Importance of regular dental checkups

Dentists recommend regular dental checkups twice a year. These visits ensure the health of your teeth and gums. The regular check up will help to diagnose problems like tooth decay, gum disease, cavities or even oral cancer in the early stages.

Benefits of regular dental visit

  • Removing Plaque, Tartar, and Cavities

Plaque and tartar can accumulate in a short span of time if proper oral hygiene is not practiced. If ignored plaque can solidify and progress to tartar. Plaques can also lead to gum disease. Routine dental cleanings avoid tartar from decaying teeth or producing holes in them, known as cavities. Cavities are asymptomatic but can rapidly damage the teeth if untreated. Fillings are needed to fix damaged teeth. These complications can be avoided with regular dental treatments that help to get rid of plaque and tartar. Food, drinks and smoking can discolor the teeth. Dental visits help to restore the color of the tooth.

  • Treating Gum Disease

Plaque and tartar can progress to gum disease in short period of time. Tartar can cause an infection to the area where the gum is connected to the tooth, making the gum drag away from the tooth. This infection is called gingivitis and as it progresses the tissue that connects gums to the teeth breaks down.

At this stage you will experience swelling, bleeding, or discomfort inside the mouth. Along with the breakdown of the tissue, gum disease also contributes to breakdown of the bone that keeps teeth in position. Loosening of the teeth and tooth loss is very common in the late stages and will require immediate dental treatments. In case of severe infections, gum disease will require surgery. So it is better to keep it in check by routine check ups.

  • Identification of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a life threatening disease that can be identified through dental visits. Early detection of oral cancer helps in the successful treatment of this disease. The dentist will  examine the mouth to check for aberrations like  areas of redness, swelling and white patches (leukoplakia).If any suspicious area is found, the dentist will remove a section of cells from suspicious area to send into the laboratory. Abnormal cells can be removed using a scalpel, scissors or another surgical tool. The cells are then tested for cancer or precancerous changes that point towards the risk of cancer in future.

·         Keeping Bad Habits in Check

Some of the bad habits have serious effects on your dental health. Habits like  smoking, use of tobacco, chewing ice, biting your nails, clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth, eating sweets and ice creams in excess, brushing your teeth too hard, drinking coffee and red wine etc can contribute to tooth decay and damage .

The dentist can easily detect any dental damage caused by these habits. The dentist will make you aware of the negative impact of these habits. This visit allows you to quit or alter your habits to put off further damage. Visiting the dentist also helps in fixing the damage that has already been happened.

·         Head, Neck, and Lymph Node Checks

Along with checking your mouth, gums, and tongue for signs of any health issues, the dentist will also examine your neck, jaw, and lymph nodes, located just below the jaw line, for any inflammation, lumps, or other anomalies. In case of any abnormality, the dentist will inform you about it and assist you for further treatment.

Swollen lymph nodes may be an indication of certain types of cancer or other diseases that require urgent medical attention. Routine dental checkups have an added advantage of checking your neck and thyroid glands. This may help to detect an extremely serious disease early enough to make a huge difference in the outcome of the disease.

  • Detection of issues with X-Rays

Most dentists will perform an X-ray during regular dental checkup. The teeth and jaw bone will be x-rayed to detect any issues that may not be evident in the physical examination. In some cases growing teeth may be hindered from pushing through the gum line (like wisdom teeth).These issues can be detected and resolved using X-ray.

Problems like damage to the jawbone, bone decay, inflammation, cysts, or tumors can only be detected through X-ray images. Serious diseases that show little to no symptoms but develop quickly, could be diagnosed with the help of X-ray technique.

  • Enhance your confidence

During dental cleanings, the accumulated tartar and plaque is removed which is not possible by brushing alone. After the treatment your smile feels truly fresh and clean. Regular dental cleanings can also help to avoid embarrassing bad breath.

Steps involved in a dental checkup

A dental check up begins with physical examination of every tooth. The dentist will then examine your gums followed by a head and neck examination. He will also evaluate any indications of oral cancer, diabetes or vitamin deficiencies by checking the mouth. Dental cleaning comes in the last part of the visit. Dentist will also explain about the importance of maintaining a good oral hygiene. Below listed are the routine parts to a regular dental examination.

  • Checking for the visual evidence of tooth decay
  • Examining the gums
  • Checking for signs of gum disease
  • Looking for loose teeth
  • Evaluating the tissues inside the mouth
  • Examining your tongue
  • Evaluating your bite
  • Looking for broken teeth
  • Checking for damaged fillings if any
  • Looking for change in the gums covering teeth
  • Examining any dental appliance
  • Checking the gaps between the teeth
  • Taking X-rays

The dentist will then examine your head, neck and lymph node for any swelling or lumps.

The final part of the dental check up involves cleaning the mouth. The dental cleaning treatment involves the removal of plaque and tartar, flossing and polishing of the teeth. Dentist will further advice on the health of the teeth and gums and also about the hygiene techniques to be followed.

Six months is the perfect time frame for performing a dental check-up. It will not only keep your teeth healthy but also protects your overall health.

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