Many people wonder whether it’s necessary to keep each and every dental appointment for regular checkups and cleanings, and how beneficial they actually are. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned to get rid of disease-causing bacteria that has hardened on the surface of your teeth (as tartar) actually helps to prevent most dental issues, including gum disease, cavities, and bad breath. The exams also help to detect problems in their early stages, including oral cancer, for timely interventions.
Dental consultations also provide a good opportunity for you to learn more about caring for your teeth and gums. You may consider asking:
- Which toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, or other product should I use for my teeth?
- Based on your examination and my dental/medical history, what is my ideal interval for cleanings?
- What dental diseases am I prone to if any? Why? What can I do to reduce this risk?
What next after your dentist appointment?
In between your dental cleanings and examinations, you will be required to maintain good oral hygiene at home. Your dentist will remind you of the best way to care for your mouth, including using proper brushing technique for at least two minutes per session and developing good dental habits, like not using your teeth as a tool to bite nails, open bottles, or crush ice.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you:
- Brush your teeth twice a day using an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between your teeth everyday using floss or an interdental cleaner
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if you suffer an oral illness
- Maintain a balanced diet and reduce the intake of sugary items, soft drinks, and snacks between meals
- Visit your dentist regularly for oral exams and professional cleanings
Dental cleanings are intended to keep your gums and teeth clean and healthy, which will in turn help you avoid paying for costly dental procedures in the future. With a 45-minute dental appointment, the dentist can detect the early stages of problems, including chips, gum disease, cavities, and even oral cancer, so you can start interventions early to prevent them from getting worse or even reverse them.