Visiting the dentist after every six months may seem like an inconvenience or an unnecessary exercise to many people. but the fact is that it is one of the most important appointments that you must keep. If you’re wondering as to why you take the pain to undergo regular dental checkups, then this article is for you. To understand the importance of regular checkup visits, we must understand what happens during a routine appointment.
Detailed Clinical Examination
When you show up for your appointment, the first thing your dentist will do is to perform a detailed examination of your teeth. You might wonder “I can see my teeth in the mirror, and they don’t have any cavities. So, why is this clinical examination important?” The answer is that there are many dental problems which are not visible to the naked eye. You might be having underlying gum inflammation or teeth cavities which are not visible when you check your teeth in the mirror. However, your dentist can see what you can’t. They have special equipment which helps them in seeing around the nooks and crannies, and tight spaces around your teeth and pick out any underlying problems.
In addition, your dentist may detect any parafunctional dental habits which may be damaging your teeth without your knowledge, such as nail-biting, teeth grinding, clenching or tongue thrust. In this way, your dentist will take measures to stop these habits, and prevent your teeth and oral structures from damage. Finally, if your dentist sees that you have teeth cavities, he or she will restore the damaged teeth by placing fillings.
Do you know how dentists can see what you can’t? While they might not have superpowers or magical eyes, they have the power of x-rays to back them. The x-ray images help dentists in visualizing the areas which cannot be easily seen with the naked eye. Moreover, there are some dental problems which arise inside the teeth, gums or around the jawbone. If you have inflamed gums, or there is an abscess forming around one of your teeth, your dentist can see it with the help of an x-ray. If required, your dentist may take a panoramic image of your teeth to obtain a full view of all your teeth, upper and lower joints, and other important landmarks.
Even if you brush and floss regularly, research has shown that these measures alone may not be sufficient. This is because, over time, plaque and tartar deposits start to form on your teeth, which are a safe haven for the harmful bacteria that cause teeth cavities and gum inflammation.
The problem is that once plaque or tartar forms on your teeth, it is very difficult to remove it through brushing or flossing. If you continue to ignore this condition, the bacteria inside the plaque enter your gums and start destroying the fibers which hold them to your teeth and jawbone. As a result, spaces or “pockets” start to appear between the teeth and the gums, thereby further promoting food impaction and aggravating the situation. If the situation is not controlled timely, the bone around the teeth starts to resorb and the teeth become mobile and may even come out.
But all this can be easily prevented if you visit your dentist regularly for checkup appointments. During teeth cleaning, your dentist will use special scalers which vibrate at an ultrasonic frequency to remove adherent plaque and tartar deposits.
During a routine appointment, your dentist may also place sealants to protect your teeth from cavities. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings which are applied on the biting surfaces of back teeth, the premolars, and molars to prevent food impaction, and resultant teeth cavities. Although dental sealants are mainly applied on the back permanent teeth in children, they may be given to adults if your dentist thinks that they are at high risk of having teeth cavities.
Oral Cancer Screening
The incidence of oral cancer is on the rise throughout the world, which can prove to be fatal if not treated timely. Although it is a dangerous condition and is very hard to treat in the later stages, it can be easily detected by your dentists during routine checkup appointments. This is why oral cancer screening is an important aspect of a routine checkup appointment. Your dentist will look for any lumps or swellings which are persisting for a long time. If required, your dentist will perform a biopsy of the lump and send it for confirmation. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry later!
What could be better than preserving your beautiful smile and saving your hard-earned money? When you visit regularly for checkups, you prevent dental problems from developing in the early stages. As a result, not only you save yourself from the agony of going through different dental procedures for your treatment, but you will also save a lot of money, which would have otherwise been spent on expensive dental procedures. Therefore, you should never skip a checkup appointment with your dentist, if you want to live a healthy and happy life.