Preventive Care and Cleanings
ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"---never has that
statement been more true than in dentistry. Your teeth were designed
to last you a lifetime. Regular visits to the dentist along with
routine follow-up care at home can ensure that you will be smiling
and eating with comfort and good health into and through your golden
Regular Check-ups and Continuing Care
Regular check-ups are important. At regular check-ups dentists check
the state of your complete oral health. They look for tooth decay,
tooth wear, gum disease, tumors, abscesses on the root tips of teeth
which can only be seen by X rays, conduct a oral cancer screening
and assess the general health of your mouth.
Regular check-ups allow any small problems or conditions to be
corrected before they become serious. Poor dental health can affect
how you look and feel and it can sometimes lead to very serious
complications such as infections and even oral cancer. Your dentist
will use his or her professional experience and diagnostic aids such
as X rays to determine the state of your oral health in order to
make recommendations or a treatment plan to fix the problem areas.
In office dental cleanings (or prophylaxis) helps you to care for
your teeth and gums and is a front line defense against gum disease.
When a dental hygienist or dentist cleans your teeth they use
cleaning tools or instruments that are small enough to reach the
areas that your toothbrush misses. They remove any buildup of plaque
and hardened plaque called tartar that is irritating to your gum
tissue (or gingiva.) If this tartar is not removed, it will irritate
the gums so much that you can develop gum disease (periodontal
disease) that causes bad breath, irritated, sore and bleeding gums,
receding gums and in the chronic later stages, bone loss and loose
Your dentist will recommend a routine cleaning schedule for you
based upon the state of your oral health. Usually, most patients
with good oral health have their cleanings every six months.
However, if problems exist, you may need to be seen more than twice
a year. Whatever you frequency of visits, dentists and hygienists
agree that preventive trips can be the most important time spent to
support your oral health.