Having regular dental appointments after every six months may not be what everyone is looking forward to, and many people avoid visiting the dentist, thinking their teeth are healthy. Before skipping your next dental check-up because of what it might cost you, consider all the risks implied when you disregard oral health. Prevention is better than cure, after all.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visiting the dentist at least once a year. You may think you’re saving both time and money, but you might end up spending a lot on treatment and peace of mind in the long run. If that is not enough reason to visit your dentist, in this post, let’s take a look at other important reasons for regular dental check-ups.
- Oral cancer detection
Oral cancer is a severe disease that develops in the squamous cells in your tongue, lips, mouth and throat. Early detection is key to successful treatment of cancers. It manifests itself in various ways and progresses quickly into a life-threatening condition. With regular dental check-ups, your dentist will be able to detect it in its early, treatable stages. In every dental appointment, dentists may perform one or more of the following tests:
- CT scans detect tumors in the mouth, tongue, neck and throat.
- X-rays determine whether cancer cells (if the CT Scan was positive) have spread to the jaw.
- MRI scans show an accurate image of the head and neck, allowing the dentist to know the stage of cancer (if the CT Scan was positive).
- PET scans determine whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and other organs.
All these examinations are noninvasive and painless. Some of them only take a minute or two.
- Plaque and tartar build-up and cavity prevention
Regular brushing and flossing are not enough to completely keep your mouth healthy. There are still some plaque that remains in between your teeth even after brushing and flossing. The more the plaque build-up and the longer it stays on your teeth, the harder it is to remove. With time, plaque will solidify and turn into tartar. You will need professional help to get rid of tartar.
Regular dental check-ups will help prevent tartar from eroding your teeth and creating cavities. Without dental check-ups, you may not know when cavities are developing until you start experiencing toothaches. Once they develop, you will have to visit a dentist to have them filled or fixed.
The only way to avoid plaque and tartar before they start destroying your teeth is to have regular dental cleaning appointments. Cleaning appointments are even more affordable than filling and other teeth-fixing appointments.
- Prevent bad breath
Let alone being unpleasant, bad breath can be a sign of more serious oral problems. Bad breath more often than not results from tobacco use, food leftover, and dry mouth; however, some chronic bronchitis, diabetes, sinusitis, liver, or kidney ailments may be blamed. If you constantly have bad breath that does not go away with flossing and brushing, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
- Prevent gum disease
Tartar and plaque build-up go beyond causing tooth cavity to erode your gum tissues. Most gum diseases such as gingivitis occur when tartar and plaque build-up cause an infection where the teeth and the gum connect. These infections not only break down the gum tissues but also the bone holding your teeth in place.
If you fail to treat gingivitis and other gum diseases at their early stages, you are likely to experience
- gum bleeding,
- swelling, and
- Teeth loosening.
Gum disease will require more frequent dental appointments, which means you will have to spend more money. Some conditions even call for surgery and deep cleaning. With regular dental check-ups, you keep gum diseases at bay.
- Detect problems under the surface with x-ray
The main goal of a dental check-up is to prevent dental issues. One of the crucial parts of a dental appointment is getting your jaw bone and teeth x-rayed. Dental X-ray images taken will allow your dentist to see what is happening beneath the gum surface. The dentist will be able to find issues you can’t see with the naked eye.
Some of these problems may be damage to the jawbone, impacted teeth, cysts, tumors, bone decay, and swelling. Finding these issues on time makes it easy to treat them. Biannual check-ups and updated dental X-ray images are the best ways to keep your oral health at the top.
- Improve your smile
Brushing and flossing help keep your gums and teeth in good condition, but regular dental appointments will give you a healthy smile. The dentist will remove the plaque beneath your gum line and other places that your toothbrush is unable to reach. You will also get long-lasting plaque protection. Don’t let your smile affect your self-esteem. Schedule two appointments in a year to be confident about your smile and oral health.
- Keep bad habits in check
There are many habits you may have incorporated in your lifestyle that may hurt your oral health without you realizing it. Some of these habits include brushing your teeth too hard, chewing ice, clenching your jaw, biting your nails, drinking red wine and coffee, grinding your teeth, and eating hard or sticky sweets.
With regular dental check-ups, your dentist will check for damage caused by these or other habits and advises you accordingly. You get a chance to alter or change your lifestyle to prevent issues that may affect your oral health in the future. The dentist will also advise you on how to fix the damage done, helping you improve your oral health.
- Save money in the future
Preventing and identifying oral problems early will help you save more money and time in the long run. Regular dental check-ups reduce the chances of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral problems. Fixing some dental issues may require advanced and costly dental work such as exodontia or teeth extraction. Visiting your dentist at least once in a year will help expensive treatments and unexpected bills that will come in the future.
Visiting your dentist every six months has plenty of benefits. It will save you money, prevent plaque and tooth decay, stop gum disease, and improve your smile. You may have a tight schedule, but remember that 30-minute appointments every six months can transform your oral hygiene for the better.