As we get older we all experience the same routines of regular health check-ups to ensure our risks for cancer, cholesterol, high-blood pressure and other such conditions are kept in check. Most of these conditions don’t present a risk till later in life and until then it’s unlikely you go for regular health screenings. Oral health is different. The issues that develop with your teeth and gums can affect people of all ages, and in some cases are more likely to affect you the younger you are due to lifestyle and brushing habits. That’s why it’s important to visit your dentist regularly to monitor your oral health, but the question is how regular is regular?
Why it is important to see your dentist
Oral health is important to your all round wellbeing. A good oral hygiene routine will have lifelong benefits; however the work you do at home is only half the battle. Regular teething cleaning and gum care are the best preventative measures you can take to keep your teeth healthy, but they won’t help you to address issues that you can’t see. Many of the most common dental conditions that have long-term ramifications start without any easily noticeable indicators. When caught early, though, these conditions can generally be treated, preventing them from developing into a bigger issue.
Regular twice-yearly checkups from your dentists allows them to monitor your oral health and provide early and preventative treatment to issues that may be developing. The right dental hygiene routine will be personalised to you (type of brush, toothpaste, cleaning intervals, floss etc) and regular visits will also give your dentist a chance to check how your overall home cleaning routine is working and provide advice on how best to take your teeth and gums.
How Often Should You See Your Dentist
The common advice many of us know is that you should visit the dentist every six months for a regular check-up. Biannual dentist visits are a good starting point, but the true answer to the question of how often you should visit the dentist will be a personal one. Through a variety of factors from lifestyle to genetics, some people will require more assistance in keeping their teeth and gums healthy than others and will therefore require more regular dentist visits. The amount you need to visit your dentist will also vary with age, with younger children and teenagers likely needing more regular and careful monitoring to ensure healthy teeth development.
If you are at a greater risk of oral health conditions then you may need to visit the dentist more regularly. Suffers of gum disease, diabetics, pregnant women, smokers, and those who are immunocompromised may all need to visit the dentist more often than the standard biannual check-up schedule. Your dentist will be able to advise you on the best appointment schedule for you, just remember that if any issues arise don’t be tempted to wait until your next appointment—most dental conditions have a much better prognosis when treated early.
What Does a Dental Check Up Consist Of
The primary purpose of a dental check up is to examine your teeth and gums for cavities and gum disease. Depending on the regularity of your appointments, the dentist may also take dental x-rays to look for any hidden issues below the gum line or inside your teeth. In addition to checking for cavities, the dentist will pay particular attention to different things depending on the age of the patient.
In young children and babies the dentist will pay close attention to early risk indicators for decay, orthodontic problems, and issues caused by things such as dummy or thumb sucking. Appointments with babies and children will usually have the least amount of work involved, but will focus heavily on early identification, prevention, and teaching.
Teenage dental appointments will generally be focused on emphasising the dangers of bad habits such as smoking, soft drinks, and tea/coffee to oral health, and the benefits of a good oral routine. This is also when further orthodontic work may be carried out as the adult teeth begin to replace the teeth from childhood.
Adult check-ups will mostly be focussed on monitoring, with the dentists checking for new developments and the condition of pre-existing repair and preventative work. Depending on risk factors, regular oral cancer screenings may be carried out as well.
Unlike many other health conditions, it’s very difficult to correct dental problems once they have reached the point of requiring intervention. We only have one set of teeth and those teeth don’t have the ability to regrow or heal themselves. Identifying issues early and addressing them with preventative treatment is key to good long-term oral health.
Contact the friendly team at Aesthetic Dental and Denture Clinic today to book your next dental check up or to discuss any concerns you may have with your teeth.