Beginning when children celebrate their first birthday, or within months of the first tooth erupting, all people should see the dentist at least twice per year for cleanings and exams. However, if you have gum disease, more frequent visits may be necessary to ensure that all infections are promptly treated. Known as preventative and diagnostic dentistry, seeing the dentist regularly for cleanings and exams is an essential part of maintaining overall health.
Why Regular Dental Cleanings and Exams Are Essential
Even people who practice excellent oral hygiene habits, such as brushing twice daily, and flossing daily, should see a dentist regularly. There are three primary reasons to see your dentist every six months.
First, consider that plaque begins building up on the teeth as soon as you finish eating. Although excellent brushing and flossing habits keep this plaque manageable between dental visits, the professional cleaning you’ll receive from your dental office is more comprehensive. Dentists can remove more of the plaque buildup in areas you may not be brushing as thoroughly as you think. When plaque gets beneath the gum line, or between teeth it leads to gum disease.
Many people initially have no idea that they have gum disease, because in the early stages it may not cause any symptoms. However, if left untreated, gum disease can progress from mild (gingivitis) to severe (periodontitis) which can lead to problems including the loss of jaw bone, and the need for other, more involved treatments to preserve your natural teeth.
Regular dental cleanings are also important because your dentist and hygienist are performing a complete oral exam, every time you go in for a cleaning. They examine your entire mouth to look for signs of changes in tissue, lesions, tumors, or other warning signs of underlying health conditions including oral cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Thirdly, regular dental exams and cleanings allow for a quick response to any signs of tooth decay. Teeth can be filled to prevent worsening decay, thereby saving you money on potentially expensive future restorative treatments such as root canals, crowns, or dental extractions and implants.
What To Expect at Your Dental Cleaning and Exam
During a regular dental exam, you may have digital x-rays taken to ensure that no problems exist which are invisible to the naked eye, such as teeth that are impacted. Likewise, digital x-rays can reveal fractures beneath the gum line, or signs of infection in the gum. Digital x-rays are fast, painless, and your dentist can review your results immediately. If any areas of concern are found, your dentist will likely point them out to you, by showing you the images and the problems seen in the scans.
A dental hygienist will then begin your cleaning. They will use special tools to remove any stubborn plaque, before thoroughly flossing and polishing your teeth. Once your cleaning is complete, you can expect your dentist to come in, go over any x-rays with you, and perform a thorough examination. They will look for any signs of underlying disease, and examine your entire jaw and neck for abnormalities.
Most dental cleanings and exams take less than one hour. In some cases, if minor decay is found, your dentist may have time to fill those teeth during the same appointment. If not, you will be scheduled for a follow-up appointment. If gum disease is found, your dentist will likely schedule you for a deep cleaning, known as root planing and scaling to remove plaque and bacteria beneath your gum line.
Schedule a Dental Exam and Cleaning in Gonzales, LA
It is never too late to begin taking better care of your teeth, gums, and mouth. If you haven’t been diligent about seeing a dentist regularly, it’s time to start. Good oral health can help you maintain lasting health. If the thought of going to the dentist makes you nervous, inquire about options for sedation dentistry. Dr. Rome and his staff never want the fear of going to the dentist to prevent you from receiving the dental care you need. Contact us today at 225-621-2701 , or feel free to request an appointment online.