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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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Everything in life requires upkeep, from your home to your car to your wardrobe to yourself. So, you have regular times when you “check them out.” Your home when your family’s coming for the holidays. Your car when the dashboard says, “oil change required.” Your wardrobe when you notice a button missing. And yourself when you see your family physician annually. Your teeth and mouth are no different.
No matter how old you are, your oral health is important not just for a sparkly smile, but also for your overall health. Problems with your mouth and teeth can lead to other health problems. Several diseases and medical conditions actually have symptoms that show up in your mouth. And you might not know until it’s too late to correct things. When you see your dentist regularly, problems can be spotted early on when they can be handled simply and affordably. A checkup will also often uncover an irregularity that can be fixed, therefore preventing a problem from developing at all.
What Happens in a Dental Checkup?
Chances are, you’ve had a few dental checkups already. If you’re like most of us, you see it as an extra thorough cleaning and a check for cavities. Occasionally, your mouth is x-rayed. And if you’re taking care of your teeth, you probably haven’t had a cavity since you were a kid. So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is all the things your dentist has been doing that you haven’t really noticed.
In addition to the thorough cleaning your dental hygienist does and the x-rays you get, your dentist is probably examining places and things you never even notice;
- the health of your gums and jaw,
- the rightness of your bite,
- even whether you’re showing evidence of cancer, diabetes, or vitamin deficiencies.
And the cleaning your dental hygienist gives you? It’s more than an extra thorough brush and floss. It gets rid of the major causes of tooth decay: plaque and tartar that build up on your teeth even if you brush and floss conscientiously. And by checking the depth of the pockets around your teeth, the hygienist can tell if you’re in danger from gum disease or heading toward to loss of a tooth.
It’s a busy visit. And an important one.
What Does a Dentist Check for at My Regular Visit?
You already know your dentist is checking for cavities. But maybe you haven’t had a new one since you were 12, or have never had one, so why bother? Well, it’s probably because of your regular checkups that your teeth and mouth are so healthy. But there’s more to oral health than avoiding cavities, and that’s why you need to see your dentist twice a year, cavities or no cavities.
If plaque and tartar aren’t cleared away regularly, they can lead to gum disease, which is an infection in the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Such an infection causes the gum to pull away from the tooth and that lets in even more bacteria. Left untreated, a gum infection — officially called gingivitis — breaks down the tissue that’s attaching the gum to your tooth. By that time, you will have noticed swelling, soreness, even bleeding around your gums.
Eventually, if the infection continues, the bone your tooth is set in can erode. When this happens, teeth become loose and often fall out completely. You’ll need a specialist called a periodontist, who will order a below-the-gum line cleaning and maybe even surgery. Regular checkups are essential to catching gum problems before they get too far.
You may wonder if all the fuss over x-rays is really necessary, especially every year. Could your mouth really change all that much? The answer is yes, and you might not even notice the change. Dental x-rays reveal what neither you nor your dentist can see, and some of those things can cause serious problems, such as tooth loss and pain.
Impacted teeth — wisdom teeth, for example — that are growing in your jaw but can’t erupt through the gum line because of blockage. Damage to your jawbone, such as bone decay or a tumor, which could be happening for a long time without causing symptoms you’d feel. And like cavities and gum disease, catching such problems early makes them easier to fix and less costly — in money, inconvenience, and comfort.
Cancer is a word no one wants to hear. Especially if it’s been festering out of sight until it’s too far gone to be eradicated. Cancer of the mouth — oral cancer — is no different, and just as deadly. In fact, the National Institutes of Health state that oral cancer accounts for roughly 3% of all cancers diagnosed annually in the United States, or about 53,000 new cases each year.
Without a dental checkup that includes an examination specifically aimed at detecting such cancer, oral cancer could go undetected until it’s life-threatening. At Westerville Dental Associates, we’re trained to recognize signs and symptoms of oral cancer, and with regular checkups it’s likely to be detected in its early stages when treatment can be successful.
Other Conditions and Bad Habits
Of course, there are other conditions that your dentist can help you with at a checkup. We can teach you the best way to care for your teeth and mouth, help you break any habits that could be causing you problems, even alert you to problems that have nothing to do with your teeth by checking your throat and lymph nodes for anything suspect.
So, are checkups worth it? We hope you think so! If you do, we’d like to hear from you. Contact us soon to begin, or continue, your regular professional care.