Dental Checkups: Are They Really That Important?

  • May 1, 2016

Dental Checkups: Are They Really That Important?

Let’s face it: we’re not all good about going to the dentist regularly. In fact, only about 65 percent of Americans get a regular cleaning and exam, which is a far lower number than we’d like to see at our Virginia Beach office.

There are plenty of reasons that people avoid going to the dentist regularly – shame, embarrassment, fear of pain – but the overwhelming reason seems to be as simple as not thinking it’s that important. If you’re guilty of not seeing the dentist twice a year we have news for you: dental cleanings and exams are essential to good oral health!

Your Mouth: How It Really Works

It’s a startling fact, but we each have over 300 strains of bacteria in our mouths, and not everyone has the same kinds. There are countless types of oral bacteria that make up what we call the oral microbiome – it’s almost like a whole universe inside there!

Some of that bacteria is relatively harmless – it just lives out its lifecycle in your mouth, never causing anyone any real trouble. The nasty kind, however, is quite nasty. It’s these bad bacteria that are responsible for the creation of cavities and gum disease, but they can’t do it alone.

Oral bacteria, both good and bad, forms on your teeth as plaque. The sticky white layer that you brush off your teeth twice a day is actually nothing but masses of bacteria, and all of them are hungry for the sugar that’s present in most food you eat. When harmful bacteria metabolizes that sugar it creates acids that wear away your enamel and irritate your gums. Those first steps are the beginnings of tooth decay and gum disease.

Daily Cleaning Rituals: Not Enough!

If you’re doing everything right you’re brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing every evening. That’s enough to make your mouth feel clean and healthy, and in most cases it will prevent the growth of obvious cavities and gum disease.

Brushing and flossing aren’t enough to truly eliminate your risks of oral health problems, unfortunately. There are areas in your mouth that are nearly impossible to keep clean at home, and problems can form where you have absolutely no chance of detecting them.

Even the most diligent of brushers can find themselves with a cavity – over 90 percent of adults will get one in their lifetimes. The odds are good that you won’t be able to do all you need for a healthy, lifelong smile.

The Difference Professional Care Makes

When you come to our Virginia Beach dentist office we’re able to check every nook and cranny for potential problems. We use state-of-the-art digital imaging techniques to see deep inside your mouth to detect signs of cavities and gum disease before they require expensive restorative procedures, saving you time and money!

We use intraoral cameras to get sharp, highly visible pictures of the deepest corners of your mouth. This allows you to see what’s going on and helps us plan more effective treatments for even the most complicated problems. We also screen for oral cancer at every visit. This often overlooked form of cancer is deadly, but with early detection we can vastly increase survival rates for our patients.

Our cleanings involve not only removing bacteria, plaque, and tartar from your teeth, but also taking preventive steps to keep you healthy between visits. Fluoride treatments rebuild lost enamel, something that every single one of us faces. Brushing and flossing can keep plaque under control, but acids still erode your teeth during the day.

Dental sealants are another great preventive measure for the most vulnerable parts of your teeth: the chewing surfaces of your molars. The deep pits and grooves on your back teeth are especially prone to decay, so we use a composite material to seal them off. It’s fast, simple, and can be done during a regular appointment.

Prevention: It’s The Biggest Part Of Dentistry

Has a routine dental visit left you wondering what good it was? If so, then your dental health is right where it needs to be. Twice annual cleanings and exams are designed to be preventive measures that keep your teeth healthy, so in the best case scenario we’d just give you a clean bill of health and send you out the door!

Things aren’t always that simple, though, which is why we need to see you twice a year. Only with proper professional care that prevents problems and catches them early can you hope to keep your teeth for life.

Do your smile a favor and give the office of J. Wesley Anderson, DDS, a call! You can reach us at 757-932-6856 or you can request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon!


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