Why Do Regular Dental Visits Matter?
With the coronavirus pandemic, for the first time in modern history, dentists were required to close for routine and preventive care for their patients. In Texas, this lasted for a period of about six weeks. For those of our patients who were scheduled for their dental evaluation and professional teeth cleaning during this time, this was a major frustration. For those who typically only see the dentist when a problem arises, this was no big deal.
If you find yourself wondering why this was a big deal to so many, you need to know why regular, consistent dental visits matter! During your regularly scheduled “check-up” appointments, we typically perform two all-important tasks: full mouth dental evaluations and professional teeth cleanings.
Consistent Dental Evaluations
This is the part that most patients think of as the “check-up”. Dr. Chowning performs an exam known as a periodic oral evaluation. About once a year, this evaluation will also include a small series of close-up dental x-rays. There are several reasons that these consistent dental evaluations are necessary for great oral health.
One important generalization to understand is that all dental problems are progressive in nature. They typically start small and get worse over time without intervention. (An exception to this would be a large trauma to the face or mouth.)
During your periodic oral evaluation, Dr. Chowning is looking for any signs of dental disease, including gum disease, cavities, and cracked teeth. When we catch problems in their early stages, the treatment is less expensive and less extensive. We want to provide you with the most conservative treatment possible. That is only possible when we treat dental problems in an early stage.
We don’t have to wait for problems to start! There are risk factors in each category of dentistry that are detectable by your dentist. When we see the presence of certain risk factors, we can make preventive recommendations to actually prevent the problem from happening. With a thorough evaluation and risk assessment, Dr. Chowning is able to tell you which problems you might experience. For example, not everyone get cavities in their teeth. Someone can have an extremely low risk for cavities with a very high risk for gum disease. This is where a customized treatment plan matters. We do not recommend the same preventive measures to every patient. We customize our recommendations based on your unique risk factors.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is rising in prevalence, and the Oral Cancer Foundation recommends that every adult receive a thorough oral cancer screening with a dental professional. Again, early detection is key to successful, conservative treatment. Oral cancer, when undetected, does kill people.
Patients who detect oral cancer as early as possible have the highest long-term survival rate.
Consistent Professional Teeth Cleanings
Professional teeth cleanings are necessary to remove all bacterial buildup from the teeth and gums. Bacteria builds up on the teeth in the form of soft plaque and hard tartar (also called calculus). We can remove plaque ourselves with great brushing and flossing techniques. We cannot, however, remove hard tartar buildup. This requires the intervention of a professional.
The reason we must remove this buildup on a consistent basis is that these bacteria are the cause of both cavities and gum disease. You cannot prevent these problems without including consistent professional teeth cleanings. Each time you have your teeth professionally cleaned, you get a “clean slate”. This clean slate allows the gums to heal from any gum disease. It also gives you a new opportunity to begin keeping the teeth as clean as possible with great oral hygiene techniques!
It is important to understand that plaque builds up every single day. It contains bacteria, food debris and exfoliated tissue cells from inside the mouth. We can never just sit back and ignore dental plaque. It will always collect on the teeth. When we do not remove soft dental plaque, it begins to harden into tartar or calculus, which we cannot remove. No matter how wonderful your oral hygiene routine is, no one cleans his teeth perfectly. Everyone needs the help of a dental hygienist to remove tartar buildup from hard-to-reach spots in the mouth.
More Questions about the Importance of Regular Dental Visits?
Call 940-382-1750 to schedule your dental visit with Dr. Chowning today. We are thrilled to help all of our patients achieve the healthiest mouth possible.
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