Whether it is from snacking on popcorn and getting a kernel stuck between your teeth or sipping on ice water and feeling a sharp pain shoot through a tooth, at some point in time many of us suddenly think: “I should really make a trip to the dentist soon”. If you have not been to the dentist in a while, you are not alone: more than 100 million Americans skipped a routine dental visit in 2016, according to the Commonwealth Fund. If you are feeling anxious and unprepared about your first trip back to the dentist after some time away, you can relax. Here is what to expect during a routine visit to a dentist in 77098.
Breaking Down a Routine Dental Checkup
A routine dental checkup can be broken down into three main parts:
- Professional teeth cleaning – Even if you brush twice a day, plaque and tartar can still accumulate in those hard-to-reach places between teeth. During a regular dental checkup, a dental professional will expertly clean your teeth using special tools.
- Dental X-rays – It may not be obvious, but the mouth can actually change a lot in just a few short years. If you have not been to the dentist in a while, he or she will likely take new X-rays of your teeth so they can identify and diagnose any problems not visible to the naked eye.
- Dental exam – Finally, your dentist will carefully examine your mouth and look for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, early indicators of oral cancer and other serious oral health issues.
How Often Should I See a Dentist?
Between working long hours, running errands, and shuttling the kids between school and extracurriculars, finding time to schedule a routine dental checkup for yourself and the family can seem like an impossible task. However, regularly seeing a dentist is critical to maintaining good oral health. In addition to brushing and flossing daily, the American Dental Association recommends seeing a dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and exam.
3 Health Risks of Missing Dental Checkups
If you diligently brush your teeth every day, you may feel tempted to skip regular trips to the dentist. However, skipping a routine dental exam can negatively impact your health. Here are 3 ways how:
- Increased Risk of Tooth Decay – Without regular professional cleanings, plaque and tartar can accumulate in your mouth, increasing the risk of tooth decay.
- Increased Risk of Gum Disease – The warning signs of gum disease can be very subtle and difficult to spot at home in the mirror. Early detection by a dental professional can help prevent gum disease from progressing.
- Oral Cancer Progression – A dentist will inspect your mouth for signs of oral trouble – including early signs of oral cancer – during every routine visit. Catching oral cancer early on – when it is easiest to remove – is key to overcoming the potentially fatal disease.
Clearly, the risks of skipping biannual dental checkups are just too high! Now that you know what to expect during your next routine dental exam, it is time to grab the calendar and plan your visit.
About the Author
Dr. Donald F. Tamborello has over 30 years of experience delivering high-quality dental care to patients in the Houston area. His dedication to helping patients achieve and maintain healthy smiles is reflected in the fact that he has earned the distinction of Master of the Academy of General Dentistry, the highest honor available. Patients old and new are welcome to visit the Tamborello Dental Associates website or call Dr. Tamborello at 713-522-7540.