Although you might think you only need to visit the dentist when you have a toothache, the best way to avoid toothaches is to book your regular professional dental cleanings. Having your teeth cleaned professionally twice a year is the best way to maintain good oral and overall health. You might not realize your mouth is intricately connected to the rest of the body and plays a crucial role in a properly functioning system. Here we look at the importance of regular dental cleanings to optimize oral and overall health.
The fewer dental cleaning appointments you have, the more likely you will develop serious dental issues. A periapical abscess is an infection that starts with a cavity. If the cavity remains untreated, it can become deeper and larger, increasing the risk of infection that causes a tooth abscess. When tooth abscess is not treated, it leads to a periapical abscess which can be deadly.
The idea of “dying” of a cavity might seem ludicrous, but severe tooth decay is a common cause of emergency room visits. When you have your teeth cleaned twice a year, you reduce tooth decay risk and detect decay in the early stages, so abscess is avoided.
If you are a parent, children should have their teeth cleaned twice a year to avoid the risk of tooth decay in their baby teeth. Although you might not think a cavity in a baby tooth is troublesome, baby teeth can also develop abscesses and lead to a periapical abscess if not treated. It can also lead to painful deep cavities, cause other types of oral infections, or require costly root canal treatment.
Cavities And Infection
Cavities are not typical and require treatment as soon as possible. Because some cavities are not painful, especially in the early stages, you might not realize you need a filling. At your regular cleaning appointments, the hygienist looks for signs of decay and will be able to book an appointment for your filling. As mentioned above, this is the best way to avoid emergencies due to pain and infections. Infections can get into the bloodstream from the pulp, nerve, or gums. While this might not seem serious, if the infection spreads to the organs or brain, it becomes life-threatening.
As mentioned above, not all oral health issues cause pain or discomfort. As a result, you might not consider calling the dentist for an appointment. Meanwhile, your cavity or early stages of gum disease go unnoticed for weeks, months, or even years. Once the pain sets in, it can often be too late to save your tooth. As well, gum disease can progress to the point of tooth loss or infection. It’s never a good idea to let pain be the only reason you see your dentist. Instead, your biannual dental cleanings provide early intervention before pain or infection.
Poor oral health can lead to poor overall health. For example, gum disease is linked to severe health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. Dentists often detect undiagnosed type 2 adult-onset diabetes based on symptoms such as bad breath, dry mouth, thrush, or issues with your tongue. Also, progressive gum disease is often caused by uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. Dental cleanings and checkups also include an oral cancer screening for early detection to set you on the path to treatment.
Help Existing Dental Work Last Longer
Dental work is costly and intended to last at least ten years. If you don’t book your regular dental cleanings, your dentist won’t be able to check on the condition of your existing dental work. This is a problem as issues such as poor fitting appliances, loosened cavities or crowns, or cracks or damage to veneers can all lead to pain or serious infections. From a cosmetic standpoint, you don’t want to be caught with a lost crown or bridge, especially if it is visible when you smile.
Reduce The Risk Of Gum Disease
We’ve mentioned your gums a few times here, but let’s look at how gum disease progresses. Gingivitis is the earliest stage and, when caught right away, is corrected with an improved oral health regime. Once your gingivitis is allowed to progress, it starts to impact your gums in very serious ways. Early Periodontitis is the next stage, with gums becoming noticeably inflamed, forming deep pockets and spaces between your teeth and gums.
Next, the inflammation becomes severe and spreads throughout your entire mouth, causing your teeth to loosen, further gum recession, and even early bone loss. Finally, advanced periodontitis means certain tooth loss, as well as painful abscesses caused by spreading infection beneath the gums. All these painful symptoms can be avoided by scheduling your dental cleanings.
Avoid Cosmetic Dental Issues
If you love the idea of a straight white smile, avoiding dental cleanings is not the way to go. Your teeth will become discoloured, with a noticeable yellow, brown, or gray tone. This is caused by enamel erosion that slowly exposes the yellow dentin below. You are also at risk of infections that lead to root canals, deep cavities that require crowns, or even tooth loss. Lost teeth lead to issues with shifting teeth as they fall back into the gap. Professional dental cleanings remove stains and help keep your teeth healthy and white.
Regular Dental Cleanings Reduce Your Overall Dental Costs
If money is keeping you from scheduling regular dental cleanings, consider this. While your dental cleanings are usually well under $500 per year, early detection is the only way to avoid thousands of dollars in costly treatments required due to poor oral health. This includes:
- Teeth whitening to combat stains
- Fillings and root canals
- Crowns for deep cavities or root canals
- Bridges or implants for lost teeth
- Periodontal treatments for gum disease
- Gum surgery
You are looking at hundreds versus thousands of dollars when you keep up with two dental cleaning visits a year.