Lots of people would say that going to the dentist is one of those regular health maintenance appointments they dread the most. As a result, many people put off making dental appointments, sometimes getting out of the habit of having regular check ups entirely. They rationalise this by telling themselves that they don’t have any real problems with their teeth, so why bother? However, there are very good reasons why you should have regular dental check ups.
Over time, even with regular brushing, you get a build-up of a hard substance called calculus. Regular brushing can’t remove that – it takes specialised instruments in the hands of a qualified dentist. If calculus is left indefinitely, it can increase the chances you’ll end up with gingivitis – inflammation of the gums – and gradual bone loss at the extreme end. Your dentist can remove calculus as part of a regular clean.
General dental health and maintenance
Your dentist will check a few different things at your regular dental check up. Your general health has an impact on dental health, so they will check on how you’ve been, and whether there are any other issues that may affect the condition of your teeth. Your diet, consumption of alcohol and smoking are also things that can affect your teeth, so they may also be discussed. Your teeth will be thoroughly checked for any decay, and further appointments made if there is work to be done.
The frequency of your dental check ups will depend very much on the overall condition of your teeth. According to the UK’s National Health Service, checks every two years might be all some people need, while others may require more frequent appointments every few months. Only your dentist can advise you on that though, so you need to discuss it with them.
Getting kids into a routine of good dental care is particularly important, and this includes taking them to the dentist regularly from the time they are very small.
For most children, all those appointments will mean is sitting in the chair and having the dentist do a thorough check of their teeth and possibly a clean – neither of which is scary or painful. So you can emphasise that having a dental check up doesn’t have to be something to worry about, which is an important part of encouraging good dental care throughout life.
Left unattended, what could be a minor issue can turn into dental work that may take considerable time and cost you a lot of money. Regular checks are valuable because they can catch anything before it gets out of hand.
Dental check ups should form part of your general strategies for staying as healthy as possible, in the same way that you should have regular medical check ups with your general practitioner.