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The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

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The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

A young male dentist treating a female patient in a dental chair

Our teeth are the hardest substance in our bodies, but even they can deteriorate under the constant attack of plaque and tooth decay. Even if you have a good oral hygiene routine, there are areas in the mouth that are hard to reach where bacteria loves to accumulate. Regular dental checkups are essential to combat initial tooth decay, identify any underlying problems and give teeth a thorough cleaning. Find out what to expect at your next dental checkup and how it can improve your oral health with these tips!

 

History of Oral Health

Taking care of one’s oral health is a relatively new concept that began within the last 100 years alone. Although there are archaeological finds of toothbrushes made out of bone and boar hair from ancient Egypt and other regions dating thousands of years ago, the understanding behind why we should take good care of our teeth wasn’t well known until military examinations began more than 50 years ago. During that time, people didn’t take good care of their teeth so most had teeth that were in bad shape. There weren’t any guidelines about oral health and how often you should see the dentist, plus most dentists only fixed problems rather than educating patients on how to prevent them. This eventually led dental and health organizations to establish guidelines and recommendations for preventative dentistry and the twice-a-year dental visits that we are so accustomed to. Although, back then, semiannual visits weren’t medically backed by evidence, but rather were a guess that professionals agreed on to encourage people to visit their dentist. Even so, semiannual visits have become a good rule of thumb for most patients, but you should still visit your dentist based on your oral hygiene habits and medical conditions.

 

What To Expect During A Dental Checkup

After the war, dental checkups became common and helped prevent more cavities and gum disease in patients. For us, we are so accustomed to dental checkups that it seems almost ridiculous that they weren’t as popular as they are now. However, not everyone’s dental checkup experience will be the same. All patients should have their medical history reviewed during their dental appointment to identify family conditions that could be affecting oral health. While the most important part of a checkup is reviewing your teeth for signs of decay, other examinations are performed, as well. Your head and neck will be examined to check your lymph nodes and lower jaw joints, and your mouth will be inspected for oral cancer, vitamin deficiencies and diabetes. Your gums, tongue and bite will also be reviewed to detect any underlying issues that you could be experiencing, and a thorough cleaning of your teeth will be performed to remove sticky plaque. A dental examination will then be performed with a metal probe and small mirror to check for swelling, redness and deep gingival pockets. Your upper and lower teeth will be examined to see how they come together and your soft tissues will be checked for signs of infection. Digital X-rays and handheld X-ray devices are also used during this process to diagnose oral health needs with 90% less radiation than traditional X-rays. These X-ray devices allow the dentist to look beneath your gum line to help monitor roots and jaw bones. 

 

The entire process of a dental checkup is more intricate than patients realize, but all aspects of the checkup are necessary so that oral health needs can be properly addressed and treated. An important tip to remember, however, is that your experience at the dentist is greatly influenced by how you take care of your oral health at home. Nearly all dental issues can be prevented by a good oral hygiene routine, and care provided by a dentist is just a preventative step in protecting your teeth. If you want a beautiful smile that lasts you a lifetime, you need to start by analyzing your oral hygiene routine at home. 

 

Protecting Teeth At HomeAfrican American mother with her young daughter brushing their teeth

To make the best of your dental checkup, make sure that you establish a good oral hygiene routine each day. Healthy teeth and gums are developed with the help of a dentist and good oral health habits, such as brushing, flossing and using mouthwash. It may be tempting to forego brushing your teeth when you’re tired at night and just want to go to bed, but nighttime is the perfect opportunity for unbrushed teeth to grow enamel-eating bacteria. For patients with braces, it’s especially important that they maintain a good oral hygiene routine as food particles tend to get stuck between wires and brackets, allowing white spots and decay to form. As you are consistent with your oral hygiene at home, your likelihood of decay and cavities will decrease exponentially and you can enjoy the benefits of a healthy, disease-free mouth.

 

Schedule Your Next Appointment

At Mountain Aire Dentistry, we are dedicated to your oral health needs and have years of proven experience addressing patients’ dental questions and problems. If you are due for your next dental checkup, call our office today at (303) 731-7755 to schedule your visit. The journey to a healthier, more beautiful smile starts today, so call now!