Why You Should Get Regular Dental Check-ups
For most people a visit to the dentist is not something to look forward to, even if it’s just a regular check-up. There’s something about someone fiddling about in your mouth that is decidedly unpleasant. However, the consequences of not getting regular check-ups are much more dramatic than a few minutes of discomfort. The great news is that the better your oral health the less often you will need to go to your dentist. This is not only because you won’t need treatment; the better your oral health the less often you’ll need to go for a check-up as well.
The average time between check-ups is around 6 months, however, if your oral health is poor you may need to go as often as every 3 months. If you have good oral health you may be able to wait up to a year between check-ups. It is important to point out that the time between your visits will be decided by your dentist rather than you, so you need to go with the recommendation your dentist gives you for intervals between check-ups.
Visiting your dentist regularly for a check-up will not only enable him to treat existing problems; it can help him to prevent certain problems all together. Many dental issues get more difficult to treat as the condition progresses and is left untreated. Visiting your dentist for regular check-ups means your dentist will be able to notice potential problems in your teeth and gums, and he will be able to take steps to treat the condition or give you steps to take that will help to prevent the potential issue from developing.
During the check-up your dentist will examine your gums, teeth and the rest of your mouth and will ask you if you have experienced any problems or discomfort with your teeth since the last check-up. He will also usually advise you on your diet and your method for cleaning your teeth.
If all is well and there are no problems, he will give you a date for your next visit. If there are problems or potential problems, if the treatment is simple and quick to do he may carry it out at that appointment; or, if not, he will give you a date to come back for the treatment.
During the check-up, while the dentist is checking your teeth, gums and mouth he is looking for a number of specific issues. On your teeth he will be looking for cavities (or “carries”), and he will also check to see if there is tartar or plaque on your teeth. Plaque is the sticky coating of bacteria that can harden and transform into tartar if it is not removed by good brushing of the teeth.
Plaque and Tartar
Once the plaque becomes tartar it cannot be removed by brushing or flossing. Plaque an tartar are the causes of oral diseases and cavities. You may not know that you have plaque building up, or even tartar. Even if you brush your teeth regularly there may be hard to reach places where plaque is building up without your knowledge.
If you don’t visit your dentist for a check-up, that plaque will go unchecked and will turn into tartar. Once that happens it will not be removed by brushing and can cause oral disease. If you visit your dentist for a check-up he will see the plaque and be able to remove it as well as give you advice on brushing and flossing that will prevent the problem in the future. If it has already become tartar, he will be able to remove that for you.