If you’re like many other people, you probably tend to put off your dental checkups until months—or even years—after you’re due to go.
But preventative care is the most important way to maintain your dental health, and there are several good reasons why you should be more diligent with attending your 6-monthly appointments.
Regular visits to your dentist can support both your general health and your dental health—and even save you a lot of money.
Timely management and good prevention strategies can save you from dealing with many common dental problems, and treat the ones you do get before they develop into major issues.
Assessing and monitoring dental problems
When you attend your 6-monthly checkups, your dentist will conduct a thorough examination of your teeth and gums. But they might also examine the joints and movement in your head, neck, jaw, and bite, as well as look at your face, salivary glands, throat and oral tissues.
They may also take x-rays as they look for signs of tooth decay and damage, gum disease and other issues with the function of your mouth. Your dental care might also benefit the rest of your body.
Some diseases and medical issues cause symptoms in your mouth, and you might not even notice them. These can be oral cancers, diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, or orthopaedic problems.
Because your dentist assesses your mouth when your doctor might not have any reason to, having your regular checkup can actually draw attention to medical issues you didn’t even know you had: this gives you the opportunity to have them treated and improve the quality of your life.
Preventing disease and decay
Good dentists focus on preventative care, because they know that it’s in the patient’s best interest to stop dental problems before they begin. Besides the pleasant freshness of a thorough clean every 6 months, preventative dental care strengthens teeth, reduces the chance of developing cavities, and can even treat bad breath.
After examining your teeth and gums, your dentist will conduct a thorough clean of your teeth. This involves removing plaque and tartar, flossing and polishing your teeth, and giving you a fluoride treatment.
Dental cleaning both removes bacteria and food particles that cause cavities, and treats your teeth with special solutions to strengthen them against decay—and you might even find that your teeth look brighter and whiter.
Part of preventative care also involves education. Your regular 6-monthly checkups give your dentist the opportunity to remind you of what foods are beneficial or best avoided for your unique dental needs, and to review your teeth cleaning techniques to help you to maintain the health and look of your teeth.
Your dentist might also have new industry information to share with you that would be helpful in managing the genetic or lifestyle factors that affect your dental health.
One of the most overlooked benefits of regular 6-monthly dental checkups is saving money. Besides the fact that major dental procedures are painful and time consuming, they’re also quite expensive, so it’s best if you never need to have them.
But if you treat your cavities when they’re small and manageable, it’s quicker and easier for your dentist to fix them—and it costs you a lot less money and discomfort.
Regular visits to your dentist can completely eliminate the possibility of developing some problems. And when problems do arise, your dentist is more able to treat them effectively: they’ll only be small issues, which are less painful and more affordable to deal with.
Getting to know your dental needs
When you attend your regular checkups, your dentist can see how your teeth look and function, and compare the new information with your previous history.
This gives your dentist an idea of how your dental issues have progressed—which can include anything from how far out of line your teeth have moved, how much further a crack has moved along a tooth, or how much staining you’re suffering from a new medication.
This valuable information helps your dentist to assess the effectiveness of any treatments you’ve had, to monitor diseases or problems, and to determine your new needs.
Regular 6-monthly dental checkups give you and your dentist the best chance of managing the lifestyle, health and genetic factors that affect your dental health.
By monitoring how your issues develop and progress, your dentist will have more opportunities to discover the best ways to support your health, and to show you how to manage them effectively.
It’s important to find a reputable dentist who is committed to achieving the best long-term outcomes for your dental health.