Submitted by: Dr. Pandya
While visiting your dentist once every six months may seem like a waste of time unless you have issues that need attention, these visits can actually prevent problems from occurring and can actually help guard against health issues much bigger than a toothache.
To begin with, good daily oral hygiene habits are crucial in keeping your teeth and gums healthy and regular trips to your dentist can ensure that you are doing everything you can in the way of oral hygiene. If not, your dental hygienist can instruct you on the proper ways of brushing and flossing to keep the bacteria in plaque from doing any damage to either your teeth or your gums.
While proper brushing and flossing removes a large percentage of the plaque that is consistently present in your mouth, some of the plaque gets into places where it can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. And plaque that is not removed, overtime turns into tartar (also known as calculus) that can build up on your teeth both above and below the gum line. It takes special dental tools in the hands of a dental professional to remove tartar buildup. And tartar that is not removed can contribute to periodontal disease (also known as gum disease).
During your six months checkup, your teeth will not only be professionally cleaned, they will also be examined for any issues that may be present from the beginning of tooth decay to periodontal disease. Having your dentist periodically check for periodontal disease is the best to prevent it or stop it in its early stages because gum disease has very few, if any, symptoms before it is at an advanced stage where bone loss is occurring. And studies show that 80 percent of adults in this country have some stage of gum disease most of it undetected.
While periodontal disease is an infection in the mouth and gums, it has far-reaching effects in that it has been linked to systemic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. So keeping your gums healthy is an important part of your oral health, it is also important for maintaining good overall health.
Oral cancer screenings are also performed during regular dental checkups and this process could save your life. Each year worldwide, more than 300,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed, and this disease causes more than 7,500 deaths annually.
During your dental appointment your dentist will also assess any treatments that might be necessary such as repairing a decaying tooth or performing scaling and root planing which is a non-surgical process for stopping gum disease in the early stages. Also, any current restorations that exist in your mouth such as fillings, veneers, inlay, onlays, crowns, implants, partials or dentures will be evaluated to ensure that they are strong and healthy and not causing any problems in your mouth.
Visiting your dentist at least every six months (more often if problems exist) will also save you money because problems that are found and treated in the early stages are much less costly than those that have not been found until they have developed into real issues.
Visiting your dentist at least twice a year should be high on your priority list simply because of the problems that these visits can prevent. Remember, a routine dental checkup can not only save your smile, your dental health and strain your pocketbook, it could also just possibly save your life.
About the Author: Dr. Pandya received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree in 2001. He then completed additional training in Aesthetic at University of California Los Angeles. He also completed certificate in Boston Implant Institute for surgical implant and reconstructive surgeries.
Bay Dental Center