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Dentists are trained to detect and address issues in and around the mouth that may initially seem insignificant, but can lead to severe oral and overall health issues if left untreated. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are vital for maintaining both a healthy mouth and body. 

How Often Should You Visit the Dentist?

It is recommended that both children and adults visit their dentists at least twice per year for routine dental checkups and cleanings from a licensed dental hygienist. In some cases, your dentist may even recommend more frequent visits. Neglecting these cleanings enables a calcified plaque called “calculus” to accumulate on the teeth, causing irritation to the gum tissues, or “gingivitis”. The collection of bacteria and plaque around the gumline and between teeth can also lead to the erosion of the protective enamel. As this enamel weakens, it can result in the formation of cavities, or holes in the enamel which can only be treated through restorative treatment in the form of fillings.

Over time, continued enamel deterioration exposes the inner dentin, and in severe cases, the nerve and blood vessels within the tooth and its root, causing extreme pain and sensitivity. At this point, advanced decay can lead to an infection that may require root canal treatment or loss of the damaged tooth. Additionally, studies indicate that bacteria originating from gum disease can even contribute to other health issues, including an increased risk of heart disease.

What Happens During a Dental Checkup?

During a routine dental checkup and cleaning appointment, the dentist or hygienist will first examine your teeth, gums, and areas in and around the mouth to identify any signs of decay, infection, or other oral health issues. They may also take X-rays of your teeth to evaluate areas that cannot be seen clinically. After the examination, the hygienist will use instruments to remove the plaque and tartar build-up on your teeth. Removing this harmful build-up can help prevent worsening gum disease or cavities.

They may also apply a fluoride treatment to help strengthen tooth enamel and protect your teeth against decay. Finally, the dentist will review your X-rays and discuss any concerns or recommendations for future care.

See more: Periodontal specialists can help with gum disease.

How Much Time Should You Plan to Spend at the Dentist for a Checkup?

The duration of a checkup can vary depending on several factors.The patient’s dental history and present oral condition can influence the length of the checkup. Patients with a history of dental issues, such as cavities or gum disease, may require more attention and time. 

The type of exam required can also affect the time required. For example, a comprehensive exam that includes both X-rays, a cleaning, and an exam from the dentist will take longer than just a cleaning. Dental X-rays are crucial in providing a complete and accurate assessment of your oral health. They help dentists identify cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues that may not be visible during a routine checkup. Additionally, X-rays are useful in detecting abnormalities like cysts and tumors that may require further evaluation. 

The frequency with which you should undergo X-rays depends on a variety of factors, including your age, risk of tooth decay, and overall oral health. However, most patients require dental X-rays every 1-2 years. 

Finally, unexpected findings or issues that require further attention may extend the appointment’s time as your dentist will want to discuss the results of the examination and begin a treatment plan. This might take a little longer, but it’s a crucial part of maintaining both your oral and overall health.

The Importance of Home Oral Care in Between Regular Dental Checkups

Paying attention to oral care in between routine dental appointments can help prevent the need for more invasive treatments such as fillings, root canals, or extractions. All patients need to adopt a regular home oral care routine to maintain good dental hygiene. This routine should involve brushing teeth twice a day for at least two minutes using fluoride toothpaste and a suitable toothbrush that effectively cleans the teeth and gums. Additionally, brushing the tongue is important to remove bacteria that collects there and help reduce bad breath. Flossing is also crucial, as it helps to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach. Patients can also utilize mouthwash to help flush away debris and reduce bacteria levels in the mouth. 

Regular oral care at home can significantly decrease the risk of gum disease, tooth decay, plaque build-up, bad breath, and other oral health issues. By following these basic oral hygiene practices consistently at home, patients can help maintain the long-term health of their teeth, gums, and overall oral health.

Regular visits to a dental clinic are a crucial component of maintaining good oral hygiene. Not only do regular checkups help to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but they also provide an opportunity for our dentists to catch any oral health issues early on when they are much easier to treat. At Filler Family Dentistry in Exeter, NH, we understand the importance of caring for your dental health, as well as the benefits for our patients that come from forming a long-term relationship with your family dentist. Our team works tirelessly to ensure that every patient feels comfortable, informed, and well-cared for during their visits. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to schedule an appointment and join our family of patients today!

See more: Cosmetic dentistry in Exeter can help restore your smile