4 Things Your Dentist Is Checking for at Your Regular Cleaning
It’s recommended to visit your dentist approximately once every six months for a regular cleaning. But did you know that your dentist is doing more than just cleaning your teeth during your dental visit? While your appointment may be called a “cleaning,” you’re also undergoing a dental exam to check up on your oral health. In fact, it’s just as important to regularly visit your dentist for an exam even when you no longer have your natural teeth but have dentures or implants, instead.
Why is this exam so important? Your dental care plays a vital role in your body’s overall health. It’s crucial to monitor potential dental issues and catch them early on before they can become a danger to your wellbeing. That said, here are four things your dentist checks for during your dental exam.
1. Your risk of tooth decay
Cavities happen. When your chew food and drink beverages, your saliva mixes with the sugars and carbohydrates of what you’re eating to create plaque. Plaque is a sticky film that clings to your teeth and turns into tartar within just 24 hours. Bad bacteria feed on the sugars and carbohydrates in your teeth, and the acids these bacteria produce wear away at your enamel. Your enamel is the protective layer of your teeth, and once your enamel is worn away it puts you at greater risk for tooth decay. Your dentist will check for cavities and any risk for tooth decay you may have. They may recommend fillings to clear the decay away and to protect the health of your teeth.
2. The strength of your enamel
Speaking of protecting the health of your teeth, your dentist will also check on the strength of your enamel. The enamel of your teeth can weaken over time due to a variety of factors including genetics, the food you eat, and the beverages you drink. Acidic beverages, in particular, such as energy drinks and sparkling water can wear down your enamel much faster than sugary beverages like sodas and sports drinks. Your dentist may recommend kinds of toothpaste and water with higher fluoride content to help protect your enamel. They may also recommend that you avoid certain beverages to help maintain the enamel you currently have.
3. Your risk for gum disease
One of the biggest misconceptions about gum disease is that you can only develop gum disease if you have severe tooth decay. However, this isn’t the case. In fact, you can actually develop gum disease even if you don’t have any cavities. This is possible if you have strong enamel or if cavities simply haven’t had time to form yet. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place and is typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits. Gum disease is far more common than you would think. Up to 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of gum disease.
Left untreated, gum disease can cause serious health issues and put you at greater risk for health conditions like heart disease and stroke. Your dentist can identify your risk of developing gum disease during your dental exam and provide you with the dental care necessary to treat it. Treatment for gum disease typically includes professional cleaning the pockets around your teeth. This is to help prevent damage to the gum tissue.
4. Your risk for oral cancer
While you’re at greater risk for oral cancer if you have a family history of the disease, anyone can develop oral cancer at any age. This is why physical examinations are so important, to catch oral cancer before it can become life-threatening. During your dental exam, your dentist will conduct a physical examination of your jaw and mouth to check for lip or oral cavity cancers. They may also take an x-ray of your mouth to check for any irregularities.
Looking to make a dental care visit of your own? We’ve got you covered. The professional dentists at Gainesville Dental Associates have the experience you need to take great care of your dental health. To learn more about our dental care services including dental sedation, Invisalign, veneers, and more, contact Gainesville Dental Associates today.