The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

May 12, 2022

Helping you maintain clean and healthy teeth is just one reason why regular dental checkups are important. Examinations are also an excellent opportunity for assessing your gums, mouth, and jaw for any issues that might require additional procedures. 

You’ll want to visit your dentist every six months or as recommended by your dental professional. Doing so will help to promote a stronger enamel (outer layer of your tooth) and overall improved oral health.

So, is a dental checkup necessary? The answer is yes. Here’s a closer look at the reasons why, as well as the typical dental checkup procedure and the benefits of regular dental visits.

An Overview of the Dental Checkup Procedure

Dental checkups are a necessary procedure to help strengthen your teeth, ensure healthy gums, and improve your overall oral health. Your dental checkup consists of two parts — dental examination and cleaning, or prophylaxis. Typically, the exam is completed by your dentist, while a hygienist does the cleaning. 

The process for dental examination includes:  

  1. X-ray: Your dentist will take an X-ray of your teeth to detect decay before it is visible. 
  2. Removal of bacteria: The next step includes a check and removal of plaque on your teeth, which is a clear and sticky layer of bacteria. Dentists will also eliminate tartar that can’t be removed by brushing or flossing. 
  3. Measuring gums: A special dental tool will measure the depth between your teeth and gums to check for any diseased areas.
  4. Visual face and head inspection: Your dentist will check your mouth, as well as yourhead, neck, and face, for possible signs of early-stage oral cancer. 

Next, your hygienist will clean your teeth to remove tartar and polish your teeth in a process that you’re unable to do at home, which includes:

  1. Scaling: Special tools will eliminate tartar and plaque buildup on your teeth.  
  2. Polishing: To polish your teeth, the hygienist will use a gritty paste to remove surface stains. 
  3. Flossing: The last step involves flossing and cleaning between your teeth for stronger gums and teeth.

Take Care of Your Teeth Between Dental Visits

It’s normal for plaque to show up on your teeth, but you can take care of it between dentist visits to avoid build-up and health issues typically discovered in an exam. Practice proper dental hygiene at home by: 

  1. Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to protect your enamel and help to remove plaque and tarter buildup.
  2. Flossing daily to clean the areas between your teeth.
  3. Using mouthwash to freshen your breath and kill the harmful bacteria that can reside on your teeth.

What the Dentist Is Looking for During a Checkup 

Your dentist looks for specific oral health issues at your checkup to care for and provide preventive measures for your overall health and wellness. 

Your dental examination includes a check for: 

  1. Bad breath: Halitosis, or bad breath, can be an indication of other oral health issues.
  2. Cavities: Cavities are holes or enamel erosion from tooth decay. Dentists can detect cavities through X-rays and instruments to find soft spots on your teeth. 
  3. Plaque and tartar: Your dentist will check for plaque buildup that can result in tartar, which is impossible to remove on your own and can lead to dental problems.
  4. Gum disease: By measuring the depth between your teeth and gums, your dentist will look for deeper spaces that indicate gum disease. 
  5. Fillings: Your dentist will ensure your fillings are secure, so they’re strong and effective against tooth decay. If your filling is missing, your dentist can replace it, though it may need to be at a different appointment. 
  6. Possible signs of cancer: Your dentist will check for possible symptoms of oral cancer, such as swelling or redness in your tongue, throat, face, neck, and head.

The Benefits of Dental Visits 

Aside from brushing and flossing your teeth, regular dental visits provide the benefits of oral hygiene that you won’t always be able to control at home. 

Some of the benefits of routine dental checkups include:

1. Prevent Future Health Issues: 

Schedule regular dental visits to prevent oral diseases like gingivitis, gum infection, tooth loss, decay, and infection. When you forget to brush or floss or need extra attention to remove plaque and tartar, routine dental checkups will remove these problem areas and mitigate future issues. 

Suppose your dentist detects signs of oral diseases. In that case, they might recommend dental sealants to prevent plaque from forming on chewing surfaces of your teeth or fluoride treatments and prescription toothpaste. 

It’s essential to attend regular dental visits to take care of your teeth and ensure a healthier and whiter smile for the future.

2. Save Your Teeth

Seeing a dentist helps to prevent issues that could end up being irreversible if not treated. Examples include decayed or rotten teeth that need removed or even unexpected shifting teeth. 

Your dentist can catch cavities and decay early with X-rays. Scheduling a regular dental appointment can save your teeth through proper treatment to avoid tooth removal. 

3. Learn Proper At-Home Preventive Care

The dentist’s office is a fantastic place to learn about dental health. For instance, your dentist can educate you about proper hygiene like brushing and flossing. 

Dentists can also recommend a personalized dental routine to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy and strong when you have a specific issue. 

It’s essential to attend regular dental checkups to ensure you’re on the right track to building and maintaining healthy oral hygiene habits. 

4. Have Peace of Mind 

When you suspect you may have a problem like a decaying tooth or a condition such as temporomandibular disorder (TMD), regular dental checkups provide a safe place to ask questions and diagnose issues.

If you have a medical history of specific illnesses or you’re taking medicines that might affect your oral health, you can also discuss these with a dentist at your exam. For example, certain medications cause dry mouth, increasing your risk for oral infections.

Dentists can also schedule additional appointments or procedures to take care of specific problems that you’d like to address. 

You’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your health is in check while building positive self-esteem with a whiter smile.

Schedule Regular Dental Examinations at AZ Family Dental

Regular dental checkups benefit your overall health through examination, diagnosis, treatment, and preventive measures. AZ Family Dental is an established practice with over 40 years of experience. We pride ourselves on providing excellent dental care while treating you like family. Our staff looks forward to helping you achieve a beautiful and healthy smile through essential dental checkups. 

To schedule your appointment, contact us today! 

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