Although having to visit the dentist every six months may not be the thing you look forward to most, it is one of the most important appointments to keep. If you have found yourself wondering what the point is, here’s something for you to think about.
The next time you consider skipping a dental check up because you don’t have the time or are just anxious to go, make sure you consider the risks. What you might end up having to pay in the long run after missing multiple dentist visits will most definitely not be worth skipping. Save both your wallet and your peace of mind by going to your dental checkups. Here are some reasons why:
Oral Cancer Detection
Oral cancer can manifest itself in various ways and is a very serious disease. Without knowing the signs of its early onset, oral cancer can often go undetected if undiagnosed and can quickly progress and become life threatening. Thankfully, early stages of oral cancer diagnosis can often easily be treated.
Since your dentist is highly trained to recognize these signs and symptoms, regular dental checkups every six months increases the likelihood of catching traces of oral cancer significantly. Recognizing oral cancer in its early stages is crucial in treating it successfully, and while you may not notice any oral abnormalities, your dentist will.
A VELscope Oral exam is performed by by shining a special light inside the mouth and it catches invisible signs of dead tissue that may be caused by tumors and is non-invasive and entirely pain-free. It is totally painless, takes almost no time at all and may save your life so there should be no hesitation or anxiety.
Plaque, Tartar, and Cavities
Even the most diligent daily oral hygiene brushers can miss small areas in the mouth that can’t be reached just through brushing and flossing. Plaque can be more difficult to remove as it builds up, solidifying and turning into tartar, which can be extremely difficult to get rid of without professional help.
Routine dental cleanings can prevent tartar from eroding teeth and creating holes in them, which is how cavities form. Cavities rarely give any warning signs as they form, but will give you small aches just after the tooth has already decayed. Once the damage has been done, your next dentist visit will be to have cavities and other tooth problems filled and fixed. All this can be avoided simply by visiting your dentist for regular cleanings to take care of plaque and tartar before it becomes destructive.
Routine cleaning appointments will be more affordable than getting a filling, so it will be worth the investment of your time and money in the long run.
Plaque and tartar buildup can not only cause tooth decay, but can also erode gum tissues. Tartar buildup can cause an infection where the gum is connected to the tooth, making the gum pull away from the tooth. This infection is known as gingivitis and as it progresses, the tissue that attached gums to the teeth breaks down.
If you reach the point to where it is officially gum disease, there will likely be a lot of swelling, bleeding and soreness in the mouth. Along with the breakdown of gum tissue, breakdown of the bone that holds teeth in place will begin as well and at this point, it is common to see teeth loosening or even falling out altogether. Drastic treatment methods must be taken by a dental specialist when it comes to this.
Not only do specialists require more appointments (and more money), treatment of gum disease, depending on the severity, can involve surgery, extremely deep cleaning, and medication. These are the risks you will be facing when you skip dental cleanings. They are essential in catching and addressing gingivitis before it gets out of hand.
Keeping Bad Habits in Check
There are multiple bad habits that may have a negative impacts on your oral health, some of which you may not even realize. Some habits that can be detrimental include chewing ice, biting your nails, clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth, eating very sticky or hard sweets, even brushing too hard, drinking coffee and red wine, and of course smoking.
When you go to your dental check ups regularly, your dentist can check for any oral damage caused by these habits or others you may not have noticed. Staying informed is important in your process of possibly altering your lifestyle for the sake of the health of your mouth. You can now inform yourself on how to prevent further damage and apply it to your daily routine after visiting the dentist to fix the damage that’s already been done.
Find Problems Under the Surface With X-Rays
A crucial part of your routine visit is getting your teeth and jawbone x-rayed. Dental x-rays can help professionals see what is happening beneath the surface so they can find and diagnose issues that may not be visible to the naked eye. Problems such impacted teeth, which are growing teeth that are blocked from pushing through the gum, can only be seen through x-ray and are often seen in wisdom teeth.
Jawbone damage, bone decay, swelling, cysts, tumors are all impossible to pinpoint without x-ray imaging. These major oral issues must be found in order to properly and quickly treat them. updated x-rays and bi-annual checkups are the best way to keep on top of your health.
Head, Neck, and Lymph Node Checks
In addition to checking your mouth, gums, and tongue for signs or oral cancer, your dentist will also check your neck, jaw, and lymph nodes for any swelling, lumps, or other abnormalities. If an abnormality is found it could be a sign of a major health issue, and your dentist will alert you to it and refer you the appropriate medical professional.
Swollen lymph nodes do not necessarily hurt or seem out of the ordinary but when identified properly by a professional, could be a sign of certain kinds of cancer or other diseases that require immediate attention. Not having regular dental checkups drastically cuts down how often your neck and thyroid glands are checked. So while looking for abnormalities only takes your dentist a minute, it could mean an extremely serious disease is identified early enough to make a huge difference.
So, Are Dental Checkups Worth the Effort?
Dental professionals are not only concerned with the hygiene of your teeth and gums, but they can also check for abnormalities that may otherwise go unnoticed and could be a sign of bigger issues. They make sure that your bones are strong, and will help you correct any habits that may be sabotaging your oral health, among other things. Skipping your dentist appointment may not seem like a big deal but oral issues can progress extremely quickly and keeping check on your oral health will be worth it in the long run.