The Importance of Regular Check-Ups & Cleanings

 In oral health

All too many people are inclined to wait until they are aware of discomfort before seeing a Vancouver dentist. But by the time you feel pain, your dental problem is likely to have become a serious one. It is vital to have regular dental appointments – both for examination and cleaning. The earlier dental issues are identified, the easier they are to fix. There are many reasons for regular check-ups.

Dental Check-up: How Often?

It is generally accepted that check-ups twice a year will help your dentist to pick up developing problems before they become a serious threat to your teeth.

However, your dentist may recommend more frequent check-ups if he or she believes that it is necessary. For example, if your dentist wants to monitor your oral health closely because of one or more risk factors, more frequent check-ups could be in order.

What Will the Dentist Check?

  • Any softening of the tooth enamel or exposed dentine that signals the start of a cavity
  • Any existing cavity will be identified.
  • The dentist will be checking for any swelling or discolouring of the gums which will signal impending gum disease or periodontitis. If the swelling is severe, the dentist will probably prescribe a course of antibiotics to deal with the infection. Dentists also give you advice about improving your teeth cleaning techniques, tailoring the advice in the light of what is going on in your mouth.
  • Dentists are also trained to check for for any abnormal discolouration of oral tissue or suspicious lumps and swellings. These are early warning signs of oral cancer. If anything suspicious is found, your dentist will recommend follow-up treatment, which might include a biopsy to determine whether there is oral cancer or not.
  • X-rays will be taken to check the underlying jaw bone and the portion of the tooth not visible to the naked eye. Again, this will help to identify any developing problems such as bone loss.

Dental Clean-up

A thorough dental clean-up can be done by either a dentist or a suitably qualified dental hygienist. Although you might feel that your cleaning techniques are adequate and your teeth feel smooth and clean, there are hidden and difficult to reach areas that are ideal accumulation points for bacteria. Inadequate cleaning of these areas will lead to gum disease or periodontitis, which could ultimately result in tooth loss.

Only a thorough and professional dental cleaning can get to these difficult to reach areas. Regular dental clean-ups remove all plaque and tartar. The importance of regular dental cleaning for the prevention of gum disease and other associated problems cannot be over-emphasized.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

In an article published by WebMD, the correlation between bad oral health and bacterial pneumonia is explained in simple terms. People who never see a dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning are 86% more likely to develop bacterial pneumonia than individuals who go for regular 6-monthly check-ups and cleanings.

Now, if that doesn’t convince you of the importance of regular check-ups, nothing will. Evidence is mounting every year that illustrates the correlation between oral health and general health. Inadequate oral health is increasingly being tied to the higher chance of developing serious health issues like strokes and cardiovascular disease. It makes perfect sense to stress the importance of regular dental visits.

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