05: Dental Maintenance
Once the treatment has finished and you are dentally fit, the dentist will discuss the interval between your recall examinations.
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy entails more than brushing and flossing. Regular dental visits for a check-up and professional cleaning play an important part in oral healthcare and your overall wellbeing.
There was a time when many dentists concentrated on fixing problems instead of preventing them. Those days are long gone, and modern dentistry places a strong emphasis on preventative care, depending on the patients oral health risk factors this will include regular 4, 6 monthly or yearly examinations and cleaning.
It may be tempting to neglect or postpone regular dental visits because of a hectic lifestyle, but ensuring your teeth and gums are kept in good condition will avoid far more expensive procedures further down the line – good reason to show off your beaming smile!
The IDA recommends dental visits every six months or as otherwise determined by your dentist. People with a high risk of dental disease who should see their dentist more often include women during pregnancy, smokers, diabetics and those with a low level of immunity to bacterial infection.
Here are the main reasons why regular recall dental visits are important:-
Our dentist can detect issues you may be unaware of. Many dental issues – including gum disease, cavities and oral cancer – don’t cause pain or become visible until they are in advanced stages.
During a routine check-up, our experienced dentist will:
- Examine your gums. More than 50 per cent of people in Ireland over the
age of 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. The gums can give clues to your overall health, and your dentist will look for any deep spaces between teeth and gums, which typically indicate gum disease (periodontitis) that can spread to vital organs of the body. An annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation for all adults that have had previous history of gum disease.
- Check for cavities. You may have a cavity without realising it, perhaps between teeth. Detecting cavities early enables easier treatment, and can often save teeth that would otherwise be lost if decay progresses. Once decay works its way into tooth enamel, it can infect the soft pulp inside the tooth, and infection can spread to the root and into the bloodstream. Extensive decay can lead to a serious bacterial infection. Healthy teeth enable you to eat the types of food you need, while reducing the levels of harmful bacteria you swallow.
- Check for plaque and tartar accumulation. If plaque is allowed to build up, it forms tartar, which is impossible to remove by brushing and flossing, and can lead to cavities and gum disease. Your dental hygienist or dentist will use special tools to thoroughly clean hard-to-reach areas of your mouth.
- Examine your neck, throat, tongue and face. Looking at these areas enables your dentist to spot signs of potential problems such as cancer. Early detection and treatment significantly increases the chances of a successful outcome, but most oral cancers are not discovered until later stages.
Your smile can say a lot about you and performs an important role in creating a good impression as you interact with other people. Regular dental visits will not only help to keep your teeth and gums healthy but give you the confidence to show off your winning smile.
You and our dentists are likely to be long-term partners in your oral healthcare, and regular dental visits help you to get to know the dentist better and establish good communication, which is key to the success of your relationship. If you are nervous about dental treatment, having regular check-ups can ease your anxieties as you get used to the routine and acclimatise yourself with the dental office environment.
Research suggests that parents can unknowingly pass on dental anxieties to their children, and that if you show a negative attitude towards visiting the dentist, your kids will react in the same way. Maintaining a routine of regular dental visits will set a good example by showing your child that this is a normal part of oral healthcare.
Communicating with your dentist during regular visits will give you a clear understanding of what, if any, treatment you require, and what will be covered by your dental insurance. This way, there will be no surprises with your treatment or your bill. If you don’t have dental insurance, you can ask your dentist about payment options.
Bad breath (halitosis) can be caused by poor oral hygiene, gum disease or particles of food lodged in hard-to-reach places. Regular check-ups and professional teeth cleaning are the best way to prevent this problem.
Advanced periodontitis can result in the destruction of bone that supports the teeth as plaque eats further into the roots of the teeth. A thorough cleaning during your regular dental visit, plus a good routine of brushing and flossing at home, will go a long way in keeping your teeth healthy.
Oral health is linked to your overall health. Besides cancer, poor dental hygiene can result in issues such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis (fragile bones). An experienced dentist will have an in-depth understanding of how oral health affects the rest of your body.
Quality Restorative Dentistry comes with a price . Preventive dentistry is far less expensive than restorative treatment – full-mouth dental implants can cost upward of €30,000 – and if you have dental insurance cover most plans include two check-ups and maintenance cleaning a year.