If you’ve fallen behind on visits to the dentist for whatever reason, the thought of returning to the dentist chair may be a little intimidating. But that shouldn’t stop you from making an appointment. The fact is that seeing your dentist on a regular basis for exams and professional cleanings is vital to your oral health. To help prepare you for your appointment, we’ve compiled the following frequently asked questions about dental visits:
Q: I take care of my teeth at home, so why do I need to see the dentist?
A: No matter how diligent you are about brushing and flossing at home, you’ll never be able to remove all the plaque and tartar buildup that occurs over time. If that buildup is not removed, cavities will form, and if cavities are left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and gum disease. Your dentist can also detect serious problems like oral cancer, which many times has no symptoms until the disease is in an advanced stage.
Q: What can I expect during my dental visit?
A: Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums visually, and you’ll probably have to have dental x-rays as well. The hygienist will thoroughly clean and polish your teeth, and may use a probe to measure the depth of gum pockets around your teeth. Your dentist may also perform an oral cancer check using a special screening device.
Q: How often do I have to see the dentist?
A: Although the frequency of your visits will depend on the current state of your oral health, most people need to visit the dentist twice a year for oral exams and professional cleanings. If you have certain issues – such as gum disease, for example – you may have to go more often.
Q: What’s the best way to find a dentist if I don’t have one that I see regularly?
A: You can start by asking your friends and family for recommendations. They can tell you whether or not they’ve been happy with their dentist, as well as how long they’ve been a patient. You might also look online for reviews of dentists. If you have a regular family doctor, he or she might be able to make a recommendation. The American Dental Association also provides an easy-to-use online service for finding a dentist near you at https://findadentist.ada.org/.
If you’re overdue to visit the dentist, don’t wait any longer! The health of your teeth and gums may count on it.