The health of your teeth and gums depends on several factors, including diet, proper home care and regular visits to the dentist. The health of your mouth can have a great effect on the health of your entire body, especially in the areas of inflammation and infection. Regular trips to the dentist can help more than just your teeth and gums.
Even if you fastidiously care for your teeth with regular brushing and flossing, seeing the dentist twice a year is still necessary to professionally remove plaque and tartar that cannot be removed through simple brushing. Ingested food that sticks to teeth can become plaque within the first 24 hours after consumption. Within two weeks, if these food particles are not cleaned properly the plaque can solidify under the gums as tartar, or calculus, which cannot be removed with a toothbrush or floss and only can be removed professionally at the dental office. If left unchecked tartar can cause gingivitis within a month and periodontitis (gum disease) follows shortly thereafter. This is not intended to scare you and most food particles are removed through routine brushing and flossing. However, it is important to realize that even with good oral hygiene care, small food particles can be missed or trapped in the mouth. If you routinely visit the dentist, the plaque build-up and tartar can be removed before they cause greater problems.
Tooth decay can start and advance in as little as three months. Digital x-rays with virtually no radiation can help disclose new cavities which can form and grow in the short interim of six months. Early detection and treatment of cavities allows us to prevent the need for more extensive and expensive treatment. We like to prevent crowns, root canals and early tooth loss whenever possible. Getting in to the dental office with regular six month checkups is the best prevention.
At your six month dental checkup, the dentists in our O’Fallon office will use the OralID cancer screening light to check for signs of oral cancer. As with all cancers, early detection is the best defense against oral cancer.
The six month checkup is also a good time for the dental hygienist to let you know of any recent habits you may have developed that are having a negative effect on your teeth and gums. Habits such as teeth clenching, daily grinding, night grinding and rigorous brushing (which can cause gum recession and sensitivity of the tooth at the gum level) can be diagnosed and corrected before they cause more damage. In the case of teeth grinding which can lead to worn, chipped or broken teeth, we can prevent the need for crowns in the future by prescribing a night mouthguard.
Our patients who are regular with recalls rarely need more treatment than a routine cleaning. We are happy to pass along that even patients who needed extensive treatment, including deep cleanings, can maintain healthy teeth and gums after treatment is completed. Patients who out of fear avoided the dentist for years have received gentle, pain-free treatment and now only see us for routine checkups as they maintain their healthy smile. Do not be discouraged if you think you have too much dental work to be done and that you will never be able to have healthy teeth. We are here to help you achieve the healthy, beautiful smile you have always wanted in a caring, judgment-free environment.
Call 636-561-5445 today to set up your next dental checkup. We are excited to see you soon in our O’Fallon dental office located in the WingHaven area.