Importance of Regular Dental Exams
Patients should visit their dentist at least every six months for a routine cleaning and examination. Dental problems start out small but can quickly worsen to become much more serious conditions. These problems are much easier to treat when they are caught early.
The effects of gingivitis, for example, are reversible. But when gingivitis advances to periodontal disease, the bone loss that can result is irreversible.
A small cavity on the surface of a tooth can easily be fixed, but if it spreads to the inner layers of the tooth, your dentist usually needs to perform root canal therapy and restore the tooth with a crown.
If you have a cracked filling, an infection in the tooths inner pulp layer can result, requiring root canal therapy.
A bad bite can contribute to problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and can cause the painful cycle of muscle spasms and other jaw-joint problems commonly known as TMD, or temporomandibular disorder. The list of potentially fast-growing problems goes on.
During your regular checkups, your dentist will examine the health of your mouth, measure the bone levels around your teeth, check for decay, screen for oral cancer, examine your restorations, evaluate your bite, and remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. The bacteria that cause periodontal disease thrive in plaque and tartar, producing toxins that can cause bone loss and eventually tooth loss. A toothbrush and floss wont even budge tartar, so it must be removed every six months by your dentist.
Your six-month exam and cleaning is a critical part of a preventive program. Its the best way for you to prevent advanced dental problems and minimize the time and money you spend in the dental chair.
How To Use Dental Floss
First, take about 18 inches of floss and wind the two ends of it around your middle fingers, leaving about five inches between your hands. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers, and leave about one inch in between to work with. Gently guide the floss between the first two teeth using a side-to-side motion.
Pull the floss tightly in a C shape around the side of one tooth and slide it under the gum line. Clean the surface of the tooth by using an up-and-down motion, not the side-to-side motion you use to guide the floss between the teeth. Repeat on the adjacent tooth. Then remove the floss, wind it to a fresh section, process to clean both sides of every tooth.