It doesn’t seem like anyone particularly likes going to see a doctor. Whether it’s for a physical, an eye appointment or even a dermatology appointment, doctor visits are not the highlight of anyone’s day. But it seems that more than any other doctor the dentist is the doctor people avoid the most. A quick Google search will show that there are a lot of websites explaining why people avoid or fear the dentist and just as many that try and help people get over their fears. And while the dentist can bring up feelings of anxiety the benefits and the importance of dental services far outweigh the negatives.
Why Are Dental Services Needed?
Dental exams are an important aspect of your preventive health care. They allow your dentist to prevent and/or detect any possible problem with your teeth and gums early. As with any medical condition early detection is key. Dental exams also give your dentist a chance to talk to you about any tips that they may have when it comes to how you take care of your oral hygiene.
Since a variety of medical conditions and medicines can affect your teeth and gums it is important to have regularly scheduled visits to make sure that you are taking the best care of your teeth and gums. Your teeth must last you a lifetime so it’s important to take the best care of them that you can.
How Often Should Someone Get a Dental Exam?
Everyone’s teeth are different, some people will have major dental work done all throughout their lives and others will live well into their golden years before even getting a cavity. However, no matter which category you fall into regular dental exams are important. Your doctor will be able to help you determine how often you should come in to be checked, but typically dentists suggest every six months, a year at the latest.
It is important to remember that a dental exam is not only for those who still have their natural teeth. Even if you have dentures or some other form of false teeth there are other dental services that are needed to ensure your oral health.
What Should You Expect During a Dental Exam?
A normal dental exam is more than just making sure that your teeth look good. Most exams have a variety of dental services to make sure that you’re smile is healthy and that there are not any problems. When you go into a dental exam you should expect some, if not all, of the below dental services.
- Medical history—Your dentist will probably want a complete medical history. These histories provide important information to your dentist on how your oral health might be or what may be affecting it. Certain medical conditions, medications, and habits can affect both your teeth and gums which is why it is important to be honest and open with your dentist.
- Professional cleaning—Brushing and flossing can only do so much to keep your teeth clean. Having a professional cleaning will remove any plaque, bacteria and tarter that you might be missing when you brush. At this time, depending on your needs, some dentists may also do a fluoride treatment to help further protect your teeth. Cleanings also help dentists identify certain areas that you may be missing when you are brushing or flossing at home.
- Individual tooth exam—A major part of a dental exam is the service of checking each tooth for cavities, tooth decay, plaque, tarter, and other issues that can affect your teeth. Checking each tooth is necessary to make sure that there are no issues that could cause major problems down the line.
- X-rays—It is not uncommon for dentists to take x-rays of your mouth. These x-rays allow the dentist to check for additional cavities that may be hiding between your teeth and for any structural problems. If you still have your wisdom teeth this is a good way for your dentist to see how they are positioned and if they will be causing any problems in the near future. X-rays may not be required at every visit, so it is important to consult with your dentist on if you need them.
- Oral Cancer Screenings—Checking for oral cancer is an important dental service. With any cancer early detection is the key. Your dentist should check your lips, tongue, cheek, gums and throat for any signs of oral cancer since these are the most likely places that it will be. In addition to your dentist checking for oral cancer it is also important that you share any symptoms that you have experienced that may be a sign such as pain or tenderness in your jaw or neck, problems chewing, swallowing, speaking and even numbness.
- Gum tissue exam—Your gums and the supporting bone provide a foundation for your teeth and are important in your oral health. Recent studies show that the health of your gums not only affects your oral health it can also affect your heart’s health. Your dentist will examine your gums to try and locate any signs of irritation or inflammation also known as gingivitis. Gingivitis can lead to more severe conditions which can cause you to lose your teeth. Therefore, your dentist will look at your gums closely to identify any problems, so they can be addressed and treated.
- Check your bite—Your bite and how you chew can affect your oral health and can cause serious problems which is why it’s important that your dentist checks it. If your bite is off then you experience shifting teeth, tooth pain, cracks in your teeth and even a condition known as TMD. TMD causes jaw pain than can become so severe that it is unbearable. Some people will have their bite corrected by orthodontic work, but over time everyone’s bites can change, especially if you have lost teeth or had an injury to your face or jaw.
Other Dental Services
Regular dental exams can prevent major problems, but sometimes additional issues or complications have already happened or can’t be avoided. Which is why dentists can provide a wide range of other dental services. These services include but are not limited to:
- Dental implants
- Emergency care
- Root canals
- Periodontal (gum) treatment
- Non-mercury fillings
Schedule Your Next Dental Service
Dental services are much more important than just making sure your smile looks nice they help your oral health. Since your teeth are meant to last you your entire life isn’t it worth it to set aside any fears or reservations and schedule your dental exam and other dental services today?