Regular Dental Checkups: Why is It Necessary?

Mar 17, 2021

Dental Care

Regular Dental Checkups: Why is It Necessary?

Practicing good oral health is essential for your overall well-being. It's always sad to see someone avoid visiting their dentist until they experience severe dental issues. Poor dental care not only contributes to compounding oral problems, and therefore unnecessary financial strain but also contributes to other health issues, such as, heart disease and diabetes. It's truly critical to visit your dentist at least every six months to maintain optimal oral health.

Why Do You Need Regular Dental Visits?

By visiting your dentist at least twice a year:

  • It can keep your teeth and gums healthy
  • Dental professionals can detect and look for EARLY signs of infection or problems
  • Early treatment reduces the risk of major dental problems
  • Routine scaling and dental prophylaxis (routine cleaning) can help keep plaque-free teeth, fresher breath and a terrific smile in top shape

What Happens at a Dental Checkup?

A regular dental checkup includes:

  • Checkup or Examination: Your dentist will need an initial complete series of radiographs (x-rays) for a thorough exam. The dentist will be looking at many things and detecting cavities is top of the list. After this initial examination, certain check-up films will be necessary and ordered by your dentist. Your plaque and tartar level will be evaluated; your gums will be measured with a special tool called a probe which is a millimeter ruler and the depth of the “pocket” space of the gums around each tooth is recorded. If your gums are healthy, the gum pockets will be shallow and you will have no bleeding on probing. Bleeding is a sign of active disease and shorter pockets with a lot of areas of bleeding is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is an active and transmissible disease process and you will want to get it cured not only for your own health but also for your partner’s health. Your tongue, face, throat, neck, and head will also be examined to check for any signs of cancer, redness, or swelling.
  • Scaling and Cleaning: Your dentist or dental hygienist will perform the necessary scaling to remove any hardened tartar on your teeth at and below your gum line. If there is substantial buildup on your teeth or substantial gingivitis, you may need more than one appointment to complete your cleaning. Based on the outcome of your exam and disease level, your type of cleaning has a diagnosis name which basically are one, a prophylaxis (routine cleaning) two, a debridement (basically a medium cleaning) and lastly root planing and scaling which is also known as deep cleaning. Root planing and scaling is referred to early, moderate or advanced based on several criteria. Root planing is necessary when one typically has a lot of hardened deposits as well as bone loss around the teeth due to the bacteria being present and not cleaned off properly at the gumline for a longer period of time. After your properly diagnosed “cleaning” at your hygiene visit, your teeth will be polished with a paste to remove tooth stains and all remaining soft plaque. Finally, dental floss is used to ensure the areas between your teeth are clean.

Why Do You Need a Dental Checkup?

Here are some reasons why regular dental checkups are essential:

1. To Prevent Plaque, Tartar, Cavities, and Tooth Decay

Some areas in the mouth such as, back molars, are difficult to brush and floss, contributing to plaque buildup. If not cleaned regularly the plaque will turn into tartar, leading to oral diseases such as gingivitis, cavities and tooth decay. However, a regular dental checkup can prevent this process by removing plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums, while checkinging for early signs of decay or cavities. If your dentist detects any oral problem, they will start the treatment immediately to reduce the risk of oral problems.

2. To Detect Oral Cancer

Along with examining your teeth and gums, your dentist will check for signs of oral cancer. Your dentist will perform a VELscope cancer exam that uses a special light to check for dead tissue caused by tumors. Regular dental checkups help detect oral cancer at an early stage, early detection is the #1 reason for a successful outcome of treatment.

3. To Prevent Gum Diseases

Untreated plaque and tartar buildup lead to gum infection, subsequent gum recession, bone loss and destruction of all the supporting tissues around teeth. If not treated early, receding gums will damage the jaw bone, resulting in tooth loss. However, a regular dental checkup includes checking your gums to diagnose and treat problems or symptoms before they impact your oral health.

4. To Find Problems Under the Mouth Surface

During a regular checkup, your dentist will order appropriate radiographs or “ X-rays'' to examine your mouth’s hard tissues (bone structures and teeth) to check for damaged teeth, bone decay, jawbone damage, swelling, tumors, and cysts. Diagnosing these problems earlier will help treat them quickly and ensure your oral wellbeing.

5. To Check Head, Neck, and Lymph Nodes

Your dentist will check these areas for swelling, the normalcy of the thyroid, check for lumps, or other abnormalities. If an abnormality is detected, they may refer you to an appropriate medical professional for further diagnosis and treatment.

6. To Keep Bad Habits at Bay

Bad habits such as smoking, dipping smokeless tobacco, grinding teeth, chewing ice, biting nails, brushing too hard, eating sticky or hard foods, and clenching the jaw, can negatively impact your oral health. During a checkup, your dentist will check for any oral issues caused by these habits and recommend lifestyle tips and may offer preventive productions, treatments or modalities to either quit these habits or lessen the disease processes that they will bring.

We genuinely care about your health. Our practice, Smile Arizona Dentistry, is located in south Scottsdale, AZ, looks forward to helping you maintain optimum oral care and health for a lifetime. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your routine care and hygiene visit!

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