The Importance of Dental Checkups - A Guide for Patients

A routine dental checkup is an excellent opportunity for your dentist to spot early signs of gum disease and tooth decay.

During your visit, your dentist will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and check for other oral health issues. This helps prevent future problems.

Prevents Gum Disease

Regular dental checkups in the dental office help to prevent gum disease by removing plaque and tartar from teeth. These cleanings also allow dentists to detect early signs of tooth decay and gum disease, allowing patients to take action before these problems worsen.

Gum disease is a serious oral health concern that can cause red, swollen, bleeding gums, bad breath, and even tooth loss if left untreated. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, and a dentist can spot this during a checkup.

General dentists can perform several different treatments to prevent gum disease from developing, including deep dental cleaning or scaling and root planing. These procedures can remove plaque and tartar that have collected beneath the gums, eventually leading to periodontitis.

Prevents Bad Breath

Regular dental checkups can help to prevent bad breath (halitosis) by allowing your dentist to detect any underlying oral health conditions. This can include gum disease and dry mouth.

During your visit, your family dentist will also perform professional teeth cleaning to remove any plaque and tartar buildup that can contribute to bad breath.

You can prevent bad breath by establishing good oral hygiene and maintaining a healthy diet. Brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly is essential for keeping your mouth clean.

Prevents Tooth Decay

When we eat sugary or starchy food and drinks, bacteria in our mouth break them down into acids that dissolve the outer surface of teeth (enamel).

Regular dental checkups allow us to detect tooth decay before it develops. This will help to prevent more serious oral health problems that could lead to pain, gum disease, and tooth loss.

A routine dental exam will include thoroughly inspecting the entire mouth and using X-rays and instruments to look for soft spots on your teeth. Dentists will also look for plaque and tartar that cannot be removed by brushing and flossing.

Prevents Tooth Loss

Dental checkups allow your dentist to detect problems early before they become serious. This helps you to save teeth and prevent expensive treatments later on.

Moreover, regular checkups advise you about your oral health habits and how to improve them. This can help you avoid aggravating problems such as bruxism (tooth grinding), clenching, biting your nails, and chewing on ice.

The American Dental Association recommends that people receive dental cleanings and checkups twice a year. However, the frequency of visits depends on your oral health status and medical history.

Prevents Bad Taste

If you regularly experience a bad taste in your mouth, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. They can identify the cause and help treat it before it worsens or becomes more expensive.

Infections to the gums or teeth (gum disease) can lead to a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth, as they cause swelling and reduce the blood flow to your taste bud.

Certain medications may also elicit a sour or metallic taste in your mouth, including vitamin supplements and cancer treatments like chemotherapy. Consult your doctor to determine the reason and see if you can switch to a different medication or get off the one you’re on.

Prevents Tooth Pain

Getting regular checkups is the best way to prevent tooth pain. This is because it can be caused by dental issues such as cavities that develop over time.

Dentists can detect and treat these early signs of decay before they become problematic.

A checkup also includes X-rays that can help dentists see the inside of your mouth and detect issues such as cavities between teeth, jaw injury, bone decay, or other problems that are not visible to the naked eye.

Prevents Tooth Wear

A dental checkup is ideal for catching any problems in their earliest stages. This helps to prevent issues from worsening, which could require invasive treatments.

A dentist will perform a thorough exam, using a probe to inspect the teeth and gums. They will also look for signs of tooth or gum disease, such as redness, swelling, and mouth sores.

In addition to catching dental issues, regular dental checkups can help to prevent tooth wear. This is caused by acid from foods and drinks eroding the tooth enamel’s hard surface.