Do I Really Need to See My Dentist For Routine Cleanings and Checkups?
With so many demands on your time and budget, skipping routine dental cleanings and checkups may be tempting. But doing so can cost more in the long run for both your health and your wallet.
In this blog, Nate Gunning, DDS of Signature Smiles Dentistry in Parker, Colorado, explains why.
An ounce of prevention
We recommend most patients book bi-annual cleanings and checkups. Those at higher risk of dental problems, such as smokers or patients with a history of periodontal disease, may be advised to come more frequently.
Your bi-annual exam includes a professional cleaning and an examination. The examination is key to spotting potential problems at their earliest, most treatable stage.
Tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in children and adults, even though it is mostly preventable. Research shows that patients who visit their dentist for routine cleanings and checkups are less likely to need a filling or have a tooth removed.
But I brush and floss at home
Even patients who brush and floss regularly can’t mitigate plaque and tartar build-up everywhere. Hard to reach spots require the expertise and professional instrumentation of a dentist or dental hygienist. This professional cleaning technique is called “scaling” and usually involves using gritty toothpaste to remove surface stains on the teeth.
What your exam includes
- Soft tissue exam
We check for signs of disease. This includes gums that are painful to the touch, red, or puffy. Your lips and tongue are also examined for signs of illness. Any cuts, lesions, growths, or spots may indicate a health problem that needs further treatment. For example, systemic diseases such as lupus, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis have symptoms that first appear in the mouth.
X-rays illuminate issues that are not easily visible, such as abscesses, cavities, bone loss, impacted wisdom teeth, cysts, and tumors.
- Head and neck check
Your jaw, head, and neck are likewise inspected for signs of tenderness or swelling. Swollen lymph nodes are a sign that your body is fighting off an infection. If your salivary glands are swollen, it could indicate inflammation, and we can advise you on your next steps.
Dental checkups protect your overall health
Your oral health impacts your overall health. Research associates oral health, primarily periodontal (gum) disease, with increased risk for multiple chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. In pregnant women, poor oral health has also been linked to premature births and low birth weight.
Avoid bad breath
Chronic bad breath is linked to poor oral hygiene or dry mouth. Untreated, a mouth infection can lead to tooth decay, painful mouth sores, and mouth odor. It’s also possible that chronic bad breath is the result of a nose or throat infection.
Manage mask mouth
Mask wearing is essential for preventing the spread of COVID-19 but has created an oral health issue for some, known as Mask Mouth. Mask mouth is caused by wearing a mask for sustained periods, in which you wind up keeping your mouth closed and breathing through your mouth more than your nose. Doing so can dry out your mouth and cause it to become dry. As a result, you can develop:
- Foul breath
- Receding gums
- A dry mouth
- Tooth decay
Preventing dental problems with professional dental cleanings and checkups makes economic sense too. It can eliminate the need for costly treatments and repair procedures.
To book your cleaning and checkup, call Signature Smiles Dentistry for an appointment with Dr. Gunning, or request an appointment online through this website. New patients, check out our fantastic special!