Visiting the dentist every six months may not be exciting, but it is one of the most important appointments to keep. So if you are wondering what the purpose of regular dental cleanings and checkups is, here is something to consider.
If you’re considering skipping a dentist’s visit due to cost, time constraints, or dental anxiety, think of all the risks first. In the long run, the cost of not visiting your dentist is likely to be much higher, both in terms of your wallet and your peace of mind. The following are some of the most important reasons you should see your dentist regularly:
- Oral Cancer Detection
Oral cancer is a very dangerous disease that often does not present with symptoms. As such, it can go for a long time unnoticed until it becomes very difficult to treat and spreads to other regions of the body. Fortunately, early-stage oral cancer is often easily treatable.
If you visit your dentist regularly every six months, you are much more likely to find oral cancer early, and your dentist is well trained to recognize the signs and symptoms. The key to successfully treating oral cancer is recognizing it in its early stages. You may not notice oral abnormalities, but your dentist will.
- Plaque, Tartar, and Cavities
Even if you brush and floss daily, there are still some places in your mouth that you may miss. Typically, plaque becomes harder to remove over time, solidifying and turning into tartar, which is difficult to remove without the help of a professional.
Dental cleanings prevent tartar from eroding teeth or creating holes in them, which is how cavities develop. Once a tooth is already decayed, cavities rarely display any warning signs as they form, causing only a slight ache. Having already damaged your teeth, you will need to visit the dentist to get the cavities filled, which is more expensive than cleanings. Getting regular cleanings will take care of the plaque and tartar before they can become damaging.
- Gum Disease
Plaque and tartar buildup can cause tooth decay as well as erode the gums. In addition, the gum pulls away from the tooth when tartar buildup causes an infection. As gingivitis advances, the tissue that attaches gums to teeth is destroyed. At this point, it is officially gum disease, and there will likely be swelling, bleeding, or soreness in the mouth. In addition to destroying gum tissue, gum disease also destroys the bone that supports teeth. The teeth will often loosen or fall out at this point, and a dentist will have to take drastic measures to prevent further damage. Regular dental cleanings are essential for catching and treating gingivitis before it becomes a significant problem.
- Keeping Bad Habits in Check
Many bad habits can negatively impact your oral health, some of which you may not even be aware of. These habits include chewing ice, biting your nails, clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth, eating sticky or hard sweets, brushing your teeth too hard, drinking coffee and red wine, and smoking, of course.
During your regular dental checkups, your dentist can look for any oral damage caused by these or other habits that you might not be aware of otherwise. You can prevent further damage by getting informed about these destructive habits.
- Find Problems Under the Surface With X-Rays
An x-ray of your teeth and jawbone is a crucial part of visiting your dentist every six months. An x-ray image shows what is going on underneath the surface of your mouth, allowing dental professionals to find and diagnose issues that would otherwise be invisible. Problems such as this may include impacted teeth, which are growing teeth stuck behind the gum line, such as wisdom teeth. X-ray imaging can also reveal any damage to the jawbone, as well as any bone decay, swelling, cysts, or tumors that are otherwise not visible. The earliest possible diagnosis of these or any major oral problems is vital for a successful treatment. In addition, it’s essential to keep your health in check, especially if you are dealing with a disease that shows little to no symptoms but advances quickly. The best way to do that is with bi-annual check-ups and up-to-date x-rays.
There is more to dentistry than fixing teeth. During professional teeth cleaning, they check for any abnormalities that may otherwise go unnoticed or indicate a more serious issue. So, in addition to making sure your bones are strong, dental professionals can also assist you in correcting habits that could undermine your oral health.
Even though it may not seem important, dental issues can develop and progress very rapidly if they go unnoticed for long periods. So by getting regular dental cleanings and checkups, you’re doing yourself a big favor in the long run.