There are certainly a rare few that could go a lifetime without a dental check-up and have consistently excellent oral health. People who take great care of their overall health or those who have strong immune systems may be less susceptible to issues that require dental visits. But unfortunately, the busyness of life, poor food choices, and skewed priorities can lead us to sacrifice some very important routines and basics. Letting a professional take a look on a regular basis is more about prevention than it is about finding a problem. So maybe it’s not absolutely necessary for every person, but it is wise to keep your body and the ‘gateway’ to your health in check.
If you are concerned that you are wasting your time, there are some very serious reasons why regular check-ups should be non-negotiable.
Cavities, Plaque & Tartar Build-up
Even the best tooth brusher can miss a spot or two, or miss flossing out the tiniest piece of food from dinner. To be honest, brushing and flossing doesn’t do the whole job, at least when it comes to cavities, plaque and tartar. Plaque is clear and if it hardens it turns to tartar, which is harder to remove even with professional help. Regular cleanings can prevent these tartar build-ups from eroding teeth or causing cavities.
If you recall the important mention about plaque and tartar build-up, well they don’t just cause tooth decay. Tartar build-up causes an infection called gingivitis – where the gum begins to separate from the tooth. Once the tissue that connects the teeth to the gums break down, you now have gum disease. Once you develop this disease, the whole oral system begins to break down from bleeding gums to tooth loss. With regular cleanings, gum disease can be avoided along with all of the cost, pain, and time associated with your recovery.
Not everything is visible on the surface when it comes to your teeth and gums and x-rays allow dentists to see what else is going on under the surface. Issues such as impacted teeth, damage to the jaw bone, swelling, cysts, bone decay, or tumors can only be seen with x-ray imaging. These critical health problems can be caught in advance if regular screenings occur.
Head, Neck & Lymph Nodes
You may not even realize it, but your dentist visually inspects not only your mouth but all areas associated with your oral health. This includes your head, neck & lymph nodes. If something catches their eye that is abnormal, further tests can be ordered or you may receive a referral to the appropriate specialist. It only takes a couple of minutes for your dentist to check for abnormalities, but it could mean a serious difference if a condition or disease is identified early on.
Keep Bad Habits in Check
If you’re a smoker, grinder, nail biter, or you chew on non-food or extremely hard candies, you could be causing much more damage than you realize. A benefit to having a regular visit is to have your dentist hold you accountable and remind you how important it is to take care of ourselves from top to bottom.
Making and keeping an appointment every 6 months is the recommended frequency for visits and is typically covered by insurance. These visits take time out of your day, but they’re important. If your dentist needs to update your x-rays, check old dental work, this is the time. But typically, it’s only an evaluation, thorough cleaning, along with any questions and concerns which will give both doctor and patient a clear picture of health.