Patients often don’t know how often you should have a dental check up. Your teeth and your car don’t have a lot in common, but there’s one area where they’re pretty similar. The more you use them, the more worn down and susceptible to faults they get. The best, cheapest way to keep them operational is to take them to a professional to give them a proper inspection on a regular basis.
Regular dental check-ups are a must if you want to keep your teeth healthy and strong. What do they involve? How often should you get them? And why are they so important? Let’s take a look…
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A DENTAL CHECKUP?
Dental check-ups involve two parts:
An examination and cleaning. The cleaning is also known as “oral prophylaxis.”
The examination is performed to check the overall health of your teeth and mouth. Primarily, the dentist will be looking for cavities. Signs of gingivitis or periodontitis will also be searched for.
Dental x-rays may be taken to not only look for cavities between the teeth but also take a look under your gums. Problems which might not be easily visible, or have no obvious symptoms, can be revealed by x-rays. For example, a wisdom tooth which is aiming the wrong direction to ever appear through the gum correctly can be detected long before it causes problems.
It’s frequently common these days for your dental check-up to include an oral cancer screening as well. This involves examining the soft tissues of the mouth — primarily the tongue and cheeks — for signs of cancer. Oral cancer can be a debilitating illness but is relatively manageable and easy to treat if it’s detected early enough.
After the teeth are examined, the dentist or hygienist will give them a clean. The primary goal of oral prophylaxis is to remove plaque and tartar that have hardened onto teeth. This simply cannot be removed with brushing or flossing. Instead, special scraping tools are needed to remove the plaque.
After this, the teeth are usually polished to remove surface stains and given a fluoride mouthwash to help remineralize and protect the teeth. Your dentist or hygienist might even give your teeth a floss for you.
WHO SHOULD GET A DENTAL CHECKUP?
Getting your teeth checked regularly helps them stay healthy and strong. It’s also particularly good for children to get to their check-up and cleans. This allows dentists to keep up to date with the development of their teeth and jaw. If necessary, early intervention processes can be used to address problems before they cause problems.
Anyone who has had major dental work should also be sure to get their regular check-ups. The dentist will be able to monitor the progress of the work and make adjustments where needed. Even if you don’t have any restorations or appliances, people who’ve been treated for periodontal disease, root canal, and other major oral health complications should get checked regularly.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU GO TO THE DENTIST?
For most people, the answer is once every six months. There are cases where it can be more frequent, but rarely cases where it’s less frequent.
If you have impeccable oral health, brush and floss twice daily, and have never had a cavity or major oral disease — your dentist might be happy seeing you just once a year. Even then, they’d still probably prefer you visit twice.
People who have had treatment for periodontal disease are advised to visit the dentist once every three months. Periodontal disease cannot be completely cured, only managed, and treated. It’s important for the dentist to regularly monitor the health of your gums and jaws to make sure it doesn’t flare-up. After a few years of positive regular checks, your dentist may recommend you only visit once every six months.
Patients with major dental work such as dental implants, or who have just received dentures, should also visit more frequently for the first year or so after their restorations. These can be the critical months of adjustment that can determine whether there will be long-lasting success, so making sure things are running smoothly is essential.
WHY ARE DENTAL CHECKUPS IMPORTANT?
We’ve touched on these briefly above, but here’s a more concise list:
• Keep your teeth healthy and strong.
• Keep your teeth free from plaque and tartar, which lead to oral diseases.
• Lower risk of heart disease. Gum disease increases the risk of cardiovascular illness, so keeping on top of your oral health keeps your risk low.
• Monitoring of the development of a child’s teeth and jaw. Many orthodontic cases can actually be shortened, made easier, or even avoided through the use of early intervention treatments.
• Early intervention of serious illnesses, from gum disease to impacted wisdom teeth to oral cancer.
• Detection of problems before they cause pain or discomfort, usually hiding hidden beneath the gums.
GET YOUR REGULAR CHECK AND CLEAN TODAY
Our dentists in Nelson Bay are keen to help you stay on top of your oral health. Book an appointment with our team and get started on the journey to enjoying a healthy, beautiful smile for the rest of your life.