With the exception of an annual physical, most people only visit their doctor’s office when they are not feeling well. For this reason, it may come as a surprise that the American Dental Association recommends seeing your dentist twice a year for dental checkups and cleanings. While this may seem a bit excessive at first, there are several reasons why you should have regular dental checkups. Here are five of the biggest reasons:
Decrease the Risk of Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Tooth decay and gum disease are the two most common dental issues that can wreak havoc on your oral health. As such, one reason why dental checkups are so important is because they allow your dentist to decrease your risk of developing these problems. During every dental checkup, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums for any signs that these problems are developing. Additionally, your dentist will have their hygienist perform a professional teeth cleaning in order to remove excess plaque and tartar. Doing so reduces the likelihood of developing tooth decay or gum disease.
Educates You About Oral Hygiene
Another reason why you need regular dental checkups is because they allow your dentist to monitor your oral hygiene routine. While brushing and flossing sound straightforward, there are actually some common mistakes that you may be making with your technique. These mistakes can have various effects on your oral health and can reduce the efficiency of your oral hygiene routine. During your dental checkup, your dentist may notice these effects and they can help you to improve your daily dental hygiene techniques.
Screens for Oral Cancer
You also need a dental checkup because your dentist screens for oral cancer during each dental appointment. Oral cancer can affect the lips, tongue, gums, inner cheeks, hard and soft palates, or pharynx. Since oral cancer rates are on the rise, dentists are implementing a basic screening process as part of their dental exams. Although you may not even notice, your dentist is examining your soft tissues for any changes in color or texture that could be indicative of oral cancer. In the case that they find something suspicious, they may recommend talking to your primary care provider for further evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.
Some people don’t think they need to visit their dentist unless they have a problem. However, it is important to visit your dentist regularly even when you don’t have immediate dental problems so that you can prevent problems from happening. As mentioned above, your dentist uses dental checkups as a way of carefully monitoring your oral health for potential problems. When detected early, certain problems may be able to be reversed without treatment. Others may still require treatment, however it will be less extensive treatment. An example of this would be treating demineralization to prevent a cavity or treating a small cavity with a dental filling instead of needing to have a root canal.
Saves You Money
Everyone likes saving money, therefore this is another reason why you need dental checkups. Since dental checkups help to prevent dental issues and treat other issues in the early stages, this helps to prevent the need for costly and invasive dental procedures. When you consider the example above, paying for a dental filling is cheaper than paying for the cost of a root canal and dental crown. Paying for dental checkups are also cheaper, although many dental insurance companies may even cover the cost of semiannual dental exams.