A regular dental checkup/cleaning isn’t just about making your smile a bit brighter, these checkups have a significant impact on your oral and general health. Most dentists agree that having a cleaning twice a year will greatly reduce the number of oral problems you can encounter. Some patients (usually with an underlying illness) are required to have a checkup 3-4 times a year, but most of us can get away with semi-annual cleanings.
So, why is it important to stay consistent with your checkups?
PREVENTING GUM DISEASE
When you skip a cleaning, more bacteria and tartar build-up in your mouth. Without treatment, it can destroy the bone that supports your teeth, leading to tooth loss. Gum disease is referred to as “Periodontitis” which is often preventable; simply by brushing and flossing daily and getting routine checkups.
There is a strong connection between the conditions of your gums and your heart. Getting your teeth cleaned regularly can prevent periodontitis, which in turn reduces your risk of heart attack or stroke.
It’s expected in 2021, that 5,400 Canadians will be diagnosed with oral cavity cancer. Unfortunately, an approximate 1,500 will die. Many oral cancers are curable if detected early which is why scanning the mouth for signs of cancers has become a regular part of your semi-annual checkup.
TIPS TO MAKE YOUR CHECKUP MORE ENJOYABLE
Knowing you should be seeing your dentist twice a year can be a bit nerve-racking for some. Try these tips to help make the experience more pleasant:
- TAKE PAIN MEDICATION. An over-the-counter pain killer such as Ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation during and after the treatment. It may also keep you more relaxed during the cleaning.
- COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR DENTIST. Patients and dentists need to be on the same page before and during your checkups. Don’t be shy about communicating your fears with the dentist, they could actually be a sign of an underlying problem. For example, if you can’t stand the polisher because you have sensitive teeth, the dentist will want to know and will probably be able to help.
- REQUEST A NUMBING GEL. Most dentists stock a variety of gels to numb your gums that can make cleaningsmuch more comfortable. The gels are fast-acting so they don’t hold the dentist up, they also wear off pretty quickly too, often by the time you get home.
- KEEP UP REGULAR CLEANINGS. I understand this is hard to do, especially if you don’t enjoy your semi-annual cleanings, however, skipping your checkups will make the next one worse. When you go longer between dentist visits, there’s more time for tartar to build up. Tartar can cause discoloration to the tooth, it also causes the hygienist to take longer during the next cleaning. Having a longer more aggressive cleaning is more uncomfortable than two mild cleanings.
- ORAL SEDATION. Many patients opt for oral sedation to help relieve the discomfort and anxiety you’re feeling. The most common form of sedation is through a pill, it may not completely knock you out, but you will feel relaxed, drowsy, and unaware of any pain.
Making each of your semi-annual checkups is important and your dentist is likely to do whatever he/she can to make you more comfortable. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns before and during your appointment, your dentist here at High Prairie and Area Dental Center is here to help.