Why Do I Need a Regular Dental Check Up?
Hi, Dr Monika Behrens here from Plaza Dental in Mackay. I was with my new patient Jame from East Mackay this morning, and he asked me: why do I need to come back for my checkup, my dental exam?
For people who are not used to regular dental checkups, this is quite a common question. So I thought I’ll make this video, explaining some of the reasons why it’s a good idea to come back for your regular dental checkups. And as part of that process, I’ll outline basically what happens during your dental checkup.
Look, the best reason that I can give you for coming back for regular dental checks is making an analogy with a car. If you don’t get a car service on a regular basis, everything will work fine for a while, but eventually, things will stop working properly. And that the problems you find tend to be larger, major problems that are more expensive and more time consuming to fix. So generally speaking, the recommended frequency for your dental checkup is every 6 months.
In dentistry, a lack of dental pain does not necessarily equate to the absence of problems. Examples of this can be decay in teeth. Part of the process of dental checkups is checking for decay in your teeth. Small to medium-sized cavities can often be present with no symptoms at all. Periodontal or gum disease can often be present without any particular signs or symptoms until it is quite advanced. Periodontal disease is not only a serious dental condition that can ultimately lead to loose teeth or the loss of teeth, but it has serious interactions with your general health and periodontal disease has been linked with type two diabetes, heart disease and low birth weight babies in pregnant women.
Other things we assess during a dental checkup appointment is the condition of existing fillings and restorations in your mouth. Often if we can see fillings that are starting to break down or where cracks might be appearing around the edge of the fillings, then the procedure for replacing or repairing those is a lot more straightforward and a lot less expensive than if it is left longer.
Similarly, with the wear of people’s teeth, everyone’s teeth wear at a certain rate. Our concern is if someone’s teeth are wearing faster than normal and if this wear is likely to lead to problems either relating to pain, difficulties with eating, or creating aesthetic issues.
Another part of a dental checkup is oral cancer screening. So what we are doing is checking all around your mouth and the surrounding tissues to make sure that there are no lumps or bumps that look unusual and are possibly concerning there. This is quite a quick procedure, but like with all cancers, oral cancers, if they’ve picked up earlier, are much more straightforward to treat than if they’re left to develop into a larger problem.
Finally, the last thing that we check is how well you are looking after everything. It is easy to fall into bad habits over time and while you may be cleaning your teeth twice a day and even flossing, it is possible to be missing areas. So while you feel you are being diligent and looking after everything, there can be small areas that you’re not getting as well as you’d like to. Plaque that’s left behind can lead to gum disease, dental decay, and a raft of other problems. So by having regular dental checkups, we can help find problems early and minimise future problems.
So if it has been a while since your last dental checkup, why not book an appointment with us here at Plaza Dental. All our team members are patient, friendly and non-judgemental. Simply direct message us on social media, call us on 07 4942 3272, or go to our website on plazadental.com.au and fill in the enquiry form, and one of our friendly team members will help you arrange your appointment.
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