- by Dr. Ravneet Dhillon
- March 27, 2023
Overview of Dental Check-ups and Cleanings
It is about time everyone realises the importance of oral health. Oral health is also important for general health as oral health can both impact or get impacted by general health.
A regular dental check-up will help maintain healthy gums and teeth. It will also help notice signs or symptoms of some general health conditions. A regular dental check-up can include both a dental examination and a dental cleaning.
Studies have shown that people who go for regular dental check-ups report feeling better about their oral health, have cleaner teeth, and lower rates of dental caries and tooth loss.
We all know how painful dental issues can be and you can avoid this distress by visiting your dentist on a regular basis.
The Benefits of Regular Dental Check-Ups and Dental Cleaning
Early Diagnosis of Oral Health Problems
The dentist will examine your oral cavity and look for the signs of cavities, gum disease, loosening teeth, impacted teeth, or other issues. The dentist also has the option of taking dental x-rays if needed to check problems that can be missed by the naked eye. We cannot assess our oral health at home.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Over time, our teeth can get stained by different foods and drinks. Some areas of the mouth can be hard to reach and teeth may not be getting cleaned properly. Plaque and tartar deposits occur over time and routine dental care at home may not be able to address them.
Dental cleaning by an expert dentist can address these issues which can otherwise lead to tooth decay, periodontitis, etc. Regular dental cleaning by an experienced dentist is more cost-effective than restorative treatments you will need if small issues lead to bigger ones.
Education and Guidance on Oral Care at Home
Even though we have access to the internet for learning new things, nothing comes close to professional advice and education in person.
A dentist is the best person to provide us with instructions to take better care of our teeth and gums. They can also help us with lifestyle changes and individual care if there are issues like teeth grinding, mal-aligned teeth, wider gaps, etc.
Save Money on Expensive Procedures
Sometimes a loose tooth or a cavity or decay or gum disease can be managed easily and in a cost-effective manner if such issues are identified early on. If you miss regular dental check-ups, such problems will aggravate and more expensive procedures will be required.
Build Rapport and Get Comfortable
In time, all of us need some or the other dental procedure. A regular checkup from a dentist is a great way to build rapport, talk about your concerns, ask about home remedies, enquire about dental cosmetic procedures, etc. It is also a great way for the dentist to understand your individual needs and concerns.
Detecting Signs of Other Health Conditions
Oral cancer is a serious issue that can be effectively treated in the early stages. Its earliest signs can be seen in the mouth and a good dentist always examines the oral cavity thoroughly. They can detect such signs which can save your life.
Some health conditions like diabetes or certain medications can decrease the flow of saliva which can predispose to dental issues while also causing discomfort.
Some other diseases like HIV or medications like steroids make you susceptible to infections including dental infections. This is why you need to see experienced dentists as they can detect as well as help with such issues.
As a part of the prevention of other health issues- It is now a well-established fact that poor dental health can contribute to other diseases and problems which include endocarditis, complications in pregnancy, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Regular dental check-ups and dental cleaning help in preventing such issues.
What Happens During a Dental Check-Up?
The first step is making you comfortable. After this, the dentist will examine your teeth, gums, and mouth. You will be asked about any issues you are facing, your general health and medications, etc. You may also be given advice for maintaining oral health. X-Rays may be taken if needed.
The next step may involve dental cleaning or you may be given a date for the next visit.
If you go ahead with a dental cleaning, you need to know what it may cover. Dental cleaning may be prophylactic or preventive. It may include debridement if there is a buildup of plaque.
The buildup can be extensive if you have not seen your dentist in a long time and your oral care routine is not proper. Deep dental cleaning may be required if you have periodontitis and hardened tartar.
After your checkup and cleaning are over, your dentist may recommend some products or medications while guiding you on the right techniques to maintain oral hygiene.
You may be advised certain treatments like fillings, and root canals or may be referred to a medical doctor if some issues are found by your dentist. Take your time to ask questions if there are any regarding your oral health and treatment.
Regular dental check-ups and cleaning are not expensive. You can also check if these are covered by your health insurance policy as one or two preventive check-ups are usually covered. See your dentist once every six months or earlier if you have existing issues.
The right time for a dental visit can vary from 3 months to two years based on oral health status, general health condition, and risk of future dental issues.
A visit to the dentist can save you a lot of pain, money, and time. Prevention is better than cure and this is always going to stay true.