Let’s face it. Most people don’t love going to their biannual checkup at the dentist every six months. Whether you have a tight schedule or dental anxiety, getting these regular checkups done can be all too easy to justify skipping.
That said, your regular dental checkup is one of the most important health habits you can have. Routine cleanings, preventive care, and early detection for numerous problems can all make skipping these appointments a lot more expensive in the long run, and can pose a risk to your health if a problem goes overlooked. What do we mean? Let’s take a look:
1. Plaque, Tartar and Cavities
First things first – let’s cover the basics. At every checkup, your dentist (or dental hygienist) will do a thorough examination and cleaning of your teeth. If you brush and floss regularly, they may not uncover much – but chances are still good that they’ll clean up some hard to reach spots that need a little extra attention.
In the long run, having your teeth cleaned regularly is far easier (and cheaper) than getting fillings or other dental work done. Paying the dentist a visit every six months can help rid your mouth of harmful plaque that can erode your teeth, causing cavities or worse. Even if you do end up with cavities, getting them treated sooner rather than later is always your best bet.
2. Oral Cancer Detection
Cancer is serious, and the oral variety is no exception. Thankfully, unlike some types of cancer, oral cancer is usually treatable – especially if it’s caught early! Your dentist and their staff are highly trained experts when it comes to spotting the warning signs and symptoms of oral cancer. And recognizing oral cancer early on is critical to successful treatment, so while you may not notice any of the red flags that indicate the presence of cancer, your dentist likely will.
3. Gum Disease
You’ve probably heard of gingivitis, even if it was only during a TV commercial. But gingivitis – an infection of the gums – is pretty serious. Just like tooth decay, gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar, which cause the gum to pull away from the tooth and become inflamed or infected. As the infection advances, the gum tissue pulls further away from the teeth and breaks down, sometimes leading to permanent damage. Treatment of gum disease is expensive and time consuming, and can be avoided with regular dental visits.
4. Head Check
In addition to all of the attention they’ll pay to your teeth, your dentist is going to check a lot more than just what’s on the surface. They’ll likely want to do x-rays to look for any problems beneath the surface, such as impacted teeth, bone decay, swelling, cysts or tumors. An experienced dentist will also check your head, neck and lymph nodes for any swelling or other abnormalities. Discovering warning signs in a routine checkup can lead to early detection of a potentially major issue and give you the opportunity to seek early treatment, addressing the problem before it becomes serious.Read more →