October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and that means it’s the perfect time to focus on the importance of oral hygiene. A big part of oral hygiene is getting regular dental exams and cleanings. Many people put off these appointments, but there are many reasons why you should not wait. In this blog post, we will discuss the reasons why you should schedule a dental exam and cleaning. Keep reading to learn more!
What are dental exams and cleanings?
A dental exam is a thorough examination of your mouth, teeth, gums, and jaw. Dental exams are important because they allow your dentist to screen for a variety of oral health problems. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends having a dental exam at least once every six months.
During a dental exam, your dentist will look for any signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or oral cancer. They will also check to see if your teeth are aligned properly and check for any signs of infection. After having a dental exam, a dental cleaning is usually performed.
Dental cleanings, also called prophylactic cleanings, are a type of preventive dental care. They are usually performed by a dentist or dental hygienist and involve the removal of
plaque and tartar from the teeth. This helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
During a dental cleaning, your dentist or hygienist will use special instruments to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. They will also polish your teeth with a gritty toothpaste and floss them to remove any leftover debris. Finally, a fluoride varnish will be applied to the surface of your teeth. Fluoride helps to strengthen the tooth enamel and makes it harder for plaque to accumulate.
Reasons Why You Need a Dental Exam and Cleaning
There are many reasons why you should schedule a dental exam and cleaning. Here are five of the most important ones:
To prevent tooth decay and gum disease:
This is the most obvious reason to get a dental cleaning. As we mentioned before, dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, which helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Not only that, but during a dental exam, your dentist will carefully examine your teeth for early signs of decay known as demineralization. Demineralization occurs when the minerals that make up enamel start to break down, which is the first sign of a cavity. In some cases, your dentist may be able to reverse this early sign of tooth decay by applying fluoride to the affected tooth.
To maximize your oral hygiene routine:
Even if you brush and floss regularly, there are some areas of your mouth that you simply cannot reach with a toothbrush. Dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar from these areas, which helps to keep your teeth healthy. Not only that, but dental exams allow your dentist to point out areas in your mouth that you may be missing while brushing and flossing. They can also provide advice on what toothbrush to use and the proper brushing and flossing techniques. All of these little things can really help to maximize your daily oral hygiene routine.
To get screened for oral cancer:
Oral cancer is a serious disease that is increasing in occurrence. Oral cancer is a general term used to describe cancers affecting the lips, gums, inner cheeks, tongue, hard and soft palates, or pharynx. During a dental exam, your dentist will check for any signs of oral cancer, such as lumps or bumps in the mouth, changes in the color of the tissue, or sores that don’t heal. If caught early, oral cancer is highly treatable.
To have potential problems identified before they cause problems:
Dental exams allow your dentist to identify potential problems before they become serious. For example, if you have a small chip in your tooth, your dentist can fix it before it turns into a large crack. Or, if you have early signs of gum disease, they can treat it before it progresses and leads to tooth loss. When it comes to tooth decay, most people would rather have a filling placed over a root canal. Regular dental appointments allow your dentist to carefully monitor your oral health and provide less-invasive dental treatments for problems before they get out of hand.
To save money:
It may seem counterintuitive, but getting regular dental exams and cleanings can actually save you money in the long run. This is because dental problems that are caught early are usually much less expensive to treat than those that are allowed to progress. For example, a small cavity can be filled for a few hundred dollars, but if it’s not treated and it gets larger, you may need a root canal, which can cost several thousand dollars. So, getting regular dental exams and cleanings can help to save you money in the long run. Not only that, but many dental insurance companies will cover the cost of preventative treatments such as exams and cleanings.
In this blog post, we discussed five important reasons why you should schedule a dental exam and cleaning. These are just a few of the reasons why you should schedule a dental exam and cleaning. If it’s been awhile since your last appointment, be sure to call your dentist today and schedule one! And, if you’re due for a cleaning, be sure to ask about getting a fluoride treatment to help prevent tooth decay.