Teeth Cleaning: Miami Dentists Improving Your Oral Health
Beautiful smiles don’t happen by chance; they require a lifetime of keeping teeth and gums healthy. Regular checkups can help detect issues that could cause major problems down the road. Most dentists recommend attending checkups every six months, but checkup schedules are dependent upon the patient’s oral healthy history, age, diet, and general health. Therefore, it’s best to ask your dentist’s recommendation in choosing a checkup schedule.
Dental checkups and cleanings are more important than most realize. A checkup can help prevent dental issues in the future, which can ultimately save your smile. Read on to see why dental checkups are worth the cost and slight inconvenience.
Why Regular Checkups are Important
Many patients believe that so long as they brush and floss their teeth on a daily basis then they are doing everything they can to maintain the health of their teeth and gums. The problem with this logic is that dental issues don’t just appear suddenly. It can be difficult for patients to notice slight changes in their teeth and gums. Therefore, it’s useful to attend regular checkups so a dental professional can perform a full evaluation.
Here are a few good reasons you should make time to visit with a dentist:
- Calculus can only be removed with specialized tools. Scaling and root planing are usually performed in patients with calculus, excessive plaque buildup, or who are at risk of periodontal disease. Plaque can form into calculus (tartar) in as little as 48 hours. Removing calculus (tartar) requires professional expertise and specialized tools. This process is known as scaling. If left untreated, calculus can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth loss.
- Checkups can save you a lot of money.When compared to the cost of restorative procedures, attending regular checkups should be seen as a wise investment, one that can save patients a good deal of time, money, and frustration.
- Detect issues before they become problems. Gingivitis, cavities, and periodontal disease don’t just appear overnight. By attending regular checkups, your dentist can help treat small dental issues before they have a chance to become big problems.
- Check for oral cancers. Dentists are on the frontline when it comes to checking for oral cancers as well as cancers of the head and neck. Dentists are trained to look for signs of oral cancers, which can include raised lumps and patches of discolored tissue. Even if you have a history of excellent oral health, regular oral cancer screens may prove beneficial.
What Happens During a Dental Checkup?
There are actually two parts to a dental checkup, and both are important to safeguarding your oral health. These are the checkup and the cleaning.
- The exam. During the checkup, the dentist will examine your teeth, gums, and tongue for signs of tooth decay or disease. If it’s been a while since your last checkup, the dentist may order X-rays or CT scans to make sure there are no issues hiding below the surface. Dentists are also trained to check the lymph nodes and maxillofacial region for any health-related issues.
- The cleaning (prophylaxis).Most checkups also include a cleaning (prophylaxis). Most have the mistaken belief that because they brush and floss regularly their teeth are clean. But, even with brushing and flossing, you may be missing spots where plaque and calculus have formed — most notably between teeth and below the gumline.
- Polishing. Tooth polishing isn't performed to make the teeth appear nice and shiny (although that is beneficial). Tooth polishing is done to create a smooth surface, making it easier to brush and rinse away bacterial buildup in the form of dental plaque. Polishing is also useful in removing shallow tooth stains.
What is Dental Plaque?
Dental plaque is a type of biofilm that forms on the teeth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dental plaque is sticky and can be clear or have a slightly yellowish tint. Plaque contains partially disolved food particles, minerals, and bacteria. It’s the bacteria part of plaque that is the most troublesome, as the acidity of the bacterial waste demineralize tooth enamel, leading to cavities and gingivitis.
How Often Should I Visit the Dentist?
One of the most frequent questions dentists receive is how often patients should schedule checkups. This is a great question; if a patient doesn’t know, they should ask their dentist. But, what commonly happens is that a dentist will inform the front office on the patient’s ideal checkup schedule, which they then relay to the patient. This makes the checkup schedule seem arbitrary (and therefore unimportant in the eyes of patients).
In a study conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA,) they found high-risk patients could benefits from multiple visits in a year, while those with optimal oral health could get by with once-yearly dental checkups. Therefore, most dentists (when speaking in general terms) will state that attending a checkup every six months is a schedule frequency that will benefit the greatest number of people. But, since the treatment schedule is based on the individual oral health of the patient, treatment frequency will vary.
Plan for a Great Smile
Comprehensive dental exams allow dentist to gather all the information necessary to develop a long-term treatment plan. Ensure a future of beautiful, healthy smiles — schedule a comprehensive dental exam, today!