In order to maintain proper oral hygiene, there are just a few simple things that everyone should do. Naturally, you will want to brush your teeth at least twice a day. And, you will want to floss at least once per day, if not more. The third component is staying up-to-date with routine dental visits. For the majority of patients, we recommend seeing the dentist once every six months.
But you may be wondering, are twice-yearly dental appointments necessary to ensure oral health?
We give you our word: Seeing the dentist every six months really is important, and there are a number of reasons why.
Preventing Bigger Problems
Each routine dental appointment has two basic components. The first step is a cleaning appointment with your dental hygienist, and the second is an evaluation from your dentist.
During your appointment, your dentist will take a careful look not only at your teeth but also at surrounding soft tissues, including your gums and your tongue. Your dentist will also check your bite and the alignment of your jaw.
This in-depth evaluation is important because you may have the early signs of an oral health problem. Not all oral health issues cause pain, at least not initially, so you may not be aware that there is even a problem. By identifying these issues early, your dentist can propose prompt treatment, or even outline simple changes to your oral health routine, that allow you to avoid greater problems or more complicated interventions down the road.
Without regular trips to the dentist, you run the risk of these oral health problems going undetected and untreated until it is too late to take preventative action. And many of the oral health problems we are talking about can become quite serious when not promptly addressed. Oral cancer is just one example.
Removing Tartar and Plaque
Another reason why routine dental visits are so important is that they involve cleanings. Remember that tartar and plaque are constantly accumulating on your teeth and along your gums. Brushing and flossing can minimize this accumulation, but they cannot completely prevent it.
Your dental hygienist can perform a more robust and thorough cleaning, preventing the buildup of tartar and plaque. By keeping tartar and plaque to a minimum, you can usually avoid the need for more aggressive and time-intensive cleanings, such as scaling and planing. You can also prevent the proliferation of tartar and plaque along the gum lines, which, when left untreated, can result in periodontal disease. This disease may cause your gums to recede, a condition your dentist may address with surgery.
What Happens if You Avoid the Dentist?
When you avoid your twice-yearly dental appointments, there are potentially short-term and long-term consequences. In the short term, it simply means that your teeth will not be as clean, as white, and as fresh-looking as they could be. In the long term, it may mean a greater risk for serious oral health problems, ranging from tumors and cysts to gum disease, and the need for more invasive or complicated treatments. Finally, when you avoid the dentist, you do not have the peace of mind that comes from getting a clean bill of oral health.
When was the last time you saw the dentist? If you live in Mesa, AZ and are overdue, we would love to have you in for an appointment. Contact Snow Family Dentistry at your next opportunity.