In dentistry, preventative dental care is of paramount importance. We always place a strong emphasis on preventative care because it’s usually easier and less expensive for patients to prevent oral health issues rather than treating them after they’ve already arisen. In addition to taking care of your teeth at home, you can prevent oral health problems and enjoy a variety of other benefits by scheduling regular dental checkups.
8 Benefits of Regular Dental Exams
1. Tooth Decay and Cavity Prevention
One of the primary benefits of visiting the dentist regularly is to enhance your tooth decay and cavity prevention routine with professional dental cleanings (called prophylaxis cleaning). While it is important to brush and floss your teeth every day, brushing and flossing can only do so much. Unfortunately, brushing and flossing are not very effective ways to remove the plaque that hardens into tartar (also called calculus) from the surfaces of your teeth.
During a professional cleaning, a dental hygienist uses special tools to scale and polish your teeth. These treatments remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth and can even extend slightly below the gum line to remove buildup in those hard-to-reach areas as well. Keeping the surfaces of your teeth clean and smooth helps to prevent bacteria from accumulating on the tooth enamel and wearing it down.
2. Fluoride Treatments and Dental Sealants
At routine dental examinations, you can also receive additional preventative treatments such as fluoride and dental sealants. Tooth enamel can become weakened and soft, leading to cavities as a result of exposure to bacteria and acidic foods and drinks. Professional, topical fluoride treatments help to fortify and strengthen the tooth enamel, reversing and preventing decay.
Additionally, dental sealants can be applied and routinely maintained during your routine dental exams. Dental sealants consist of a thin layer of composite resin that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars. Sealants help protect these surfaces from decay while also making them smoother and easier to keep clean.
3. Periodontal Disease Prevention or Management
In addition to the prevention of tooth decay and cavities, routine dental cleanings also help to prevent the development of gingivitis and periodontal disease (gum disease). Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums that can occur as a result of tartar building up along the gum line and creating pockets between the teeth and gums where bacteria thrive.
By having this tartar buildup regularly removed and the cleanliness of your tooth enamel maintained at your dental appointments, you can prevent the development of periodontal disease.
4. Better General Wellness
Periodontal disease creates several symptoms and problems inside the mouth, but it can also have a detrimental effect on your overall health and wellness. In fact, it’s associated with a variety of serious systemic health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, and reproductive health problems.
By visiting the dentist regularly to maintain your oral health, you’re protecting your general wellness in addition to the health of your teeth and gums.
5. Clean-Looking and Feeling Teeth
Your smile can have a big impact on the first impressions you make as well as your own confidence level. By maintaining your oral health and keeping your smile clean, healthy, and polished, you’ll not only feel better but you’ll feel better about yourself.
6. Early Detection of Oral Health Problems
As with most health concerns, early detection is often key to effective treatment. When oral health problems are ignored, undetected, and allowed to progress, they become increasingly difficult to treat. For example, gingivitis can be reversed, but once it has progressed to periodontal disease, it can only be managed.
By visiting the dentist regularly, you’ll increase the chances that any oral health changes are detected, diagnosed, and addressed right away. As a result, you’ll enjoy more successful treatment outcomes and less invasive treatment options.
7. Routine Oral Cancer Screening
There is no prescribed schedule for oral cancer screening, but dentists screen their patients for signs of oral cancer during every examination. However, early detection is essential to successful treatment. If you use alcohol or tobacco, have had a previous oral cancer diagnosis, or have experienced significant sun exposure, then these routine screenings are even more important for your health and safety.
8. Preventative Dentistry Saves Money
Choosing to visit the dentist routinely for preventative care and routine examinations is a smart investment in your health and your medical finances because the cost of preventative care is almost always less expensive than the cost of treating oral health problems. Even if you’re diagnosed with a cavity or another oral health concern during your routine appointment, the odds are that it will not have had the time to progress into a more serious health concern. As a result, treatment costs are likely to be much less than the cost of a more extensive treatment plan designed to address a significantly progressed issue.
How Often Should You Visit the Dentist?
Typically, we recommend that most healthy patients visit our office for routine dental examinations and cleanings at least twice a year (every six months). Younger patients, patients undergoing orthodontic treatment, patients who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, or patients with other oral health concerns might need to visit more frequently.
Dental Exams, Cleanings, and Preventative Dental Care in West Bend, Wisconsin
To learn more about the benefits of scheduling regular dental checkups or to schedule your next routine dental examination and cleaning, with Dr. Jared Harding, we welcome you to contact Dentistry of West Bend today.