Have you ever wondered why it’s so important to visit your dentist every 6-12 months?
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is an essential part of maintaining your general health, and regular dental check ups are vital to this process. Poor oral health has been linked with many serious conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, so prioritising your dental health care is a good way to protect your health. Regular dental checks allow your dentist to identify the early signs of any potential problems, and help you to keep your teeth and gums in great condition.
Many people are afraid of visiting the dentist, with some even suffering an intense fear known as odontophobia. These feelings sometimes prevent people from visiting the dentist for years, and this can lead to serious problems and the need for more invasive dental work when a visit becomes essential. Here at Guiney Dental Clinic, we are experienced in helping those who feel anxious about visiting the dentist, and we will work with you, taking all the time you need to understand procedures and ensure that you are comfortable throughout your visits.
What Happens At A Dental Check?
If you haven’t had a check up with a dentist for a long time, it can help to know what to expect. There are three stages to a dental examination, and these are:
- Head and neck examination. At the beginning of your dental appointment, your dentist will examine your face and neck, and check your lymph nodes and the joints of your lower jaw. This is an important step that can alert the dentist to any early warning signs of problems that may be developing, and if you have visited before, they will be able to check whether anything has changed since your previous visit.
- Clinical dental examination. Your dentist will assess the health of your teeth and gums, highlighting any problem areas and recording the findings to create a comparison for your next visit. Your dentist will examine your gums and check for signs of gum disease, which can be done by measuring the depth of the spaces between your gums and your teeth, which may become deeper if you have gum disease. Your dentist will also examine the soft tissues of the mouth, as well as the tongue, as any swelling or redness could indicate a health problem that requires further investigation. When examining your teeth, your dentist will check if any are loose or broken, and will look for any evidence of tooth decay. The dentist will make a note of any areas in which plaque or tartar have built up, and this will be useful for comparison at your next visit. He or she will also check your bite, and will examine any fillings you have for signs of damage. If you wear braces or other dental appliances, such as implants or veneers, these will also be checked, and X-rays may be taken if required. X-rays are useful for detecting cavities that may have developed between your teeth, and for checking the health of the roots of your teeth.
- Dental cleaning. During your routine dental appointment, your dentist will check how well you are cleaning your teeth and gums at home, and discuss any recommendations, which may include using a different brush or floss, and checking your brushing or flossing technique. Your dentist will usually remove any plaque or tartar, and may floss between and/or polish your teeth, as well. If you have not visited the dentist for a long time, or a more extensive clean is required, you may be asked to make an appointment with your dental hygienist for this.
If your dentist is confident that your teeth and gums are healthy, you will probably be asked to book another appointment in six or twelve months. If you require further treatment, you may need to book another visit to start a course of treatment or visit the dental hygienist for a thorough clean and polish.
In Between Your Dental Visits
Taking regular trips to the dentist is one of the most important ways to protect the health of your teeth and gums, but the way that you care for them at home will have a huge effect on this. Our recommendations include developing a healthy dental care routine as early as possible, so that good habits are formed while children are very young. Helping children to feel confident about visiting the dentist will be useful to them as they grow up, and will avoid any worries or phobias developing in the future.
Here’s how to create positive dental health habits:
- Don’t neglect brushing. Brushing your teeth should be the core of your dental health routine, and you should brush twice a day, morning and evening, for at least two minutes each time. If you are concerned that you are not managing to brush every surface of each tooth effectively, you should talk to your dentist about your technique and the type of brush you are using. For very young children, it is important to help with brushing, using a small amount of toothpaste and allowing them to get used to the feel of the brush in their mouths. Choose toothbrushes with small heads and ensure that you continue to assist with brushing until children are around six years old, or until you are certain that they are doing a thorough job themselves.
- Floss daily. Flossing is very important, and should be done on a daily basis if possible. Some people prefer dental tape to floss, especially if they have very small gaps between their teeth. Flossing should not hurt, and your dentist can show you the best technique to use.
- Eat well. A good, balanced diet is the key to keeping your body and your teeth strong and healthy. Some foods are particularly good at balancing the acids in your mouth at mealtimes, and we often recommend eating cheese after a meal or snack for this reason. A good range of fresh fruits and vegetables will be of great benefit to your teeth as well as to your general health, and limiting your intake of sugars will really help to maintain a healthy weight and a great smile.
Find A Dentist In Cork
If you feel worried about visiting the dentist, we would encourage you to come and meet our friendly team at the Guiney Dental Clinic, and find out what we can do for you. Our dentists and dental hygienists are experienced in supporting patients who experience anxiety about dental visits, and we have many strategies that can help.
We offer dental care for the whole family, as well as cosmetic dentistry and some surgical procedures, from our dental clinic in Ballincollig, Cork. You can pop in to meet the team and make an appointment, or call us today on 021-481 0535 to discuss your requirements and make an appointment.