Dental checkups or exams are important to keep your permanent teeth healthy for the rest of your life. It is recommended to have a dental checkup done twice a year. For most people this is enough, but in some cases where there is dental problems such as gum disease, you may need to see your dentist every 3 months. Having regular dental checkups or exams not only assures that you keep a healthy mouth, but also a healthy body. Also it will save you a ton of money because it will prevent major dental procedures that cost a lot. Some people avoid going to the dentist every six months due to finances, but what they don’t realize is that it will actually cost them more money in the long run. It is so much less expensive for preventive care or even a small cavity than anything major like root canals and crowns.
Dental checkups consist of an oral examination, necessary x-rays and a professional cleaning as well as fluoride treatment if needed. During the oral exams, the doctor checks your teeth for cavities, checks for any broken fillings, checks to see if you have a broken or cracked tooth, examens your gums for gum disease and checks the entire mouth for oral cancer. Although the dentist can see cavities on the outside surfaces of the teeth, x-rays are necessary for detecting caries in between teeth and also it will show the dentist how deep the cavities are. The type of cleaning will depend on your last cleaning and how much plaque buildup you have accumulated during that time. If you religiously have it done every 6 months and you do a good home care, then all you need is a regular cleaning and polish. But if you have not had a cleaning done for let’s say a few years, then you may need a deep cleaning or scaling and root planning (especially if you have gum disease).
Brushing and flossing is not enough to get rid of the hardened tartar. The only way to remove this is by doing a scaling around the gums and even under the gums. Dental polishing can remove the stains from the teeth. It uses a small rotating device attached to a rubber end. It removes tartar as well as stains due to cigarette use, coffee and food stains.
Health history review is also a part of a oral exams. It analyzes previous dental problems which resulted to the present condition of the oral cavity. It also addresses nutrition and fluid intake of the patient. Illnesses such as diabetes is noted. Diabetic patients are more prone to infections which at times it can be dangerous. It has been proven that patients with diabetes have higher chances of having gingivitis or gum disease, and the gum disease because it’s an infection, will cause your diabetes to be uncontrolled.
There are so many other health problems that are linked with problems in the mouth. That is why it is said that your overall health is also dependent on your dental health. Diseases in the mouth can cause serious health issues. Another benefit to this checkups appointment is that you can ask all your questions from your doctor. Whether it’s about a problem you’ve been having, such as sensitivity or maybe you are considering braces or teeth whitening. Your dentist will be happy to answer all your questions. Don’t forget that preventive care is the best and most cost effective way to stay healthy. If you continue with your regular six month checkups and exams, you won’t have any major treatment to do, so then your out of pocket cost will be minimal because dental exams, X-rays and cleaning are not expensive. And if once in a while your doctor finds a small problem, it is much cheaper to take care of than when it becomes big.
By: Ladan Zinati