It may seem counterintuitive to visit the dentist when your teeth are seemingly healthy, but regular exams are in fact crucial to your ongoing dental health. Without routine check-ups, it can be difficult if not impossible for patients to discern problems developing in their teeth or gums. And when problems are present, they are far easier (and less expensive) to treat when detected early.
At our Knoxville cosmetic dentistry office, we want to help our patients maintain the best dental hygiene possible, to prevent disease and decay from forming in the first place. But the advantages of a routine exam extend beyond hygiene; consider all the ways in which a simple visit to the dentist can help you.
Hygienic care at home is certainly important for reducing plaque and food particles on a daily basis. But not all plaque is necessarily removed by a toothbrush, and can thus harden into tartar. When stray plaque and tartar remain on teeth, it takes a professional hygienic cleaning to fully remove them. Through a standard scaling and polishing procedure, you can be sure that your teeth and gums are as clean as possible, limiting your chances of developing tooth decay or gum disease.
In the event that gum disease has already formed pockets of bacteria near the roots of teeth, a deep cleaning - or scaling and planing procedure - can be used. By removing plaque and tartar from beneath the gum line, disease can be stopped in its tracks. When infection is otherwise allowed to spread to a tooth’s roots, the tooth faces serious risk of widespread decay, resulting in the need for root canal treatment and dental crowns. Prevent the need for additional treatment through periodic cleanings and periodontal treatment, as recommended.
Early Detection of Problems
Regular exams aren’t just about keeping teeth clean, but also detecting any indication of potential problems. The following preventative procedures may therefore be requested or recommended at any routine dental visit:
- X-rays: Occasional X-ray images are integral in the early detection of tooth decay. Cavities are often spotted by a dentist before they show any outward symptoms, allowing relatively easy treatment through dental fillings or similar restorations.
- Periodontal inspection: Healthy gums are just as important as healthy teeth, and unfortunately, gum disease is extraordinarily common among adults in the United States. By examining your gums, a dentist can look for subtle signs of disease such as a receding gum line or inflammation. Preventative treatment can then be recommended before disease progresses into other health complications.
- Bite inspection: The occlusion of teeth, or the pattern of their bite, should be regularly examined by a dentist. Moderate to severe misalignment can lead to hygienic problems and discomfort, not to mention aesthetic issues of one’s smile. For younger patients, it’s also important to track the progress of growing teeth and whether they will grow in properly.
- Cancer screening: Patients who may be at risk for oral cancer, such as tobacco users or those with a genetic predisposition, should periodically undergo cancer screening. The process is simple, painless, and takes a matter of minutes. Fortunately, oral cancer is one of the more treatable cancers, but it should be caught in its earlier stages.
When it comes to discussing at-home dental care, younger patients can certainly benefit. By helping them establish positive brushing, flossing, and dietary habits early on, we are able to help our patients have strong, healthy teeth for years to come. When combined with fluoride treatments and dental sealants available at our office, children can save their teeth from unnecessary cavities down the road.
But children are not the only patients who can benefit from a discussion of personal dental hygiene. Some adult patients may be surprised to learn that they are brushing too hard, or using an inappropriate toothbrush, as evidenced by abrasions on their teeth. Likewise, small chips or enamel erosion may be evidence of teeth grinding at night. A person’s teeth can tell a lot about his or her habits, and we want to help you make the best decisions possible.
Schedule Your Exam Today
Even the healthiest of teeth can benefit from a professional cleaning and exam. To learn more about our various preventative and general dentistry procedures, contact our office. Don’t wait until a problem arises - be proactive and schedule an appointment today!