Life is busy and as a result, it’s often easy to overlook the importance of making and keeping regular appointments for dental checkups. But if you care about maintaining excellent oral health, then you should make a determined effort to see your dentist on a regular basis. How regularly you schedule your dental checkups depends entirely on the current state of your oral health and how much attention your teeth require. That’s something you and your oral health professional will have to determine together. Keep in mind though, that dental checkups don’t just focus on cleaning your teeth and fixing dental issues; they’re a well-rounded whole mouth treatment and care solution.
Understandably, some patients experience anxiety or what’s known as dentophobia when it comes to visiting the dentist and therefore avoid doing so as much as possible. Even if you brush your teeth, floss and use mouthwash habitually, you still need to get a professional cleaning every once in a while. Also, visiting the dentist minimally once or twice a year can help prevent you from developing serious dental and oral health issues down the line. Dentists don’t just clean your teeth and gums; they also perform in-depth oral examinations that help them detect and diagnose potential problems early on.
With that said, here are a few important reasons why you should go for routine dental checkups as recommended by your dentist.
Early Oral Cancer Detection
Oral cancer is easily treatable if caught early, but it’s still a prevalent form of the disease. The Canadian Cancer Society predicts that by the end of 2019, approximately 5,300 Canadians will be diagnosed with oral cavity cancer; 3,700 of those diagnosed will be men and 1,600 will be women.
Signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Red or white ulcers in your mouth that bleed and don’t heal on their own
- White or red blotches throughout the oral cavity
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Sudden drastic weight loss
- Difficulty moving the jaw and tongue
- Tenderness, lumps and pain throughout the mouth and lips
Dentists and dental hygienists are specially trained to recognize all of the symptoms of oral cancer. Throughout your appointment, they’ll examine your mouth carefully to spot any irregularities and inform you if anything is out of the ordinary. Early detection of oral cancer is extremely important because it increases the success rate of treatment to about 90%.
Dentists Thoroughly Check Your Head, Neck, and Lymph Nodes
On that note, your dentist will also perform a checkup on your neck, head and lymph nodes to ensure that there are absolutely no signs of oral cancer that may have spread to these other areas. In some cases, potentially harmful symptoms aren’t always apparent until your dentist finds an abnormality in your throat, neck or lymph nodes. Abnormalities can include redness, swollen lymph nodes and tenderness that you might not have realized was happening.
Checking these areas only takes a few minutes, but it could end up saving your life. If your dentist discovers any abnormalities, they’ll let you know immediately and refer you to a specialist for further examinations.
Identify Signs of Gum Disease
While cleaning your teeth, your dentist will also look for imminent or apparent signs of gum disease. Signs of gum disease include:
- Receding gum line
- Swollen, tender, bleeding gums
- Persistent halitosis or a constant bad taste in your mouth
- Loose teeth that move
- Changes in your bite
- Deep pocket formations between teeth and gums that trap food particles
Gum disease is most commonly caused by plaque and tartar buildup along the gum line on the teeth. Even if you maintain a strict dental hygiene routine at home, there are always certain hard-to-reach parts of the mouth where plaque and tartar buildup can occur, leading to tooth decay and cavities over time. Visiting the dentist on a regular basis can help keep your teeth clean and prevent gum disease from occurring.
Detect Problems Under the Gums
Once in a while, your dentist will recommend taking an x-ray image of your mouth to check for problems below the surface of the gums. X-ray images can help detect infections, impacted teeth (teeth that are blocked from breaking through the gum surface), swelling, bone decay or tumours. As with oral cancer, it’s highly important to catch and diagnose these problems as early on as possible to ensure that they’re effectively treated and eradicated before they lead to worse dental conditions and spread to other parts of the body.
Recommend Special Dental Treatments
Aside from giving your dentist the opportunity to examine your teeth and oral cavity, scheduling regular dental visits also allows you to build up a strong rapport and trusting relationship with them. It’s important to establish a good relationship with your dentist because this will make it easier for you to trust their professional opinions and it might even calm your nerves when visiting the dentist.
At the same time, regular visits will make it easier for your dentist to identify, diagnose and aptly treat any dental or oral health issues you might have while also recommending effective products and at-home treatment methods. After all, good oral health impacts so much more than just your teeth—it can also help boost your confidence and enable you to take pride in your smile!
Princeview Dental Group is dedicated to providing our patients with dental care and that includes scheduling regular checkups approximately once every six months or as needed. As a staple in The Kingsway community for well over 20 years, we’re always accepting new patients and look forward to helping you and your family achieve the healthy, beautiful smiles you’ve always wanted. Contact us today to book an appointment!