Dental Hygiene and Exams
More than likely, your last visit to a dental office was for a routine checkup. Why are routine dental examinations so important? Because preventive care enables the dentist to identify and treat tooth decay, gum disease and soft tissue disease in its earliest stages, which is better for you, in terms of treatment options and saving you money!
If it’s been awhile since your last check up, a participating dentist your area a call to schedule your routine cleaning and exam and to stay on top of any tooth decay.
Routine Dental Maintenance Prevents Costly Future Treatments!
Here’s an example that compares routine car maintenance to routine dental care and why it’s so important!
Your automobile manufacturer recommends that you have your engine oil changed every 3,000 – 5,000 miles. Let’s say you wait until it’s now 10,000 miles between oil changes. What might the consequences be?
Well…you’ll put additional wear and tear on your car for sure. Your oil will get dirtier and dirtier causing a build up of sludge in your engine. If you do that too often, the engine parts could wear prematurely and replacing them or getting a new transmission is very costly, compared to the price of an oil change.
Well…the same can be said for your teeth – if you let routine dental care slide, say for a year or more, you could wind up needing more costly and more serious “repairs” than would have been necessary had you stayed on schedule! So call a dentist near you to make an appointment, especially if it’s been awhile since we’ve seen you!
What Does a Routine Dental Examination Include?
A routine dental examination usually begins with a thorough cleaning of your teeth and gums to remove plaque build up, tarter and stains. Having your teeth cleaned regularly helps to prevent periodontal (gum) disease that can cause major dental problems, including loss of teeth, if left undetected and untreated.
Next, the dentist do a thorough soft tissue examination, using both a visual and finger inspection, to detect changes in the soft tissue lining on the inside of your mouth. Any changes might confirm the presence of a benign, pre-cancerous or cancerous condition that could require immediate attention.
The dentist will also perform a periodontal screening to check your gums for any sign of gum disease. It is important to detect gum disease in its earliest stages to achieve the best results, especially if further treatment is necessary.
Routine dental exams also include a visual inspection of each tooth surface to identify new areas of decay and to check teeth that may have had prior restorations.
X-rays may be needed to check the side surfaces of your teeth, the area beneath the gums and other areas that are not clearly visible. X-rays are usually taken according to a schedule and not at every visit.
How Often Should I Come in for Routine Care?
This is one of those questions that really depends upon your health history and the dentist’s recommendations. While some people come in for a cleaning and examination like clockwork, say every six months or so, others may wait up to a year between visits.
There are some reasons that warrant a more aggressive routine dental appointment schedule. More frequent visits are usually advised when patients have an increased risk for oral disease based on age, pregnancy, heavy alcohol and/or tobacco usage, the presence of gum disease, or pre-existing health conditions (e.g., diabetes, frequent dry mouth or a compromised immune system).
An open and frank discussion with the dentist or the hygienist can help you determine how often you should schedule routine cleanings and examinations.