The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups
Why do we need dental checkups?
Different people have asked me in the past whether or not it was really important to go to the dentist regularly for dental checkups. “If nothing hurts, what’s the point of going?” they contested. It’s an appropriate question, and I wanted to go over some of the benefits of receiving regular dental checkups, and even go over the importance of regular dental cleanings as well.
Firstly, I’ll go over why we in dentistry feel it is important that people get checked at the office regularly:
- Dental checkups – The purpose of dental checkups are to keep tabs on your oral health. This includes watching for gum disease, tooth decay, screening for oral cancer, and more. A general rule for a lot of problems in the mouth (and in life) is: the earlier a problem is caught and handled, the less time, pain, and money will be needed. Let’s look at tooth decay as an example. Say someone comes in to the office, and we see they have a small cavity on one of their molars. This hypothetical person feels no pain, is not bothered by the cavity, and in all other regards, are doing just fine. Well, it’s great that they’re not in pain for one thing. Having pain in your tooth is a sure sign that an existing condition has continued for too long. The cost and time to fix this small cavity (before it get’s any larger) is far less than it would be if the decay moved down into the tooth, and eventually hit the root (which will happen if left unchecked, and would also most likely require a root canal procedure). Problems in the mouth will not just go away usually. I’m especially referring to tooth decay and gum disease. Decay in your teeth (caused by bacteria) will continue to progressively worsen if the bacteria is not removed and the tooth is not sealed. Likewise, if you have gum disease (also caused by bacteria), and this is left unchecked, many other issues will arise. With gum disease in particular, other health problems can arise. Teeth can become loose, your gums may start bleeding, your breath may progressively get more and more odorous, and you will even lose bone that supports your teeth (more on this). Having regular dental checkups will allow the dentist to spot gum disease, and allow them to tackle the issue before it causes more damage. Oral cancer screenings can also be done during regular dental checkups. The recommended for oral cancer screenings is once a year starting at the age of 18.
- Regular Dental Cleanings – As mentioned above part of the reason we receive regular checkups from the dentist is to spot gum disease and handle it before it causes more problems. A very large percentage of adults have some form of gum disease. Those that do will always benefit greatly from receiving dental cleanings with their regular dental checkups. Those that don’t will benefit from regular cleanings, as having regular cleanings will help prevent you from ever getting severe gum disease in the first place. It’s a bit of a win/win situation.
Cost Effective Prevention.
Some dentistry can get up there in price. Root canal therapy procedures, dental crowns, large fillings, gum disease treatment…these can run you a pretty penny. This is why we, at our dental office in Washington, DC, like to stress the importance of coming in regularly (at least once every six months). Doing so will allow us to spot problems before they get monstrous, and to handle monstrous problems before they become disastrous. Getting needed work done before it get’s out of hand will save you time and money in the end. Getting regular cleanings can help prevent any future need for expensive gum disease treatment in the future. Waiting until something hurts, or waiting until a specific problem arises and only then going to the dentist should not be the norm. Seeing your dentist in DC regularly, and getting regular dental cleanings can go a long way in keeping you healthy, as well as lessening the likeliness of large issues you’ll have to deal with concerning your teeth and mouth in the future.
Hope this helped you understand why we in dentistry stress regular visits.
Stay healthy my friends.