The American Dental Association, which your personal dentist is most likely affiliated with, recommends that you visit the dentist at least every six months. But do you know why this is? Believe it or not, it’s mostly for your own personal benefit! Visiting the dentist regularly is essential in keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Of course, it is important to work to keep your mouth healthy through basic oral hygiene. But visiting the dentist is important to catch anything you may have missed—and to catch dental issues before they become serious problems. If you need more help, for whatever reason, your dentist might ask you to visit more frequently.
What Does an Appointment Entail?
Dental examinations are more or less very routine. This means that the dentist and hygienist will perform the same thing each time. You don’t have anything to be worried about; they won’t change things up any time soon.
One of the most important parts of the thorough exam involves checking your teeth for any decay. After a hygienist cleans your teeth, the dentist will take a small prod and poke around your teeth looking for cavities. Hopefully you don’t need a filling, but it is important to catch it now before it turns into greater decay and a possible infection! Your dentist will also evaluate your gum health and perhaps even look for any signs of diabetes, oral cancer or vitamin deficiencies. You shouldn’t be surprised if they also check out your bite, face, saliva and the movement of your lower jaw joints.
A lot of dentists will pay close attention to tartar and plaque, as quick build-up of these disgusting sediments is an indicator of bad oral hygiene or more serious problems. Beverages, food and tobacco can stain your teeth, too. Eventually, soft plaque can solidify on your teeth and irritate your gum tissue if it is not removed. Plaque can lead to gum disease if not treated.
After the dentist has finished his or her examination, the hygienist will finishing cleaning and polishing your teeth and talk to you about the importance of good oral hygiene in between visits. You will often be given a free toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. Sometimes dentists will have a basket full of small toys for children to choose from as an incentive for coming to the dentist and sitting still.
It is important to remember that by seeing your dentist regularly and keeping up daily good hygiene at home, you are a lot more likely to keep your gums and teeth healthy.