Health

The When And Why Of Dental Visits

Dental and oral hygiene has evolved over time. In the past, most people would just visit a dentist when an oral problem arises. These days, however, insurance can already cover annual dental check-ups and even routine teeth cleaning sessions. 

The general rule is that a person should go for a routine dental checkup every six months, but if one has pre-existing issues, they should go every three or four months. And in the event that you do find yourself in the midst of a dental emergency, click here. In the meantime, this post will explore some of the reasons why you should schedule a regular dental checkup:

  • Teeth Cleaning

Most people assume that if they just brush their teeth regularly, then there’s no need to have them cleaned by a dentist. However, that’s certainly a misconception. When a dentist cleans your teeth, they are removing all the plaque that has accumulated over time. In addition, they can remove tartar (hardened plaque) using a process called scaling. Tartar can’t be removed by normal brushing. If these substances aren’t removed over time, you run the risk of contracting various oral diseases.

  • Gum Check

A dentist will use a tool called a periodontal probe to check your gums. Healthy teeth will have shallower pockets whilst larger pockets in the gums around your teeth are an indication of some oral problems.

Most people won’t even realize they have periodontal gum disease until it has reached a later stage. This condition can cause a patient to bleed heavily from the gums and in a worst-case scenario, the affected gums may also infect the teeth surrounding it, causing a domino effect that compromises your overall oral health. A routine check will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

  • X-Rays

A dentist may request to take x-rays of your mouth to uncover problems that may be difficult to see in plain sight. This is usually done on people who experience intermittent pain that never seems to go away. This is often a symptom of obstructed teeth, and can only be diagnosed when seen on an x-ray scan. Your dentist may also require an x-ray if you have problems or issues with your jaw.

  • Cavities And Decay

Cavities are little holes that appear in the teeth as a result of tartar build-up and it rarely manifests itself in a manner that you can detect. By the time you feel the pain, the cavity has already been formed.

The quicker a cavity is noticed, the cheaper it is to treat. While checking for cavities, a dentist also checks your existing fillings to ensure that they are secure and that no further decay has occurred.

  • Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is caused usually by poor lifestyle choices that include drinking too much alcohol, cigarette smoking, and overall poor oral hygiene. Oral cancer, unfortunately, has no glaring warning signs but is easily detectable with regular dental exams. In its early stages, it is fairly easy and cheaper to treat.

  • Other Checks

During a routine checkup, your dentist will perform additional checks that will involve your face, neck, lymph nodes, tongue, and neck. While they are not trained to treat all the problems they may find, it is within their scope to identify other potential health issues and refer you to another specialist for assistance and further diagnosis.

Common symptoms that are easily discovered by your dentist would be swollen lymph nodes and a swollen uvula. They can also detect indicators of tonsillitis and other illnesses. They can also help you pinpoint possible causes of dry mouth or bad breath (halitosis) and refer you to a medical doctor for further diagnosis and care.

  • Follow Up Care

Your oral hygiene journey doesn’t end after a dental procedure or surgery. It only begins there. Your dentist will give you guidance and a schedule to follow in ensuring your teeth stay in top shape. Follow this guidance and you’ll save yourself frequent visits to their offices.

Conclusion

As shown, regular dental care and checkups are crucial for a variety of reasons. Since the mouth is one of the most used parts of the body, it’s necessary to take utmost care of it. Having healthy teeth and gums can boost confidence and improve your quality of life—considering you need these parts to bite and chew food properly. So, as much as possible, schedule an annual visit to your dentist. Older people might even need a bi-annual checkup.

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