It’s not “just a cleaning” it’s about health and hygiene
As I dentist, I know not to take it personally when patients avoid coming in for their checkups. I’ll even concede that maybe – just maybe – our friendly six-month reminders are slightly cringe-inducing, like fingernails down a blackboard.
Regular dental visits, however, are about more than just a bright smile.
They’re about maintaining good oral hygiene and overall health. Typically, a checkup consists of x-rays, scaling, polishing, a fluoride treatment and an exam by the dentist. During the oral exam, we’re looking for any abnormalities such as cancer, gum disease, cavities or other indicators of poor health in general.
Dental x-rays in particular provide information that can be impossible to ascertain otherwise. X-rays show us any tooth decay, bone loss due to gum disease, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts and even tumours in the jaw bones.
The level of radiation is very low – less per film, in fact, than the exposure you’d experience on an airplane flight.
Scaling involves using tools to remove tartar, a hard deposit that harbours bacteria.
Brushing alone won’t eliminate it, and if it’s left unchecked it can lead to decay and periodontal (gum) disease, which has a whole host of nasty symptoms (think inflamed gums, loose teeth and really bad breath).
Polishing gets your teeth feeling smooth, allows the hygienist a chance to review home care tips and prepares your teeth for fluoride.
The fluoride itself coats your teeth and accumulates in soft areas, where it works to harden the enamel. This treatment both protects your teeth and helps reduce sensitivity.
Remember, preventative maintenance is the least expensive dental treatment there is, and routine maintenance can avert larger issues in the future.
In the long run, it will save you time, money and discomfort.
Dr. Cory Seebach, DMD, is owner of Beyond Beautiful Smiles in Campbell River. To learn more, call 250-923-4746 or visit www.beyondbeautifulsmiles.ca.