What’s the worst that can happen if I skip my dental exams and cleanings?
Dental exams and cleanings are intended to keep your gums and teeth clean and healthy, which will, in turn, help you avoid paying for costly dental procedures in the future. If you don’t get professional cleanings, bacteria in your mouth will buildup as calculus, releasing acids that inflame the gums, erode tooth enamel, cause tooth decay, stain your teeth, cause bad breath, and even lead to tooth loss. While all these problems can be treated, it would be an expensive and time-consuming process compared to simply preventing them with a 45-minute dental appointment. Moreover, dental exams help to detect the early stages of problems, including chips, gum disease, cavities, and even oral cancer, so you can start interventions early to prevent them from getting worse or even reverse them.
What does the ADA (American Dental Association) recommend regarding routine dental care?
Routine dental care comprises preventive things that you should do to ensure optimal health for your teeth and gums. The ADA recommends that you:
- Brush your teeth daily at least twice using an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between your teeth every day using floss or an interdental cleaner
- Get a new toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if you suffer an oral illness
- Maintain a well-balanced diet and reduce the intake of sugary items and drinks, and snacks between meals
- Visit your dentist regularly for oral exams and professional cleanings
What questions are the most common during routine dental care?
Dental consultations provide a good opportunity for you to learn more about caring for your teeth and gums. You may consider asking:
- Which toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, or other product should I use for my teeth?
- Based on your examination and my dental/medical history, what is my ideal interval for cleanings?
- What dental diseases am I prone to if any? Why? What can I do to reduce this risk?