Add a Dental Check-Up to Your New Year’s Resolutions
It’s already February, and you have probably already listed your New Year’s resolutions to eat better, work harder and exercise more regularly. Looking at it again, however, have you added a necessary, yet much underappreciated, dental check-up to your list?
Although there aren’t many people who relish the idea of going to the dentist, regular six-monthly dental check-ups will cause you far less pain in the long-term. Neglecting your dental hygiene could result in easily avoidable dental decay, cavities and gum disease. A dental check-up also looks out for any ominous signs of the big-C, cancer, that may have appeared and where early detection is potentially life-saving.
But why are regular check-ups preferable to waiting to book an appointment with the dentist when you feel something is wrong with your teeth? As with anything that concerns your physical health, it is better to proactively prevent something going wrong by catching it early than waiting for the problems actually to arise.
Dentists can do that if they see you regularly enough. The check-up comprises two parts: checking for cavities and gum disease and then cleaning away any build-up of plaque or tartar that may have occurred since your last visit to the dentist.
A check-up identifies problems before they manifest
Firstly, the dentist will check for plaque and tartar. Plaque is a transparent sticky layer of bacteria that builds up and can quickly harden to become tartar. You can’t remove tartar by brushing and flossing, and so if you do have it and don’t visit the dentist, it will remain a problem and ultimately cause gum disease.
Dentists will also check for tooth decay and cavities. They will take X-rays if they think there may be a problem that isn’t immediately visible. The dentist takes the X-rays while you lie in the dental chair, so it is convenient and quick to identify where there are problems.
Other potential issues the dentist will pick up in a regular check-up are any signs of loose teeth, whether your bite is functional and whether there are any damaged fillings.
The dentist will then move on to checking the health of your gums. During the assessment, he will measure the space between your teeth and gums. A shallow space is indicative of healthy gums; a deeper one of gum disease. Then the dental practitioner will check your tongue, throat, face, head and neck for any signs of swelling, redness or white patches, which would be evident if there are more significant health risks. It is rare for them to find something, but it is essential to know if the dentist does pick up anything of concern.
Dental cleaning tackles tartar and superficial stains
Finally, the dentist will clean your teeth. It is not possible to remove tartar by brushing your teeth or flossing at home. The dentist needs to remove it with specialist tools through a procedure called scaling. Once that’s done, your teeth will be polished, a process that also removes any superficial stains from tobacco, food or soft drinks.
Once you have checked your visit to the dentist off your list of New Year’s resolutions, you shouldn’t rest easy. It’s just as essential to continue maintaining good dental hygiene habits if you want your next check-up to be an uneventful one.