Don’t Skip Your Six-Month Visit: Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

Regular dental checkups are important

Healthy Teeth Start Here: The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

According to an article by USA Today, many Americans are avoiding their routine dental checkups. The article states that around 30% of Americans don’t visit the dentist every six months, with cost being a significant factor. While it’s understandable that dental care can be expensive, avoiding regular checkups can seriously affect your oral health. Let’s explore why regular dental checkups are so important and how to navigate the cost.

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is essential to your overall health and well-being. While brushing and flossing regularly helps keep your teeth clean, scheduling regular dental checkups is still essential. Typically scheduled every six months, these appointments allow your dentist to evaluate your oral health and detect potential issues before they become severe and costly to treat. 

More specifically, your dental team will do the following:

1. Professional Cleaning

During a professional teeth cleaning, your dental hygienist uses specialized instruments to remove plaque and tartar buildup. 

First, the hygienist uses a small mirror to evaluate your teeth and gums for any signs of gum disease or tooth decay. Next, they take a scaler and carefully remove plaque and tartar from around your teeth and beneath the gumline. Once all the buildup is gone, it’s time to polish the surfaces of your teeth with a special handpiece and polishing paste to remove any remaining stain and bacteria. Next, they’ll floss between your teeth to remove any leftover debris. And finally, they will rinse and suction your mouth, leaving it clean, fresh, and ready for the dentist to check.

2. Oral Evaluation

Have you ever noticed how your dentist asks you to open and close your mouth, feels your neck for lumps, and asks you to stick out your tongue? This is all part of the oral evaluation, separate from your dental cleaning. This process typically involves examining the soft and hard palates, inside and outside of the lips, cheeks, and areas behind the molars. 

Your dentist is checking for other oral health issues that may be present, such as problems with the temporomandibular joint that may be causing you headaches or jaw pain, swollen glands that may indicate another health issue, and patches in your mouth or tongue that could be precancerous. 

3. Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer is a severe condition that can often go undetected until it has reached an advanced stage. That’s why oral cancer screening is integral to any routine dental evaluation. During the screening, we will examine your mouth for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions, such as abnormal growths or sores that don’t heal. Timing is key when treating oral cancer, as it is much easier to treat when detected early. 

In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, with early detection, people with oral cancer are 90% as likely as those without oral cancer to survive for at least five years after diagnosis. And since an oral cancer screening is a quick and painless process, it’s just that much more important to prioritize regular dental checkups and oral cancer screenings as part of your overall health care routine.

4. Digital X-rays and Intraoral Photos

Digital X-rays, intraoral photo documentation, and thorough periodontal checks are essential to ensuring optimal oral health. Digital X-rays provide clear, detailed images of the teeth and jawbone, allowing dentists to detect underlying issues such as cavities and bone loss. 

At Sheppard Family Dental Care, we like to use the Digital Doc HD intraoral camera because it provides high-quality images of the teeth and gums, making it easier to identify areas of concern that may be difficult to see with the naked eye. Meanwhile, a thorough periodontal check can detect early signs of gum disease, essential for preventing further damage to the gums and teeth. By incorporating these simple steps into your regular dental checkups, we can provide more accurate diagnoses and craft personalized treatment plans that address your unique oral health needs.

Pay a visit to Sheppard Family Dental Care at least once every six months. 

We know we sound like a broken record. Still, regular dental checkups are essential to maintaining good oral health. Regardless of your age, regular dental visits can help prevent a wide range of oral health issues, from cavities and gum disease to more serious conditions like oral cancer. 

During these preventive visits, we can detect and treat potential problems before they become more serious, helping to preserve the health and longevity of your natural teeth and gums. By prioritizing regular dental checkups every six months, you can take an active role in your oral health and ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles. And if cost is keeping you away, know that many dentists offer programs that make it easier to afford your care. After all, avoiding the dentist or putting off your six-month visits can actually result in more costly dental treatments later.

Request an appointment today.

The team at Sheppard Family Dental Care prioritizes your oral and overall health. So if you are overdue for your dental checkup, there is no time better than right now to request an appointment and get on our calendar. Don’t delay—schedule your next dental checkup today!