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Everyone at the office is very friendly and helpful, and the technicians are great. I feel like Westerville Dental is very much on top of the latest screening and monitoring techniques, and I really appreciate the thoroughness of the appointments in terms of measuring gum health as well as tooth health. I chose this place when I moved down here based on the good reviews, and I haven't been disappointed.
So professional AND friendly. I know that I am getting the best care for my whole family. Plus, the waiting area is beautiful and comfortable--like a living room!--with a special area for young ones to read and draw on the chalk boards.
So glad I found this office when I moved back to Ohio. I’ve had so many bad experiences at the dentist, this place is understanding and open to my questions, they explain everything and it really seems like they care. They also have an open and inviting waiting room that is beautiful.
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If you are one of the 100 million Americans who skip yearly dental exams, you may be putting your smile at risk. Brushing twice a day and flossing once daily helps keep your teeth and gums healthy, but they are only part of a complete dental hygiene routine – to keep your smile at its best, you need regular dental care and dental hygiene exams.
Why is a Dental Hygiene Exam Important?
During a dental hygiene exam, our team at Westerville Dental Associates examines your teeth and gums for signs of oral health problems, such as gum disease and cavities. If your dentist finds signs of gum disease, they may recommend a professional cleaning to remove plaque.
Gum disease is a common condition, but it can have serious consequences. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is primarily the result of infection and inflammation of the gums and tissue that support the teeth. In its early stage, gingivitis, the gums may become red and swollen; gums may bleed. As it progresses into the later stage of periodontitis, the gums may pull away from the bone. In this stage, you can lose bone and your teeth may become loose – your teeth may even fall out.
Tooth decay, also known as cavities or dental caries, involves the loss of the tough enamel coating of the teeth. Tiny holes and openings may develop, allowing bacteria to cause infections deep inside the tooth. Cavities can cause pain, headaches, infections, and tooth loss.
How Often Should I Have a Dental Hygiene Exam?
As a general rule of thumb, you should have a dental hygiene exam twice a year. Biannual dental hygiene care gives our team of dentists an opportunity to check your teeth and gums for signs of cavities, gingivitis, and other dental problems.
The necessity for twice yearly dental hygiene exams is not clear cut – a well-respected 2013 study found that, while prevention reduces the loss of teeth, there was little evidence that getting preventive care twice a year was necessary for all adults. Instead, the research results suggested that the frequency of dental hygiene visits and other preventive services should be tailored to the patients’ individual risks for periodontal disease. Going to the dentist once a year was enough to prevent tooth loss in patients at low risk, for example, and the added visit provided no significant benefit. However, people with more than one risk factor may need more than two dental hygiene exams each year.
Based on this evidence, the American Dental Association says that some people need to visit their dentist twice a year while others may need more frequent visits. This is because every person is unique, with individual needs when it comes to dental hygiene and dental care – they also have different levels of risk for periodontal disease.
The frequency of your dental hygiene exams depends on your risk for periodontal disease
If you have zero risk factors for periodontal disease, one dental hygiene exam each year may be enough. Having two or more risk factors may make you a good candidate for biannual dental visits.
Major risk factors for periodontal disease include:
- Age – older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease; more than 70 percent of people over the age of 65 have some form of periodontal disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Smoking or other tobacco use – people who smoke are more likely to produce bacteria-rich plaque; smoking can also cause a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, which prevents infected gums from healing
- Genetics – some people may inherit genes that make them more susceptible to gum disease; these individuals may develop periodontal disease, despite their best dental hygiene efforts
- Stress – psychological stress can wear down your immune system, which gives the bacteria in your mouth an opportunity to infect your gums
- Medications – oral contraceptives, antidepressants, certain heart medications, and other medications can affect your oral health
- Grinding or clenching your teeth – Grinding or clenching your teeth puts excess pressure on the tissues that support your teeth, and this pressure could accelerate damage to your periodontal tissue
- Other health conditions – systemic diseases that interfere with the body’s inflammatory system, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, can worsen the condition of your gums
- Poor nutrition – a diet low in nutrition can make it harder for your body to fight off all types of infections, including gum infections
- Obesity – research shows that people who are obese have more periodontal disease than do those of normal weight
For more information about how often you should schedule a dental hygiene exam, consult with our team of dentists at Westerville Dental Associates. Our team of dentists can determine the frequency at which you should have this important exam. We are glad to keep your teeth and gums healthy!