Because of the pandemic (and occasionally dental anxiety just from going to the dentist), patients may find themselves tempted to skip a dental appointment or two, especially if they are not currently having any acute dental problems. But skipping those routine dental cleanings can also put one’s oral health and overall health at risk!
It is because tooth decay and gum disease can lead to serious issues like abscesses and infections, potentially requiring root canals. In particular, gum disease has been connected to rheumatoid arthritis, pneumonia, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, bruxism often arises from stress, and an unhealthy smile leads to poor self-confidence. Your mouth and body are intricately connected and require regular care for optimal health.
The greatest oral issue stems from oral bacteria, which starts to form as soon as you eat or drink anything besides water. Brushing and flossing after you consume sugary and acidic foods and beverages – like sodas, juices, sports or energy drinks, tea, coffee, and alcohol – can help manage plaque formation and buildup but very few people take the time to do that.
And even if you do, brushing and flossing alone can’t reach and clean every surface in your mouth. It is where your professional dental cleanings come to the rescue. With the help of special tools, our hygienist removes hardened, calcified plaque (tartar or calculus) that you can’t clear away at home, especially in between teeth and around the gum line.
Removing calculus and bacteria protects your smile from cavities and gingivitis (gum disease), so you don’t suffer from bacterial infections like gum disease, which puts you at greater risk of tooth loss, heart conditions, and complications from diabetes. Oral bacteria also makes your breath smell bad and is off-putting to people in close contact.
What Happens at Your Regular Dental Checkups?
Our skilled team’s goal is to catch and treat developing problems sooner rather than later, so they are easier, less invasive, and less costly to remedy. When you come in for your dental cleaning and exam, you can look forward to the following:
- Dental X-rays as needed
- Oral cancer screening
- Sticky plaque buildup and tartar removal
- Tooth stain removal by polishing enamel
- Screening for tooth decay and gum disease
- Checking every tooth for chips, cracks, cavities
- Evaluating your jaw and bite for abnormalities
- Ensuring that your current tooth restorations are in good shape
- Scheduling to treat any current issues
- Reviewing your at-home care if needed and recommending helpful products
- Giving you answers to your questions and concerns
Why Regular Dental Exams?
Cavities mean the following and should not be ignored:
- Tooth sensitivity when you eat or drink hot, cold, acidic, or sweet foods and beverages
- Pitting or a hole in a tooth
- Painful abscess around a tooth
As tooth enamel weakens, cavities can accelerate from infection, whether it is inside the tooth, at the tooth root, or in the jawbone. The problem is an infection that spreads to nearby teeth. A cracked or fractured tooth can worsen whenever you bite down or chew hard food, and if the tooth completely breaks, you will know it from the pain. Your routine dental exams allow us to spot these kinds of issues early and treat them before they turn painful or expensive!
Daily Oral Hygiene Between Dental Cleanings
Your best protection in between dental cleanings and exams is to brush twice a day, floss at least once daily, and use an antibacterial mouthwash to kill germs if you want to keep tooth decay and gum disease from gaining a foothold. Drink plenty of water every day, eat a balanced diet, and limit unhealthy drinks and foods as much as you can.
While we are seeing more problems with patients coming back after skipping dental cleanings this past year, know that we will never make you feel bad about missing your dental appointments! Our team can expertly clean your teeth and check for developing problems so we can fix them early. We will also go over your daily routine to make sure you have the best tools possible to fill in any gaps so you can get back on track to a healthier, happier smile! Call now to schedule a dental cleaning and exam for yourself or your family members!