We select one dentistry-related question from our Instagram page every Friday and give you our no-BS answers.
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Week 5- Why should I see the dentist regularly?
When I was a dentist in the Air Force, my military patients were required to have a dental exam at least once a year, or else they would end up on the Commander’s “naughty list” of people overdue for important health check-ups. So, in order to avoid being highlighted to The Boss as dentally delinquent, my patients in the military faithfully came to the base’s dental clinic to receive their dental exams and cleanings on a regular basis.
There were a lot of things I loved about that military structure. Regularly seeing my patients at the clinic meant that I got to catch up on their life developments- I got to see them get promoted, become engaged, or be selected for a coveted training. Similarly, I got to keep track of their dental health. Regular checks allowed me the opportunity to help patients prevent health problems or catch and fix small problems early on.
As Benjamin Franklin wisely once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Although he was talking about preventing fires in the 1700s, what he said still perfectly applies to two of the most common dental problems: cavities and gum disease. These two common culprits in the dental world are good examples of how avoiding regular dental visits can cost you more in the long run.
Cavities. Did you know that cavities don’t always hurt? Getting a dental exam regularly is important, because we are able to help you catch any small developing cavities before they grow big enough to cause discomfort or require a filling. When a cavity is small enough, it may be reversible through a filling-free and pain-free process called enamel remineralization.
Gum disease. This term is kind of misleading, because most people think of gum disease as just puffy red gums. What this term doesn’t capture is that gum disease can also include the destruction of bone surrounding your teeth. With enough bone loss, teeth can become loose and fall out. So, when I am doing your cleaning, I’m not just clearing off tooth gunk- my goal is to help you prevent bone and tooth loss. Preventing gum disease is easier than trying to cure it, as more severe cases can require more aggressive and more expensive treatments like deep cleanings or gum surgery to save the teeth.
I know that my private practice patients may have some additional barriers to seeing a dentist regularly compared to my Air Force patients. You don’t have a team of military folk keeping tabs on you and making sure you see the dentist regularly. You may be filled with dread thinking about making an appointment, due to past experiences or out-of-pocket costs.
So come on by to Comfydent Smiles, and let’s talk about whatever barriers you may have and how we can help you break past them. You’ll get to view all your teeth in 3D with me on our digital scanner, and I’ll walk you through your x-rays. You can lean back in our cushy massage chairs and watch your favorite show on our ceiling-mounted TV. You can ask whatever questions you want without feeling rushed or judged. I want to make it easy for you to come in regularly, avoid preventable problems, and have me as your partner in achieving your best dental self.