early detection of disease is critical in protecting your teeth and gums.
Dental professionals recommend a visit every six months if your teeth and gums are healthy. However, if you suffer from gingivitis, periodontal disease, or other tooth-and-gum conditions, your dentist may recommend moving your visits up to every 2–4 months. If your dentist recommends this, take it seriously. It’s not a scam to get money from your health insurance. Your dentist will ask you to come back more regularly only if your mouth requires extra care to maintain your health. Remember, prevention is easy, less costly and more effective than the alternative: costly treatments of advanced disease.