Preventive dental care is the cornerstone of a healthy smile, and investing a little time and energy into routine dental exams and cleanings can greatly reduce your risk of more serious problems requiring complex interventions for treatment. You should be seeing your dentist at least twice each year for preventive dental care, and these appointments can be completed in about an hour or less in most cases.
In combination with a thorough home oral hygiene routine, the exams and cleanings that you receive at these appointments go a long way to keep your smile as healthy as possible. A dental hygienist can reach the parts of your smile that’s tough for you to get to using just a toothbrush and floss. As such, plaque and tartar can still accumulate on your teeth, but periodic professional cleanings will help to eliminate them and limit their ability to harm your teeth and gums. Your dental hygienist can also give you tips and guidance for your home oral hygiene techniques so that you are getting the maximum benefit of your routine.
Additionally, when a dentist examines your teeth and gums every six months, it’s much more likely that any oral diseases, like tooth decay or periodontal disease, will be identified in their earliest stages. A small cavity or mild gingivitis is much easier to treat than a large area of decay or advanced periodontitis. It could make the difference between getting a small filling vs. a dental crown, or a deep cleaning and gum surgery.
In some ways, preventive dental care can even by a life-saving endeavor. One of the services you will receive at your checkup is an oral cancer screening. Oral cancer actually has a good prognosis if it is diagnosed and treated before it has the opportunity to spread to nearby tissue.
Preventive care may also include more specific interventions, such as dental sealants and fluoride treatments, which help to protect and strengthen your teeth. Your dentist may also recommend a custom-designed athletic mouthguard if you participate in sports. This is yet another way to protect your smile.
Postponing preventive care can ultimately result in undiagnosed oral diseases that may devastate your smile’s appearance and functioning. Has it been more than six months since your last dental visit? Call us soon to schedule a checkup and get back on track with your preventive care.