Regular checkups and cleanings are an extremely important part of oral care. While a lot of people don’t think of having their teeth cleaned and checked, it’s actually extremely necessary to maintaining the integrity of a patient’s teeth, gums and overall mouth.
Dental cleanings and dental checkups should be done at least twice a year. If it’s been a little longer than six months for you, though, don’t worry! Just make sure that you schedule an appointment for a cleaning and checkup as soon as possible.
Why Dental Checkups Are So Important
If you allow too much time to lapse between checkups, you may notice a variety of issues with you oral health that range from bleeding gums to pain while chewing, inflamed gums and more. Dental checkups and dental cleanings help to avoid different oral health problems, and to fix minor issues that have occurred between cleanings.
Checkups also allow your dentist to “check up” on you, and make sure that no severe oral health issues are forming. You may have a cavity that is growing, gum disease or other, more severe issues that your dentist will catch during a routine checkup.
In order to prevent oral infections and diseases, you’ll want to make sure that your teeth and gums are properly cleaned regularly. While you may be able to take care of the basics at home, by yourself, you won’t be able to get the same quality of care that you’ll get from a routine dental cleaning twice a year.
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The Consequences of Skipping Checkups
If you don’t go to the dentist regularly (around every six months), you put yourself at risk for some major oral health problems that may be difficult to resolve—and may actually be permanent. By allowing an infection to go on for too long, for instance, you may risk corrupting the overall integrity of a tooth, gums or teeth—leading to the removal of one or more teeth!
You also put yourself at risk for gum disease, tooth decay, the spread of bacteria and other infections.
Many oral health issues are treatable—especially if they are caught early. Sadly, if you allow your teeth to decay, or you allow your gum disease to worsen, you risk serious damage—which may lead to your teeth falling out, or needing to be removed.
Checkups are necessary to catch oral health issues early, so they can be properly treated and any damage can be reversed.
What to Expect During a Checkup
While a dental checkup and cleaning may be a little more intensive if it’s been a while since your last cleaning, most regular checkups and cleanings are pretty simple and easy. Most of what your checkup will consist of is a review of your gums, teeth and jaw to make sure there are no infections or diseases that are developing.
Your dentist will take an in-depth look at your mouth, including your teeth, tongue and the insides of your cheeks, to make sure everything looks normal. They will then x-ray your gums and teeth to take a closer look and see if they are missing anything. They will be able to check for disease, decay, infections and even cancer.
If you have any issues with having an x-ray done and/or you find it difficult to take a radiograph, let your dentist know ahead of time.
Along with your twice-yearly checkup, your dentist will also perform a dental cleaning. This will involve scraping away any tarter and buildup. From there, your dentist will clean, rinse and even floss your teeth to ensure your teeth are as clean as possible.
Discomfort During Cleanings
While dental cleanings in and of themselves aren’t painful, if the patient’s gums have become infected, the cleaning process may be more uncomfortable or even painful. This discomfort is caused by a plaque build-up that hides below your gum line. Cleaning out the plaque at the base of your teeth can cause pain or discomfort.
If you are feeling discomfort during your cleaning, let your dentist know. They will do their best to help you through your initial cleanings in a more comfortable way, using different products and techniques.
Between Dental Checkups
While the two dental checkups and dental cleanings each year should be considered mandatory, there will be other times that you’ll want to go to the dentist in between dental checkups. This may be due to bleeding, pain, discomfort or injury to your teeth, gums or other areas of your mouth.
You also may have an accident that chips your tooth or teeth, or knocks them out completely. In these situations, you’ll want to schedule an appointment.
If there are issues between dental checkups, make sure to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. The quicker you can get to the dentist, the more likely that your dentist can stop the issue in its early stages, and before any more damage can occur.
Care Between Appointments
It is extremely important that you take proper care of your oral health between appointments for both your personal comfort, and the safety and protection of your teeth, gums, tongue, cheeks and mouth overall.
This includes brushing your teeth twice a day, as well as flossing and rinsing. With proper home care, you’ll be able to lessen plaque buildup, and avoid dental diseases and infections. This will make your trip to the dentist and your dental cleaning more enjoyable.
Scheduling an Appointment
If you haven’t had a checkup in a while, it’s time to schedule your next appointment! Then, once your dental checkup and dental cleaning are complete, make sure to set up your next appointment immediately. This will help to ensure that you are visiting your dentist at least twice a year.
If you have any questions about your oral care—such as how to brush or floss properly—make sure to ask your dentist. They will be more than happy to assist you.
Contact your dentist today and see when their next available opening is for a dental checkup and dental cleaning.