The Importance of Regular Dental Visits
Regular dental visits are important because they help monitor and keep your teeth, gums and mouth healthy. It is recommended that you visit the dentist at least every six months. For some patients with moderate or advanced periodontal or gum disease, a dental visit may be necessary every three or four months. Often times, individuals with braces or orthodontic appliances will benefit from more frequent cleanings as well, because of the difficulty in keeping everything clean around the braces.
What takes place at your Dental Visit?
There are two parts to a regular dental visit:
Dental Exam or Check-Up
Dental Exam or Check-Up During your Dental Exam, one of our Dental Hygienists or Dentists will evaluate your gums, tongue, throat, palate, floor of mouth, teeth, lips and face. Dental x-rays would be utilized when indicated, an oral cancer screening would be performed and your exam findings would be reviewed with you and charted. Cleaning Consistent and conscientious home care helps remove the majority of plaque from your teeth, but the hard to reach areas will still develop tartar or calculus over time. This tartar or calculus does not come off with a toothbrush or floss since it is calcified onto the teeth, and will require a Dental Hygienist to use special dental instruments to remove these mineralized deposits. Accumulation of tartar or calculus over time will lead to inflammation and eventual recession of the gums, sensitivity of the teeth, and loss of supporting bone adjacent to the teeth.
Benefits of Regular Dental Visits
Brighten your smile – Many foods, drinks and habits stain teeth, including coffee, tea, wine or tobacco. A dental cleaning removes these stains, resulting in freshly polished teeth which whitens and lightens your smile. Detect dental problems – your Dentist and Hygienist will look for early signs of problems with your teeth, gums and existing restorations. Early detection of cavities, broken or cracked fillings, gum disease or lesions of the mouth is more easily treatable. When small problems are allowed to progress into bigger problems, root canals, surgery or tooth loss become the only treatment options. Keep your teeth – gum or periodontal disease which starts as hardened or calcified plaque on your teeth, is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. As gum disease advances, plaque moves further and further down the root, damaging the supporting bone holding your teeth in place. Regular dental cleanings removes the buildup and minimizes loss of gum and bone around your teeth. Boost your health – studies have shown a connection between your oral and overall health. Regular dental cleanings appear to help lower your risk for many cardiovascular diseases. Often times, other medical conditions can also be detected in an earlier stage during your check-up. Freshen your breath – consistent and thorough oral hygiene is the best way to prevent persistent bad breath. The removal of plaque, tartar and calculus which builds up in hard to reach places will help reduce odors. Reinforce good oral hygiene practices – your Dental Hygienist will inform you if you are not cleaning a particular area of your mouth effectively. Your children will also benefit tremendously from professional reinforcement and guidance (from somebody other than their parents) to help them improve their oral hygiene and dietary practices. Save money – numerous studies have shown that people who have regular exams and cleanings, detect and treat their dental problems in an earlier stage, preventing more complex, lengthy and costly treatment in the future; which saves patients a considerable amount on dental expenses over time. Utilize your Dental Insurance benefits – patients who have dental insurance will have a significant portion of their cleanings covered and paid for as part of their benefit and premium package. You or your employer pays for these benefits through premiums and utilizing these benefits are to your advantage; since the insurance companies do not refund your premiums if the benefits are not used. Summary The positive benefits of regular dental cleanings have been proven over time. We hope you will schedule ahead for your cleanings, in order to get an appointment date and time with your provider of choice that best suits your schedule.
Sources & Additional Resources Academy of General Dentistry website & Oral Health Fact Sheets (www.agd.org) American Dental Association website (www.ada.org)