Preventative Care and Checkups

img_preventive_careTaking care of your smile with preventative care and checkups helps to avoid costly dental maintenance in the future.

Dental health problems are easier to prevent than to cure, yet many people avoid seeing the dentist until there is a problem. If you brush your teeth and floss regularly, you should still see the dentist for regular checkups so that problems can be taken care of in their earliest stages. Waiting until you are in pain from a toothache will only make dental treatment more complicated.

For good oral health, you should brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. If you don’t floss, you won’t be removing all the food particles between your teeth. Poor oral hygiene is almost guaranteed to lead to gum disease. Gum disease is caused by bacteria feeding on sugars, which enable the bacteria to grow and spread. The result is tartar, a sticky film that can harden to plaque. Plaque can begin to grow below the gum line, and at that point, the teeth can begin to separate from the gums.

The bad news is that even if you brush twice a day and floss once a day, you may still get gum disease. This is because gum disease is often hereditary, and it can sometimes be caused by certain illnesses or medications. The good news is that gum disease can be treated with a simple professional cleaning when it is caught early. This is why twice annual checkups are so important.

A simple cleaning involves the cleaning of each tooth and usually a fluoride treatment. Gingivitis, the early form of gum disease, can be completely reversed and your mouth will be thoroughly clean and fresh after your appointment. If your gingivitis is not treated, it can progress to periodontitis, and then treatment becomes more complicated.

A deep cleaning, also called scaling and root planing, goes below the gum surface to clean out the plaque and tartar below the gum line. While this is not a surgical procedure, it is much more involved than simple cleaning. When periodontitis is severe, sometimes deep cleaning is not enough, and gum surgery may become necessary to reverse the disease.

You can keep your gums healthy and avoid invasive dental procedures by seeing the dentist twice a year for checkups. These exams are quick, and if problems are detected, early treatment is much easier than later treatment. You can ask the dentist for tips on preventing gum disease and tooth decay like fluoride treatments or sealants, as well as any other questions you may have. Together, you can keep your mouth and teeth healthy for life.