The importance of regular dental visits for patients in the Sterling Heights area
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why do I have to keep seeing the dentist every six months?” You aren’t alone. Many individuals wonder why it’s so important to keep coming back to the dentist so frequently. The answer is because regular dental visits are vital to your oral health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 64% of adults between the ages of 18 and 64 had a dental visit in the last year. That means that many adults are putting their health at risk. At Laser Dental Associates in Sterling Heights, MI, we want all our patients to enjoy healthy smiles. Below, we’ll explain the importance or regular dental visits.
What happens during a regular dental visit?
In a routine dental visit, patients will undergo a comprehensive examination and dental cleaning. The benefits of these two components are:
- Prevention of tooth decay
- Protection against gum disease
- Improving the appearance of the smile
- Strengthening the teeth
- Preventing chronic bad breath
During your visit you will likely meet with both a dental hygienist and a dentist.
So, what exactly are they doing during this examination? They are looking for several things. Of course, they are looking for signs of tooth decay, but they are also looking at the other things such as:
- The health of your gums, tongue, and throat
- A head and neck examination
- The face and bite
- An oral cancer screening
- A TMJ evaluation
Next up is the cleaning. During a professional cleaning, special attention is given to plaque and tartar. Plaque is a colorless, sticky film that forms on the teeth. The bacteria in plaque feed on sugars in your food, producing an acid that eats away at the enamel and eventually leads to decay. Tartar is the mineralized or hardened form of plaque that has not been removed from teeth. With good oral hygiene, most plaque is eliminated. However, without regular brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can build up quickly and cause cavities or gum disease. In addition to causing cavities or gum disease, food and beverage particles can become trapped underneath the plaque and stain the teeth.
During a professional dental cleaning, the hygienist will use special dental tools to remove plaque and tartar on the teeth. He or she will then polish the teeth, floss them, and review recommendations for improving oral hygiene between visits.
What happens without regular dental visits?
In the absence of regular dental visits and good oral care, several things can occur:
Yes, it’s true that regular brushing and flossing can remove most plaque buildup and keep cavities from forming. Still, it is likely that some plaque remains. If this plaque is not effectively removed, it will eventually lead to tooth decay. Decay that goes untreated for long periods of time will continue to deteriorate the tooth and can create the need for treatments such as root canals. The professional cleaning provided during a routine dental exam is much more effective at removing plaque buildup than brushing alone.
Even beyond root canals, untreated tooth decay can lead to gum disease. As the plaque attacks the teeth, it can also begin to attack the gums, causing bleeding, inflammation, and periodontal pockets. Gum disease is a serious condition that can eventually lead to tooth loss and an increased risk of other medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
When it comes to oral cancer, early diagnosis is vital. During routine check-ups, your dental team will check for early signs of oral cancer before the disease progresses to a more advanced stage. Oral cancer can often be treated successfully when it is caught early.
There are many foods, beverages, and lifestyle factors such as smoking that can cause discoloration of the teeth. During professional cleanings, many of these stains can be removed. Your dentist will also be able to recommend cosmetic procedures such as whitening if the stains are deep.
It’s never too late to start going regularly to the dentist’s office. If you are in the Sterling Heights area and would like to schedule an exam and cleaning, please call Laser Dental Associates today at 586-838-2017.
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