Did you know that many oral health conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease can be prevented with regular checkups and cleanings? Preventative dentistry involves addressing potential dental health concerns before they evolve into conditions that require treatment such as restorations. By visiting our dentist every six months, you can take control of your oral health and reduce the likelihood of developing conditions that need costly and time-consuming treatment.
The Importance of Routine Cleanings and Checkups
When brushing and flossing your teeth, your goal is to remove as much plaque as possible. Plaque is a thin, sticky film of bacteria that have colonized and coated the teeth and gums. Proper brushing and flossing can remove most plaque; however, some plaque can be left behind—especially if patients are not practicing meticulous oral hygiene.
When plaque is left behind, it will harden into tartar when it is exposed to calculus deposits. This process can occur in as little as two days. Once plaque has hardened into tartar, it cannot be removed with brushing and flossing alone. This is why professional dental cleanings are so important for maintaining a clean, healthy mouth. During cleanings, our dental hygienists will gently remove tartar by scraping it away with special handheld tools. Receiving a dental cleaning is a quick, non-invasive treatment that can ward off gum disease and tooth decay.
In addition to cleanings, checkups provide another level of protection against tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. During examinations, our dentist uses X-ray technology and other diagnostic tools to evaluate the health of the entire oral cavity. Dr. Buchanan will look for signs of enamel loss (the protective layer around teeth that prevents decay) along with monitoring the health of soft tissues and structures below the gum line such as the roots of teeth and jaws. For example, detecting enamel loss can help prevent the formation of a cavity. When enamel is lost, our dentist may provide a fluoride treatment to strengthen the tooth. Detecting conditions early on—especially oral cancer—can provide peace of mind to patients and reduce the need for invasive procedures in the future.