Dental Checkups: A Pain In The… Teeth?
We have all heard that we need to visit the dentist for a checkup every 6 months or less. Is that
really necessary? Why is it so important to drop by the dentist so often? April is oral health
awareness month so we thought we let you know why!
Well a regular dental visit is essential to maintain the healthiest teeth and gums. Even with the
most diligent oral hygiene practices, the build up of bacteria, plaque and tartar takes place. This
is simply because these buildups happen in areas of the mouth that can't be easily reached with
home oral hygiene appliances like tooth brushes and dental flosses. Furthermore, due to this
very issue, new cavities and other infections can slowly get bigger without us even noticing
them, until the inevitable dental pain comes along. So it is very important to let the professionals
take a look once in a while!
What happens at a check up dental visit?
Examination of oral structures: The dentist will initially evaluate your gums, teeth, tongue
and surrounding structures to assess their health.
Head and neck exam: This is an examination of the face, neck, lymph nodes, and TMJ (jaw
joint) to look for any signs of abnormalities.
Radiograph: Depending on a case by case basis, radiographs might be taken of your teeth
to assess their internal structures, to check for any infections or pathologies, we can check
for cavities that are not seen by naked eye and also access your bone level and your bone
A cleaning: The best part of the check up exam! With months of staining and plaque
formation, the dentist or hygienists will clean all these buildups from the deepest most
unreachable depths, and give you a fresh slate to start with.
Dentists also have a very unique role in your general health. Not only do dentists and oral
hygienists looking out for your oral health, they have a particularly good vantage points to look
out for various conditions that may affect your overall health. This is simply true as the oral
cavity acts as a window to your general health. Many systemic diseases have their first
manifestations in the mouth, or are first detected at the your dentist's office. These can include
complications such as:
Bacterial, fungal, and viral infections
After this checkup, you'll get any recommendations or follow up steps needed to keep or
achieve the healthiest smile. We like to break them down into short term and long term goals.
The end goal is to build up a habit that lets you keep the healthiest possible teeth and gums well
into your later stages of life!
So remember that other than feeling minty fresh after the checkup, you are also taking
responsibility for your long term oral and general health!