Going to the dentist can be anxiety-inducing even for most adults. Sometimes the fear of an exam that may lead to a long list of issues that need to be treated keeps patients away, and sometimes it’s just difficult to fit a cleaning into your busy schedule.
Many factors come into play when it comes to your dental health, including how well you can care for your gums and teeth at home, and how quickly plaque builds up on your teeth. If you have dental issues that require frequent treatment or monitoring, you will need to be seen by a dentist more frequently.
Consider One Appointment a Year Your Absolute Minimum
The ultimate goal for visiting the dentist regularly is to ward off any potential issues like tooth decay, cavities, and periodontitis. Dentists agree that having your teeth cleaned once every six months is the ideal standard. If you are unable to commit to having bi-annual cleanings, be sure to consider one cleaning a year to be your absolute minimum. After all, going to the dentist annually is better than not going at all.
Keep in Mind: Bacteria Can Cause Serious Damage
Plaque is a potentially harmful bacteria that is constantly forming a film over your teeth and gums. This sticky, colorless substance can eat away at your enamel and cause cavities to form. If plaque is not removed from your teeth often enough, it can harden into what is known as tartar, which can cause gum disease.
Gum Disease is 100% Preventable
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused by bacteria that live naturally in your mouth. If your mouth isn’t cleaned properly, this bacteria can build into larger populations. Their resulting waste becomes a sticky white substance called dental plaque, which then hardens into tartar.
Once plaque and tartar continue to build upon your teeth, pockets develop between the teeth and gums and cause inflammation. Gum disease then causes the area to become red, swollen and painful.
The best way to prevent gum disease is to remove plaque residue before it hardens to a point where it turns to tartar, and can only be removed professionally by a dentist or hygienist. While gum disease is treatable, it is entirely preventable by taking great care of your teeth at home in addition to regular cleanings and exams.
Determine Why You Avoid Teeth Cleanings
If you find yourself avoiding seeing your dentist due to nerves or dental anxiety, there are many ways to make the experience more enjoyable. Going to the dentist regularly can help you become more comfortable with the overall experience. Keeping your teeth cleaner with help from regular professional cleanings will result in less-intense appointments in the future or even the need for fewer appointments.
Overcome your dental anxiety during a cleaning by:
- Communicating your distress with the staff
- Asking for a topical numbing cream for your gums if sensitivity is your main issue
- Listening to a book or podcast during your appointment
- Taking a pain medication before your appointment to help with discomfort
- Rewarding yourself post-cleaning for motivation
- Getting your teeth cleaned regularly
Benefits of Regular Teeth Cleanings
Having your teeth cleaned every six months by a hygienist has many benefits including:
Preventing cavities. Plaque is the leading cause of tooth decay, and if left untreated, plaque will lead to cavities. Plaque can be removed by brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings.
Putting a stop to tooth loss. Gum disease is the top cause of tooth loss in adults. As gum disease advances, it moves further down the tooth and destroys the supporting bone in your jaw. This bone loss causes teeth to loosen and fall out.
Brightening your smile. Cleanings can remove built-up stains and leave you with freshly polished teeth and a whiter smile.
Freshening your breath. Plaque bacteria, gingivitis, and cavities all cause bad breath, so having your teeth in excellent health will keep odors at bay.
Saving you money. If you have dental insurance, taking advantage of your free cleanings and exams will save you money in the long run.
Want Better Dental Checkups?
You can help to make your dental appointments run more smoothly by staying on top of your oral hygiene at home, and thereby, reducing plaque and tartar buildup. Brush your teeth for a full two minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen your enamel. Flossing once a day can keep your teeth and gums in even better condition. All of your prevention efforts will be worth it when you hear positive praise during your appointment.
Call Premier Dental Center today to schedule an appointment to keep your teeth and gums healthy and happy.