It is understandable if you don’t look forward to going to the dentist. Even some of the less invasive dental treatments can be uncomfortable. Some people even avoid the appointments out of fear or they might skip visits because they think it will help them save money on dental care.
What you might not realize is that by skipping dental appointments, you are probably making the problems worse. Regular dental checkups and cleanings play an important role in maintaining your health. If you avoid these dentist visits long enough, it can result in significant health issues that may require extensive treatment and higher costs.
How Often Should You Get a Dental Checkup?
Most dentists and experts recommend going for a checkup and cleaning every six months. While this is a good recommendation for most people, some individuals may need to visit the dentist more often. If your dentist finds that you have significant issues with tooth decay or gum disease, they might recommend that you come back for more visits. Along with that, there are health conditions, genetic factors, and lifestyle choices that might contribute to a need for more dental examinations.
The Dental Examination
The dental examination is an important part of any routine visit to the dentist. This is the part of the visit that involves the dentist inspecting for any oral health issues.
Your dentist might start by performing a visual inspection of your teeth and gums. During this stage of the examination, the dentist is looking for cavities in the teeth, tartar, and plaque. The dentist will also inspect the gums for signs of gum disease. Beyond a visual inspection, the dentist might also order x-rays or other scans to find cavities that may not be visible at the surface of the teeth.
Along with inspecting your teeth and gums, your dentist will also examine your tongue, mouth, and throat. The dentist should also inspect your face, neck, and lymph nodes. This can help your dentist identify signs of infection or cancer.
If the patient has a history with different oral health issues, has hardware or a dental prosthesis, or mentions specific issues, the dentist might need to add steps to the examination to address the specific concerns of the individual.
With the examination out of the way, the cleaning is the next part of a routine visit to the dentist. Even if you brush and floss your teeth twice a day, this professional cleaning is an important part of preventative dentistry.
When asked about cleanings, Dr. Jajung Yoon, a dentist in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, said, “Routine dental cleanings help prevent cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Dentists can clean the parts of the mouth that patients find difficult to reach and often lead to decay or disease. Regular dental cleanings also lower the risk of tooth loss, eliminate bad breath, improve aesthetics, and promote better overall health.”
Using a small mirror and a range of specialized tools, the dentist or hygienist will remove tartar and plaque from the gum line and from in between your teeth. Once your teeth are clean, they will then use a gritty toothpaste to polish your teeth. This can then be followed by a professional flossing and a rinse.
The Benefits of Routine Dental Appointments
If you only go to the dentist when you have pain or some other oral health issue, you are going to have more problems over time. Regular checkups with cleanings are important for maintaining oral health and for preventing significant oral health issues.
With cleanings, the dentist or hygienist can remove plaque and tartar that might be difficult for the patient to reach at home. The examinations are also important for catching cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues early.
Your dentist can provide useful oral health advice during your visits. A dentist can offer advice on brushing and flossing. They might also be able to provide the patient with advice concerning lifestyle choices that could help with maintaining oral health.
Regular dental checkups will also help you maintain a smile that looks better. The cleanings can keep your teeth healthy and looking good. Along with that, the dentist might recommend treatments that could restore your smile or enhance the appearance of your teeth.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you might have problems you don’t even know about. A person can have cavities or the early stages of gum disease without experiencing pain or discomfort. However, if you start going to your routine appointments now, your dentist can help you address the problem before it gets worse.