We strongly suggest our patients come to visit us regularly and most people will benefit from twice yearly checkups and cleanings. While we always enjoy seeing our patients, there are several serious and very important reasons for encouraging regular dental visits and these should form part of your ongoing preventative dental care regime, just like your regular health checks with your doctor.
Preventative Dental Care Is More Cost-Effective
Ongoing preventative dental care is more cost-effective than waiting for dental problems to develop. During your visit, the condition of each tooth is carefully assessed and we will check to ensure your gums are healthy and free from infections. Dental x-rays are taken periodically as these show areas hidden from view, providing a complete picture of your dental health. By having regular checkups, our dentists can quickly detect any small problems that may be developing and can monitor them or will provide the most appropriate treatment to restore dental health. This helps to avoid dental emergencies and treatment is quicker, less invasive and more cost-effective.
During these checkups, we also monitor the condition of any restorations including fillings and crowns. All restorations need replacing periodically as over time they can begin to leak and crumble. By regularly checking these restorations, we can make sure they are replaced when required so they continue to protect your teeth and your smile.
Your Regular Checkups Could Save Your Life
Many people don’t realize their regular dental checkup includes a screening for oral cancer. This is a quick and non-invasive examination of all the soft tissues in your mouth and we will also gently feel the lymph nodes in your neck. Like all cancers, the prognosis is much more favorable with an early diagnosis and dentists are specially trained to detect early signs and symptoms that may require further investigation. These include changes to the texture and color of your oral tissues, any sore spots that fail to heal within two weeks and any changes to your bite or to the fit of dental appliances. The frequency of these screenings will depend on your age and your risk of developing this disease, although 25% of oral cancers are diagnosed in people with no known risk factors which is why regular screenings are so important.
Why Hygiene Appointments Are Vital
Whenever you see a dentist, we recommend scheduling a hygiene appointment at the same time. Regular cleanings are vital for healthy gums, removing a substance called calculus from your teeth. Calculus is hardened plaque bacteria as even though you may regularly brush and floss, it is easy to miss out certain areas and plaque soon hardens into calculus. This hard substance produces toxins that will infect and inflame your gums, eventually causing gum disease or periodontal disease. By regularly removing calculus, we can reduce this threat and it is a great opportunity to talk to our hygienist about your home dental care routine. We can work with you to ensure you are brushing and flossing effectively and efficiently, providing you with practical advice and help so you know exactly how to look after your teeth at home.
Why It’s Important to Have Healthy Gums
People often think that if their teeth look nice and white then they have good dental health, but your gums provide essential support for your teeth. Ideally, healthy gums fit snugly around your teeth ensuring bacteria in your mouth cannot get into your body. Gums infected with periodontal disease will bleed easily, allowing the bacteria creating this infection to enter your bloodstream. From there these bacteria can go on to create new sites of inflammation right throughout your body. This is why numerous clinical studies have linked periodontal disease with serious health conditions that include diabetes, heart disease and stroke, respiratory diseases, and certain cancers. If you have periodontal disease then your chances of developing health problems can increase. At the same time, if you have any existing health conditions then these can worsen.
Who Is More at Risk of Gum Disease?
Diabetics are particularly at risk, especially if they struggle to control blood sugar levels. Poorly controlled blood sugar levels increase the amount of glucose in saliva which in turn feeds disease-causing bacteria. When these bacteria enter the bloodstream, they make it harder to control blood sugar levels, setting up a vicious circle that can be hard to break.
People who smoke are more at risk of having periodontal disease because smoking makes it harder for the gums to fight disease and to heal. What’s worse is that smoking constricts the blood vessels in the gums, so unhealthy gums may not bleed which is a major warning sign that something is wrong.
During pregnancy, women can develop a condition called pregnancy gingivitis because the gums become more sensitive to bacteria due to the increase in hormone levels. While this condition clears up once the baby is born, it’s important for pregnant women to have regular dental care, especially if they already have signs of gum disease. Advanced periodontal disease has been linked to preterm births and with low birth-weight babies.
Every Preventative Dental Care Plan at our Allentown Office Is Personalized
Everyone who comes to see us receives a personalized preventative dental care plan which will be devised after carefully assessing your current dental health and your medical health. This will show how frequently you should come and see us for checkups and cleanings to help maintain optimal dental health. If you have any existing health conditions or are currently pregnant, we might suggest more frequent visits or that you see our hygienist more often. It will also detail any additional treatments we feel will be useful in maintaining good dental health. For example, we frequently recommend fluoride treatments for adults as well as for children. In between visits, it is important to always brush at least twice a day and to floss once a day, a simple routine that will only take you a few minutes to complete. By taking a proactive and preventative approach to your dental care, you can maintain a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile.
If you do have questions about your dental health then please don’t hesitate to ask at your next checkup. There is nothing we like more than talking about teeth.