One aim of general dentistry is to make the patient’s experience as positive as possible. A dentist who is good at their job will achieve this feat in two ways. First, they will use proactive, preventative measures that keep intensive procedures to a minimum. Second, the dentist will use every tool at their disposal to…
What a General Dentistry Check-Up Can Find
Regular general dentistry checkups can help support individuals' overall health and prevent problems that can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and gingivitis, which is a gum disease that can cause bleeding and painful swelling in the gums. Visiting a dentist several times a year can prevent these problems and discover a variety of possible dental issues that may cause problems for patients if left untreated.
The importance of yearly dental checkups
While there is no set number of times patients must see a dentist because of individual needs, a good rule of thumb is to visit at least once a year to have a professional teeth cleaning performed and so the dentist can check for any problems that may have cropped up over the past 12 months. A dentist may take several steps to prepare patients for a checkup, including:
- A review of patient X-rays
- A discussion of any issues patients noticed at home
- A review of patient brushing and flossing habits
While all of this information can be important for future patient oral health, the general dentistry professionals who perform checkups may also look for a few common problems these exams are likely to uncover.
While some cavities are noticeable and may cause pain, others develop silently and without symptoms. Before a cleaning, a dentist may use several different tools to check for cavities and alert patients to those that may be growing unchecked. The back teeth are especially vulnerable to cavities, as many patients do not reach back far enough when brushing. Dentists may recommend fillings and other procedures, such as root canals, for serious cavities that increase the risk of tooth breakage.
Gum health can be just as important to overall oral wellness as healthy teeth, which is why a general dentistry professional will likely inspect the gums during a routine checkup. Redness, swelling, and bleeding while brushing or flossing may indicate an issue, which is often caused by a buildup of tartar at the gumline. Fortunately, most early stages of gum disease can be reversed by improved brushing and flossing techniques or by changing toothbrush styles and flossing tools.
Dry mouth issues
Patients who take certain medications may be prone to chronic dry mouth, which can increase the risk of bad breath, cavities, and eventual tooth loss if the issue is not addressed. Dentists who notice this issue may recommend certain types of mouthwash that contain xylitol, an ingredient that helps moisten the mouth and reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Dentists may perform additional X-rays when jawbone problems, such as bone or bone density loss, are suspected. Missing teeth, trauma, and advanced gum disease can all cause this problem, so if a patient's bite has changed, there may be a need for further X-rays and treatment to ensure the problem does not advance any further.
Regular dental checkups can uncover a variety of possible oral issues that could affect future patient health. Maintaining good brushing and flossing habits, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can reduce the risk of dental problems and make checkups easy for both the patient and the dental professionals who perform them.
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