How Often Should I Visit the Dentist?
Considering that approximately half of the UK population choose not to visit their dentist at all, this is a good question.
Is it really necessary to visit the dentist regularly? What’s the point of a dental visit when your teeth look and feel perfectly fine? What if I’m a very anxious person at the dentist?
Those are excellent questions! We’d like to encourage you to find the answers in this article. And while you read, try and pick out which of these issues could possibly apply to you.
Let’s Talk About Teeth
Fifty years ago, a trip to the dentist was generally only something we did to attend to tooth or gum damage that had already taken place.
Even though we are far better educated about our dental health in modern times, not many people realise that regular visits to the dentist are not only a key component of your oral hygiene, but that your oral health is also an essential part of staying healthy in general.
A healthy mouth starts with the gums. When you have healthy gums, your teeth are well supported in turn. Maintaining a good oral care routine focused on healthy gums and teeth plays a pivotal role in allowing a person to correctly speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow and make facial expressions.
On the flip side, poor oral health can lead to serious consequences which can become costly to manage or just downright painful.
Gum disease in particular is associated with diabetes, heart disease and even strokes. In pregnant women, gum disease has been noted to play a role in premature births and low birth weight babies.
Why Professional Teeth Cleaning is Important
You may think that brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day is enough to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. The truth is that no matter how thorough you are, plague, which is a clear and sticky layer of bacteria, still has a tendency to build up over time. It also has a tendency to harden into tartar or calculus which is what leads to cavities and gum disease.
The sooner your dentist and hygienist can identify any problems you might have in your mouth, the better. An oral exam and sometimes an x-ray will be able to identify things like teeth alignment, cavities, gingivitis (mild gum disease) and any abnormalities that may be present such as tumours or cysts.
How Often Should I Visit the Dentist?
The basic rule of thumb for adults recommends you should visit your dentist every six months to have a routine check-up and teeth cleaning.
If you have children, six-monthly visits are especially critical to set a solid foundation for maintaining good dental habits and healthy teeth and gums into adulthood.
In addition to checking that your children’s teeth are developing well and that you’re staying on top of tartar and calculus, regular dental visits will also help to get your children accustomed to dental tools and eliminate the fear so often associated with dentists. (Most of which arise as a result of one holding out until dental problems become quite serious.)
Whether you are vigilant about regular dental visits or not, the onset of any sudden or unusual tooth pain, whether it’s simply tooth sensitivity or painful toothache, definitely needs a visit to the dentist to prevent further problems from developing. Be sure to make an appointment as soon as possible.
Getting a dental check-up when you have had a health change or been diagnosed with a disease offers the peace of mind in knowing whether your new circumstances may have any implications for your teeth and gums. You’ll also better understand how to preserve and manage your oral health to minimise potential problems.
What Can I Expect at a Routine Checkup?
If you have any trepidation about a routine teeth cleaning procedure, you’re not alone.
You may imagine that it will be a painful and uncomfortable process, and many people feel this way. It will serve you well then, to have a candid conversation with your dentist about your concerns so that these can be explained to you to put your mind at ease.
Ultimately, to keep your teeth and gums in optimum health, it will be necessary for your dentist or dental hygienist to use special tools to both inspect your mouth as well as clean and polish your teeth.
Small hand-held mirrors are used to view the back surfaces of your teeth and mouth. Because they reflect the light, this makes any tartar deposits easier to spot.
Hand-held scalers made of metal are designed to scrape any plaque and tartar off your teeth. The scalers are multi-purpose, two-sided instruments. The pointed end is used on the section of the teeth above the gum line, and the curved and blunt end is used to clean below the gum line without any risk of gum injury.
Once any plaque and tartar have been removed, your dentist or hygienist will use a polishing tool with a moderately abrasive plate. This will gently polish the surface of your teeth to restore a degree of whiteness and make them shiny. When combined with dental scaling, tooth polishing does more than just improve the appearance of your teeth; it also helps remove bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth, freshens your breath, and prevents tooth decay.
Most importantly, don’t let a bad past dental experience compromise your future oral health.
Find Your Happy Place
Be sure to seek out a dentist and hygienist with whom you feel comfortable; someone who you can always engage to quell your anxiety and keep any fears you might have at bay. This will help in keeping up your six-monthly visits ensuring that they are a good experience … and not the stuff of nightmares.
At Shine Dental, you can be certain that you’ll be in safe hands because we understand how important it is to make your every visit to us as pleasant, relaxed and as comfortable as possible.
Contact us today to speak to our friendly team or set up an appointment.