The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

After your dentist appointment, you’ve probably heard them tell you to come back in six months for your next checkup. Ever wondered why you need to come back that often just for another routine visit? Well, regular dental checkups are an important part of keeping your oral health in tip-top shape. They’re a type of preventive care focused on, you guessed it, preventing problems rather than simply reacting to them once they’ve already become serious.

You can think of it as an affordable way to invest in your health rather than having to spend a whole lot more time and money addressing an advanced problem. As Benjamin Franklin famously once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

dental chair in treatment room

Let’s break down the major steps to a routine dental checkup so you can see how each is important for your oral health.

Dental Exam

In a dental exam, your dentist or dental hygienist will check your bite (teeth alignment), look for signs of decay or gum disease, and evaluate the condition of any restorations you have. They may see signs of bad habits you might not even be aware of like grinding your teeth or brushing too hard. Depending on the date of your last X-rays, you may have more images taken. These images can reveal problems hiding from the naked eye like impacted wisdom teeth, bone decay, and cysts.

Dental Cleaning

During a dental cleaning, your dental hygienist will use a tool called a scaler to scrape away the plaque and tartar on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky film left by bacteria, and when it hardens, it becomes tartar. Whenever tartar is left untreated, it can irritate your gums and cause gum disease. Another important thing to note is that unlike plaque, tartar can only be removed by a dental professional. Afterwards, your dental hygienist will expertly brush and floss your teeth using professional supplies. This polishing session will help get rid of any stains you might have.

Head & Neck Exam

It may seem odd for a dentist to look at anything besides your mouth, but these areas can show important warning signs for other concerns. Your dentist may examine the muscles in your head and neck to see if there are any unusual lumps, swelling, lesions, or discoloration. An abnormality may signal oral, head, or neck cancer, so the sooner symptoms are spotted, the better.

All in all, regular checkups from trained dental professionals help you have optimal oral health. If you’re ready to schedule your next exam and cleaning, contact Las Cruces Dental Solutions today!

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