Flushing Dentist Offering Dental Checkups
How many of you have been putting off that visit to your dentist? You know it has been awhile since you were last seen, but everything feels fine, you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and you are so busy with work, school, the kids, or all of the above. So, when your dental hygienist calls and says, “Hi, Mrs. Jones its time for your check-up and cleaning, can I schedule your appointment?” You reply “things are so hectic right now, I can’t find the time, and I’ll call you when I can come in.”
These visits to the dentist are far more important than most people understand. Most dental offices perform multiple tasks at this ‘check-up’ visit. Here are a few items that should be of interest to you.
1-Lets start with your teeth. Cavities can be detected long before they cause any symptoms. As a matter of fact, many people never have symptoms, even with large holes visible in the teeth. Early detection by a professional, as with all disease is extremely important. Treating the very early stage of a cavity can sometimes be done without having to drill on the tooth. A valuable aid to detecting cavities is the use of x-rays or digital radiographs. The areas between the teeth and below old restorations can’t be seen without them. The condition of your teeth can also show signs of other problems, including bulimia, acid reflux disease, TMJ problems and even stress related illnesses. Your doctor will recognize these signs during a routine examination.
2- Your gums may not be bothering you, but there are many early signs of gum disease that can be detected, and therefore treated before any serious gum disease occurs. No one can keep their teeth completely free from plaque that accumulates continuously from food products. Even the best brushers and flossers will have a few areas that are difficult to keep clean. A professional prophylaxis (cleaning) of your teeth is the only way to remove plaque form these hard to reach areas. Why is this important? Plaque is an accumulation of food particles and bacteria that stick to the teeth (usually near the gums). When this layer does not get removed, it causes the gums to get irritated, and they get red, swollen and may start to bleed. This is commonly called gingivitis, and it can lead to a more serious form of gum disease. It is recommended that these cleanings be done at least every 6 months or more frequently if you have or had gum disease. This frequency will minimize the chance of serious damage occurring to your teeth and gums. There is also growing evidence that gum disease will increase your risk for heart disease, and is related to low birth weight babies. During your examination, your Dentist will routinely evaluate the health of your gums.
3- Did you know that oral cancer can be life threatening, and that it occurs in about 34,000 Americans each year? If you add cancers of the lips, skin (face or head) or neck, the numbers are much higher. People who smoke, or use alcohol are at even greater risk. When your dentist examines you, and starts pulling, and feeling all round your cheeks, lips and tongue, they are checking for any abnormalities in color, texture, shape, that may be early signs of oral cancer. They can also see signs of common skin cancers of the face and head, as well as help diagnose other diseases of the body, such as anemia, leukemia, and even HIV by looking at the tissue in the mouth. Check with your dentist to make sure they are doing this cancer screening during your routine examinations.
4- X-rays or Digital radiographs were mentioned earlier, as an important tool for detecting cavities. They are also necessary to check for loss of bone support of your teeth, which occurs in the advancing forms of gum disease. These x-rays will also look for areas of infections in your bone, which sometimes occur from nerve infections in the teeth that spread to the bone. The bones of the jaw are also used to help diagnose other bone diseases, most commonly osteoporosis.
As you can see there is much to be gained by seeing your dentist regularly. As the cliché goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so don’t wait until it hurts!