It’s easy to sometimes forget just how important taking an active, “first-strike” role in your oral care. Many people often go long stretches without seeing their dentist for regular dental cleanings and examinations. Even if you make a very good habit of taking care of your teeth and gums properly (at a minimum, this includes brushing, flossing, and rinsing twice a day), if you don’t see the dentist regularly you risk serious problems with your oral health; threats range from more common and somewhat less serious issues (such as the formation of cavities) all the way up to oral cancer, which can be deadly if it isn’t caught early on.
At Anderson Dental Care, we take a lot of pride in being able to fix your oral health problems quickly and comfortably; however, what is best for you, the patient, is to prevent these problems before they can even start!
Dental Cleaning and Comprehensive Examination
Dental cleaning is essential for the long term viability of your oral health; brushing, flossing, and rinsing are effective for regulating the build-up of plaque (the bacteria that can cause tooth infections, cavities, and even gum disease), but ultimately it’s only a stopgap measure. What you need is a deep cleaning by a professional hygienist. Think of it this way: is it easier to scratch your own back or have someone else do it? Even better, what about a trained professional who can identify problems that you normally wouldn’t? You should receive dental cleanings twice a year.
Cleaning your teeth is only half the battle, however. Your dentist will give you a thorough examination, looking for potential threats early on. The thing about your teeth is that it is much easier than you might think for a minor issue to become a major problem.
For example, gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and if it isn’t addressed soon enough it will develop into the next stage, periodontitis. Unfortunately, the symptoms of gingivitis are easily missed, ignored, or even forgotten. This is because gingivitis will generally cause you no discomfort, even as your gums and jawbone are being destroyed. Gingivitis can be reversed relatively easily, but only if it is caught in time. Often we see patients come in only when they’ve noticed that their teeth seem loose, which is a sign of advanced periodontitis. Periodontitis is the number one cause of tooth loss in the US, and the best way to avoid that outcome is to get an exam from your dentist.
Your dentist will also give you an oral cancer screening. This involves the dentist looking at your oral tissues closely and searching by touch to identify any odd changes in the appearance or condition of your oral tissues. Oral cancer is on the rise in the US, and many people wrongly believe that they are “immune” to it because they don’t smoke. This can be a deadly assumption! Smoking does contribute the occurrence of oral cancer, but the leading cause is HPV (the human papillomavirus), the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US by far (though many people may only be carriers and show no sign of the disease).
To strengthen your enamel, your dentist can give you a fluoride treatment. Fluoride helps to remineralize your enamel. The enamel that protects your teeth is made up of mineral crystals, which it loses to damage (from bacteria) and gains minerals by absorbing them from many sources, such as the food you drink or the fluoridated water from the tap.
Fluoride helps this absorption, and a fluoride treatment is a topical method of providing fluoride to your enamel. It only takes a few minutes and causes no discomfort whatsoever. Your dentist will apply a fluoride gel to your teeth, and your enamel will absorb the fluoride. This will make your enamel stronger and better able to fight cavities and the infections that can cause oral disease.
Your dentist can also give you what is known as a dental sealant. A dental sealant protects your teeth from cavities and bacteria by filling in the grooves or fissures that occur naturally on the surface of your teeth. These fissures are difficult to keep clean, even with regular and thorough care. The sealant is a type of polymer, and it is applied to your teeth by your dentist. When it cures (hardens), it forms a protective barrier on your teeth.
Dental sealants are very popular because they can last years, are easily maintained (through reapplication of sealant that may have worn off), and they are very effective at protecting your teeth from harm. Children and teenagers can also benefit from dental sealants.
Can’t Remember When You Last Saw Your Dentist?
If it’s been awhile since you’ve been to the dentist, there is a good chance that you might have serious oral health problems that you don’t even know about.
Visit Anderson Dental Care and experience our award-winning patient experience! Dial (513) 231-7755 or click here to make your appointment using our online booking form right now!