Many people visit the dentist routinely and do so every year. It’s certainly a good habit, but why do dentists recommend cleanings and what is it they do? The simplest and most obvious answer is that it’s a preventive treatment meant to keep you healthy. It is relatively easy to maintain a healthy mouth if you have good habits.
Many of us, however, have our weaknesses, including high sugar diets and poor oral hygiene. What we can do as dental professionals at a single visit is not enough by itself to keep a mouth healthy. An important part of routine check-ups are the at-home oral hygiene instructions. The dental professionals at Afdent are here to guide you in the best ways to care for your teeth at home, but it’s what you do every day with your brushing and eating routines that are so critical.
A primary purpose of cleanings is to diagnose and treat gum disease. This progressive issue, known as gingivitis, will inflame and break down the gum tissue surrounding teeth. If unchecked this can further develop into periodontal disease, which is a more aggressive form of gum disease that erodes the bone holding your teeth in place.
Once you develop this form of the disease you will always be more susceptible to further breakdown. Bone loss from periodontal disease does not regenerate and these patients need more frequent maintenance visits. But this disease is preventable with routine care and that is why cleanings are so critical.
X-rays taken at the time of the cleanings help show us what is happening under the gums. Cavities will appear on x-rays and can sometimes be detected even before they need a filling. X-rays will also show developing wisdom teeth, tumors, cysts, bone loss from periodontal disease, and other conditions that are otherwise impossible to see.
X-rays are critical tools for assessing your periodontal health, showing specific defects, and helping make the cleanings more effective. They also aid hygienists in detecting the precise location of calcified tartar, which is extremely difficult to get rid of without professional help.
Even for the individual who has great oral hygiene and always has a good report, it’s important to still have these check-ups. Despite our best efforts some things are still out of our control. For example, teeth wear down and can crack or break from years of stress. A cracked tooth can often be detected at a routine cleaning and fixed before the tooth completely breaks. This proactive treatment could save you a lot of time and money.
Many systemic diseases can also be detected early by identifying specific oral signs and symptoms. Your Afdent dentist is not only treating the teeth and gums, a part of your periodic check-up is to assess all oral tissues for cancer and other pathologies. We also check the neck, jaw, lymph nodes, and TMJ’s (jaw joints) for abnormalities. We work closely with medical doctors to treat people and their whole body health, not just what you see in the mouth.
Being proactive with check-ups is like changing the oil in your car. It’s a basic maintenance that is vital to keeping a healthy mouth and body for years to come. Preventive cleanings are less expensive than fillings later and a great way to prevent other problems that can lie undetected for years.
When was the last time you had a thorough dental check-up? Maybe it’s time to call Afdent to schedule an appointment.