Prioritizing our health is a very popular topic for most Americans, particularly at the beginning of the year. We suddenly seem completely ready and able to make up for past lapses. But come about February or March, our bad habits, and all too familiar excuses for why we don’t take better care of ourselves typically tend to get the better of us.
For many people making and keeping our regular dental appointments ranks No. 1 on our healthy living procrastination list. Sometimes we’ll cancel and reschedule, and sometimes we forego it altogether. If you count yourself among that second group, you are not alone. Each year, an estimated 100 million Americans skip their dental exams.
In this blog, Dr. Marcano here at Orlando Center for Cosmetic Dentistry offers seven reasons for scheduling your next dental exam.
At first blush, a dental exam is a thorough checkup and professional cleaning all wrapped in one. Here at Orlando Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, you’ll first see your dental hygienist, who removes any hardened plaque from your teeth before it has the opportunity to spread potentially dangerous bacteria.
Once the plaque is removed, the hygienist polishes your teeth, removing any stains like coffee, wine, or foods. Any former dullness, discoloration, or evidence of a life well-lived is replaced by beautiful, bright clean teeth. But don’t worry if your teeth need extra oomph and TLC for a special event. You can always book an appointment for in-office teeth whitening here at Orlando Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.
What’s particularly beneficial about dental exams is that it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Specifically, when your dental provider is cleaning and removing plaque buildup that you can’t do at home, they are removing what can ultimately lead to gum disease.
During a dental exam, your provider performs a periodontal examination to measure the pockets between your gums and teeth. The goal is to have a tight fit, which indicates no inflammation. Since gum disease is a progressive condition, which at some point is irreversible, knowing where your gum health stands at any given time provides crucial data. Using this crucial information, patients can button up at-home oral care protocols, if needed, to stave off gum disease and the possible consequences of untreated gum disease, such as tooth loss.
A dental exam is also a great way to avoid dental issues like cavities and aging or failing restorations like crowns. Through a physical exam, your dental provider checks for not only obvious signs like breaks or holes in your teeth but also more subtle symptoms like discoloration or tooth enamel damage
But the benefits of dental issues don’t stop at fixing the problems. It’s all in the timing. If you have a habit of putting off your regular dental exams, you risk needlessly allowing a small issue to turn into a big problem – one that typically involves pain and more money to fix, and perhaps even an emergency visit. If you or a loved one ever needed a root canal or extraction you know all too well that avoiding emergency issues is well worth the time and effort.
Another good reason to schedule your next dental exam right away is that every dental exam appointment includes an oral cancer screening. An estimated 54,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral and oropharyngeal cancer each year. Unfortunately, nearly 11,000 won’t survive.
During an oral cancer screening, Dr. Marcano examines your tongue, cheeks, and gums, looking for visible sores or red and white patches. Then with a gloved hand, he feels for lumps or bumps in the mouth tissue. For patients at high risk for oral cancer, Dr. Marcano performs other diagnostics, including using an auto-fluorescent light or a handheld device called a VELScope®, which detects cancerous lesions.
Perhaps the best reason to schedule your dental exam ASAP is that it’s not just about oral health. A 2000 U.S. Surgeon General report and clinical research confirmed a link between gum disease and systemic health issues like stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and pregnancy complications. Some diseases have oral symptoms such as mouth ulcers, dry mouth, and gum disorders.
If it’s been a while since your last dental exam, contact us at Orlando Center For Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule an appointment. Click the online booking tool or call the office today at 407-269-5024.