BEnefits of going to the dentist

Whether you are 80 or 8, your oral health is important. Did you know that 100 million Americans fail to see a dentist each year, even though regular dental examinations and good oral hygiene can prevent most dental disease? Here are some frequently asked questions about going to the dentist.

Why do regular dental visits matter?

Regular dental visits are important because they can help spot dental health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable. They also help prevent many problems from developing in the first place. Visiting your dentist regularly is also important because some diseases or medical conditions have symptoms that can appear in the mouth.

What are some signs I should see a dentist?

Your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold
Your gums are puffy and/or they bleed when you brush or floss
You have fillings, crowns, dental implants, dentures, etc.
You don’t like the way your smile or teeth look
You have persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
You are pregnant
You have pain or swelling in your mouth, face or neck
You have difficulty chewing or swallowing
You have a family history of gum disease or tooth decay
You have a medical condition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders or are HIV positive
Your mouth is often dry
You smoke or use other tobacco products
You are undergoing medical treatment such as radiation, chemotherapy or hormone replacement therapy
Your jaw sometimes pops or is painful when opening and closing, chewing or when you first wake up; you have an uneven bite
You have a spot or sore that doesn’t look or feel right in your mouth and it isn’t going away

I'm not having any symptoms. Do I still need to see a dentist?

Yes. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you can still have dental health problems that only a dentist can diagnose. Regular dental visits will also help prevent problems from developing. Continuity of care is an important part of any health plan and dental health is no exception. Keeping your mouth healthy is an essential piece of your overall health. It’s also important to keep your dentist informed of any changes in your overall health since many medical conditions can affect your dental health too.

What can I expect during a dental checkup?

The dentist or hygienist will ask about your recent medical history, examine your mouth and decide whether or not you need x-rays. Depending on your treatment plan, the hygienist may use a special dental instruments to check your gums for gum disease. Your dentist will evaluate your overall dental health and conduct an oral cancer screening by holding your tongue with gauze, checking it and your whole mouth, then feeling your jaw and neck.

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