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Why It’s Important to Keep an Annual Dental Checkup

Why It’s Important to Keep an Annual Dental Checkup

Whether you think it’s inconvenient to go to the dentist, you’re afraid of the experience, or you don’t want to spend your money, there’s no good reason for skipping your dental checkup. Many dental problems begin before you notice symptoms. Still, despite proof that regular dental checkups can prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss, 100 million Americans don’t see a dentist every year.

When combined with daily oral hygiene, an annual dental checkup can save you time, discomfort, and money because it allows you to treat dental problems before they require complicated and costly procedures. Regular checkups can also help your dentist notice changes in your mouth that may indicate you have a condition that can affect your overall health.

When it’s time for your dental checkup, consult with professionals who administer comprehensive exams. Dr. Peter K. Lee at Today’s Dentistry in San Jose, California provides professional dental checkups that include a preventive teeth cleaning and expert assessment of your dental health. The team ensures you get the most from your dental checkup by evaluating your mouth for all types of existing and potential dental problems as well as signs of larger health issues.

The staff at Today’s Dentistry encourages patients to follow a schedule of annual dental checkups that provide several types of benefits.

Save your smile

Your dental checkup includes several procedures that help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Diagnostic tools such as X-rays can determine the condition of your teeth, gums, and tooth roots. The professional teeth cleaning you receive during a dental checkup can effectively remove stubborn plaque in hard-to-reach areas that you may miss with your toothbrush. 

Even if you brush regularly, you can develop the initial stages of tooth decay without knowing it. About 27% of adults age 20 to 64 live with untreated tooth decay.

When plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, they can cause tooth decay and irritate the gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. Your hygienist uses specialized tools designed to remove hardened tartar buildup that can cause cavities and irritate your gums if not removed. 

Maintain gum health

An annual dental checkup helps monitor gum recession, bleeding, and gum firmness, which are all indicators of gum health. Unfortunately, it’s possible to have the early stages of this disease, called gingivitis, without realizing the problem. 

Without treatment, gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, a condition in which your gums can pull away from your teeth, bone can be destroyed, and your teeth can fall out. About 50% of Americans age 30 or older have periodontal disease, an advanced form of gum disease. 

Your dentist determines your risk for periodontal disease by using a periodontal probe ruler. This small ruler can check the pocket depth of the groove between your gums and your teeth. Pocket depths deeper than 4 mm often indicate gum disease. 

Detect oral cancer

Keeping your dental checkup can provide a defense against oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheek, floor of your mouth, palate, or throat. The staff of Smile Center Silicon Valley routinely performs oral cancer screenings during dental checkups. This painless examination includes observation of your mouth, including your lips, cheeks, tongue, palate, the floor of your mouth, and gums, as well as your head and neck.

An oral cancer screening allows your dentist to examine sores, white or red patches, or other unexplained growths that you may not notice, especially if they occur behind your teeth or under your tongue. Keeping your annual dental checkup increases your chances of identifying signs of oral cancer early when the success rate of treatment remains high.

Identify bad habits

Physical changes in the appearance of your teeth provide evidence of teeth grinding, smoking or chewing tobacco, brushing too hard, chewing on ice, drinking too many sugary drinks, or using your teeth as tools. By closely examining your teeth and gums, your dentist can identify habits that might be reducing the impact of your efforts to maintain a healthy mouth.

Your dentist can work with you to modify the habits that cause damage. This could involve education on proper brushing technique or a customized mouthguard to protect your teeth from grinding while you sleep.

Protect your well-being

More than 90% of all systemic diseases produce some type of oral symptoms such as mouth ulcers, swollen gums, bad breath, or dry mouth. By recognizing how these symptoms connect to your body’s well-being, your dentist may be the first to identify signs of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, and heart disease during a routine dental checkup. Skipping checkups increases your risk of living with undiagnosed chronic conditions.

Make time to keep your annual dental checkup for a healthy mouth and overall well-being. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.

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