If you aren’t having any adverse symptoms when it comes to your oral health, you might wonder why keeping up with those regular dental exams are so important. After all, if you brush and floss every day, your teeth should be fine, right?
While it’s easy to make this assumption, the truth is a bit more complicated. Even with the most thorough of oral care routines, plaque and bacteria can still build up in hard-to-reach places in your oral cavity.
In addition, dentists are trained professionals with years of experience and can spot many oral health problems that patients can’t see on their own, which can help prevent issues that can lead to more extensive restorative work down the line.
So why exactly is getting your teeth examined by your dentist in Asheville so important to your oral health? Here are the top reasons you should never skip those regular exams!
Prevent Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is a problem affecting both adults and children. While getting a cavity filled is a common treatment, it’s not normal for teeth to experience decay. Ideally, you’d want to prevent your teeth from rotting if at all possible.
Unfortunately, early tooth decay doesn’t show many symptoms. Some people might experience some tooth sensitivity, but generally, by the time there is any pain or discomfort, the cavity has progressed to the point that the tooth either needs a filling, a root canal, or an extraction.
Regular dental visits that include teeth cleanings can help prevent tooth decay and give your Asheville dentist a chance to spot cavities early. Tooth decay happens in stages, and the very early stages may even be able to be reversed with fluoride treatments rather than more invasive routes such as a filling or root canal therapy.
Spot Gum Disease Early
Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease involving gum inflammation, may not show noticeable symptoms, similar to tooth decay. Some people may notice gum tenderness or bleeding, but for others, these are symptoms that won’t show themselves until the condition has progressed to full-blown periodontal disease.
Those dental exams with your dentist can identify and remove any plaque and tartar that have accumulated around your gumline that would otherwise increase your risk for gum disease. Even when cleaning your teeth and gums at home, it’s not possible to remove every trace of plaque from every surface of your teeth like a professional teeth cleaning can do.
Like tooth decay, gum disease can be reversed if caught early, and is generally much easier to treat in its beginning stages than it is once it’s progressed. At the early stages, a deep cleaning may be all that’s necessary to reverse the problem, but at its advanced stages, you may need antibiotic therapy or even a bone or gum tissue graft to restore your smile.
Identify Evidence of Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is when you grind your teeth either while awake or asleep. Your teeth are meant to chew food, not to grind or clench against each other, and the force exerted on the teeth during bruxism can be hugely damaging to your oral health.
When the teeth clench or grind in bruxism, it can wear away tooth enamel over time and put enormous pressure on the tooth’s roots, causing inflammation which can even lead to loose teeth and tooth loss if left untreated.
There are many causes of teeth grinding, including misaligned teeth or an improper bite. During your dental examination with Dr. Saunders, he can identify whether or not you grind your teeth as well as work with you to identify the underlying cause and put a treatment plan in place.
Preventing damage from bruxism can keep your smile free of the many issues it can cause, including tooth sensitivity and fractured teeth that can permanently affect your smile.
Get an Oral Cancer Screening
During your regular dental exam, you can also get an oral cancer screening. Oral cancer screenings are recommended annually starting at age 18. If you smoke or use tobacco, your dentist may recommend the screenings more frequently.
Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth, tongue, and throat. Over 50,000 people are diagnosed with some type of oral cancer every year, and like many types of cancer, oral cancers have greater treatment success when caught early.
Your Asheville dentist will conduct a simple physical exam of your oral cavity to look for any abnormalities during your oral cancer screening, including lesions, white or red patches in the mouth, or unusual lumps in your face. The screening is quick and painless, and if anything unusual is found, Dr. Saunders can refer you to a specialist for further testing and treatment.
Keep Your Teeth Stain-Free With Professional Cleanings
Tooth enamel, while being the toughest substance in the human body, is actually porous. As a result, the color of your teeth can be influenced by what you eat or drink, with the top offenders for teeth staining being red wine, coffee, and tea.
While brushing your teeth regularly at home can help remove some of these stains, a professional teeth cleaning at your dentist’s office will give you a deep clean and polish your teeth, removing surface stains that can accumulate in the months between your cleanings.
Regularly removing surface stains through the cleaning and polishing process can help keep your teeth white without a professional teeth whitening, although if you’d prefer an even brighter smile, we offer in-office whitening services to improve your smile even more.
How Often Do You Need to See the Dentist?
Every patient is unique and has unique oral health needs. Generally, exams and cleanings are recommended every six months. However, based on your individual oral health, Dr. Saunders may recommend that you come in more or less often to properly maintain your smile and prevent oral health issues.
Preventative Care at Its Best
At Saunders DDS, we focus on preventing common issues with your smile during your regular exams and cleanings with us for a beautiful and healthy smile for life. We offer family-friendly dental care in the Asheville area to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and teeth staining that can prevent you from looking and feeling your best. Call us today to schedule an appointment at (828) 277-6060, or request an appointment online!