Why a Regular Dental Check-Up Is About More Than Your Cleaning
Do you look forward to your regular teeth cleaning and check-up with your dentist? Some people love walking out of the dentist’s office with a beautiful looking smile. Other people would rather do anything instead of visiting the dentist. Regardless of which camp you fall into, it’s so important to see your dentist for a check-up every six months. Only your dentist can give you a full evaluation of your dental health. The typical person isn’t really able to keep tabs on their dental health at home barring the obvious like painful cavities or a chipped tooth. Here are all the important things that happen or get checked for at your dental check-up.
A whiter smile
One great benefit of your cleaning is having whiter looking teeth and a feeling of cleanliness when you leave. There’s really nothing like it and it’s quite enjoyable. This may be the primary reason why you see your dentist every six months. No one wants to feel self-conscious about their smile. Especially in a world that seems to run on caffeine, daily habits like drinking coffee, eating certain foods, or even smoking can all quickly discolor your teeth. A cleaning has wonderful aesthetic benefits, but those benefits are arguably the least important part of your check-up.
While a whiter smile is of course great and having that “clean mouth” feeling can’t be replicated without your dentist, the true goal of your check-up is to check for and treat gum disease should it be present. Chances are high you have at least some level of gingivitis as it’s believed a majority of the population is living with it in some capacity. Luckily, many of those cases are mild. However, without the proper medical care, it won’t stay mild. That’s why it’s so important to regularly have your dentist address your gum health during your cleaning. Tracking the progression of gum disease and working to reverse it is key to making sure it doesn’t progress to full blown periodontal disease that can cause tooth loss or bone degradation. Treating or preventing gum disease is probably the biggest reason why you need to make sure you see your dentist twice a year.
There’s more to your dental health than what meets the eye. That’s not meant to sound mysterious, but rather emphasize that you can’t see every issue that could be affecting your mouth in the mirror. Sometimes things are happening in the bones beneath the gums. Getting x-rays done regularly gives your dentist insight into your bone health. Conditions like gum disease, vitamin deficiencies, and osteoporosis can degrade the integrity of your jawbone which can have a significant impact on your dental health. Teeth can shift or fall out. Crooked teeth are a major contributor to the development of plaque and related gum disease which would just accelerate tooth loss. Additionally, your dentist can tell you if your wisdom teeth (if not erupted or removed already) are going to become problematic for you.
Finally, we have something of an extreme case, but one that everyone needs to be aware of as it’s not as rare as one might think. Oral cancer is considered common as far as cancer is concerned. The early signs and symptoms are subtle. It may not even arouse suspicion, which is why your best defense is a regular check-up where your dentist will check for signs of disease. It’s a routine part of your cleaning and you won’t even know it’s happening. Any sores or lesions deemed suspicious will be biopsied to be safe.
Some quick facts on oral cancer: It often happens in people over 40, tobacco seems to be the biggest risk factor, heavy alcohol use and HPV infection are also major contributors to developing oral cancer. It’s also quite treatable as long as it’s caught at an early enough stage. That’s why having your dentist catch it before symptoms are even pronounced is critical to your recovery.
Seeing your dentist twice a year for your check-up and cleaning is just as critical to your health as seeing any other doctor for your annual checkup, whether it’s your family doctor, OBGYN, or dermatologist. Our mouths are not separate from the rest of our bodies when it comes to healthy living. Disease can begin there as well. By taking care of our dental health, we’re helping to take care of our overall health. If you haven’t been in recently for a check-up, it’s time for a cleaning. Not only will your smile look great, but you’ll also be able to confirm if you have a clean bill of health. Book an appointment online with us today to come in. The team at Dental Center of Redondo Beach is dedicated to providing you with the professional care you need so you can look your best and stay healthy.