Many people put off going to the dentist until they are in pain, either from a tooth abscess, cavity, or cracked tooth. Others make an appointment for teeth whitening before their wedding or another special occasion. However, it is important that you see your dentist regularly, for cleanings and checkups. For most patients, this means scheduling an appointment every six months or twice a year. Here are some reasons why you’ll want to avoid skipping your dental appointments and see your dentist regularly.
Keep Your Teeth Healthy
Going to the dentist is among one of the best ways to keep your teeth healthy. Having regular cleanings removes difficult to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. For many dental patients, this can be enough when combined with good oral hygiene to keep cavities away. Your dentist may offer fluoride treatments to help protect your teeth, which has become more important since people drink more bottled water and less fluoridated tap water.
Proactively Address Minor Problems
As you go to the dentist twice a year, your dentist may spot an early cavity and recommend that you have it filled. If you go less frequently to the dentist, a cavity might not be caught until extensive damage has been caused. It might require a root canal instead of a minor filling to correct.
This is notable for a few reasons. First, minor procedures are less expensive and invasive when compared to more serious procedures, like root canals and dental implants. Often, fillings can be completed faster and in a single visit, with minimal pain relief required. Second, the better condition you keep your mouth in, the better your overall health. Gum disease and tooth decay have been linked to heart disease. By preventing these more serious conditions, you have a better chance of protecting your overall health.
Track Changes in Oral Health
By seeing the same dentist twice a year, he or she will become familiar with your mouth and will be able to notice any changes in your oral health over time. Your dentist will document these changes in your file and can use it to make the appropriate recommendations to you. For instance, if your dentist sees teeth shifting or an increase in tartar buildup, your dentist will be able to make more informed decisions for your care.
Sometimes being able to see the big picture of a patient’s overall health could change how providers address patients. A poor checkup during the first visit might mean that you don’t know how to floss properly or brush your teeth effectively to remove all signs of biofilm. However, noticing buildup despite patient education efforts would be addressed differently.