Dental visit isn’t something most people look forward to. Many people will visit the dentist only when it is necessary and when they are in pain and need of urgent treatment.
But has the thought ever crossed your mind that such emergency treatment turns out to be expensive requiring more of your time and sometimes can involve saying goodbye to your teeth forever!
The wise choice is to get your teeth checked every six months as prevention is definitely better than the cure. Your dentist does way beyond just checking your teeth. During these visits your dentist gets a chance to thoroughly examine your mouth, evaluate your oral hygiene measures and sometimes even help you improve your overall health and lifestyle.
You will be amazed how a simple check up by your dentist can help you. Want to know the importance of regular dental visits? Let’s get into the details.
1. Keep your teeth healthy – keep tartar and cavities away
Despite maintaining home oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing it is possible that you miss out on a few areas. This is where plaque builds up. Gradually plaque hardens to become tartar, also called calculus, which is not possible for you to remove at home.
This plaque as well as tartar is home to harmful bacteria which produce acids and eat up your healthy teeth to form holes called cavities.
This tartar can only be removed with special instruments in a dentist’s office during professional dental cleaning. Regular bi annual checkup and dental cleanings will prevent tartar from damaging teeth. Your dentist knows where to look for and how to spot a cavity even before it shows any symptoms. So you don’t have to wait until you get a tooth ache to get treated.
2. Prevent gum disease
Plaque and tartar result not just in cavities but also harm your gums resulting in gum disease. Gum disease usually starts in a painless manner and progresses slowly. You can get symptoms only when it has reached an advanced stage. The best way to reduce the chances is regularly getting a dental exam.
Initially the bacteria in the tartar and plaque buildup around your gums start to irritate and inflame your gums leading to what is called gingivitis. If left untreated it progresses to gum disease called periodontitis. Here the gums start to pull away forming pockets, along with loss of the underlying bone. They are tender bleed easily, appear red, swollen along with bad breath. Teeth start to become loose, shift and can fall out as well. A regular dental cleaning is not sufficient anymore and needs extremely deep cleaning, and medication and even surgery which add to your discomfort as well as your expenses.
Poor oral hygiene can cause health problems too! Recent research studies have revealed that a type of bacteria that causes gum disease can get into the bloodstream and attach to the heart’s blood vessels resulting in clots that can cause serious heart problems. So there you have another reason to get your teeth cleaned regularly
3. Timely X-rays along with exam findings
There are a few things that are not revealed on checkup but show up on X-rays, such as cavities in between teeth, impacted teeth that are stuck below the gum line, cysts, tumors that show changes in the jaw bone. It’s important to treat them as soon as possible as they can be very destructive, progress rapidly and show little to no symptoms. So the usual X-rays that your dentist takes during regular checkups help.
4. Oral cancer detection
The importance of providing oral cancer screenings by your dentist cannot be emphasized more. The number of people expected to be diagnosed with oral and throat cancer is on the rise and very concerning. But don’t worry; on the bright side early detection is possible during your routine six month dental exam.
A dentist is trained to see and feel for precancerous changes and early cancer in the mouth, so that it can be diagnosed in the treatable stage when the cure rate is high. Your dentist will inspect all areas of your mouth and throat to ensure that everything looks normal. Any white or red patches, outgrowths, lump indicate that something is not right. This can cancer detection exam is painless, quick and can save your life.
5. Detection of bigger problems:
Your dentist’s examination will not just end with looking into the mouth, but will also check your neck, jaw, surrounding lymph nodes, temporomandibular joint (joint of the jaw). Any abnormal changes can help to detect larger systemic problems e.g painless swelling of the lymph nodes can be a sign of cancer or early warning signs of other diseases for which you will be referred to a general physician.
6. Saves money
A professional cleaning is much cheaper than gum disease treatment, similarly fixing a cavity when its small is less expensive than a large filling or a root canal followed by a crown. Thus regular dental visits help you prevent bigger problems that are not just uncomfortable but also add to your expenses and cut into your savings.
7. Put an end to bad habits
Bad habits like nail biting, grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, frequently snacking on food high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, smoking etc can be noticed by your dentist as they can cause changes to your teeth and gums. These chronic problems if not nipped in the bud grow into major problems with widespread consequences. For e.g. Teeth grinding can cause your teeth to wear down, become sensitive, fracture, become loose as well as your jaw joint to ache. It can also give you headaches and neck pain. These further complications are easily avoidable by using a mouth guard. Thus your dentist will educate you about any bad habits as well provide you with a solution.
So don’t skip the six monthly visits to your dentist. It’s a big investment in terms of your time, money and comfort in the long run. Your teeth, gums and mouth will thank you. It is recommended that you visit the dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and cleaning.