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Why Should I Schedule Regular Dental Exams?
Having a dental exam every six months can ward off dental diseases or at the very least, stop them from becoming major problems. While having a small cavity filled isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, it is a virtually painless, inexpensive, and quick procedure. If you don’t get routine exams, you won’t feel any pain until the decay reaches the pulp of your tooth. When it does, you will be in severe pain and in need of a root canal. It is always more cost effective to take care of your natural teeth than it is to replace them. When you have a dental exam, your dentist will look for:
- Fractured or chipped teeth
- Worn teeth
- Loose or cracked fillings
- A bad bite
- Gum disease
- Oral cancer
After your dental exam, your dentist will tell you what he or she found in easy-to-understand terms. Our goal is to make your exam a pleasant experience so you will schedule regular exams and take charge of your oral health. If you have not had an exam in a very long time, do not worry. We don’t lecture patients. We look forward to meeting you once you schedule your dental exam in The Village of Cross Keys.
Where Can I Get a Dental Cleaning and Gum Disease Treatment?
The Academy of General Dentistry recommends that you have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. Most of our patients have theirs cleaned before their routine exam. A teeth cleaning, also called a dental prophylaxis, removes plaque and tartar (calculus) that can cause decay and gum disease. During the cleaning, your dental hygienist will use special instruments to remove plaque and tartar. Next, he or she will polish your teeth with a special gritty paste that removes minor stains. Finally, your hygienist will floss your teeth. He or she may also suggest a fluoride treatment. Cleanings usually take one hour; this leaves the hygienist time to go over your oral hygiene habits and make suggestions if he or she sees you’ve missed areas of your mouth.
There are two types of gum disease; gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis makes your gums bleed easily, they also are bright red instead of a healthy pink color. If you come to us for gingivitis treatment, our dentist will suggest a dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene habits. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease, where your gums pull away from your teeth. If you don’t seek periodontal treatment, your teeth may become loose and eventually fall out. We offer multiple treatments for periodontal disease based on how far it has progressed. If you have periodontal disease, please call our office to learn more about the treatments we offer.
How Can Dentists Cure Bad Breath?
There are plenty of products you can buy offering fresh breath, but these are not cures. These products are good for covering up bad breath if you’ve eaten garlic or onions, but only a dentist can treat the root cause of constant bad breath. Your dentist will look at your oral hygiene first; poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of bad breath. It is easily remedied with a dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene. Your dentist may suggest brushing your tongue along with your teeth or using a tongue scraper. Other causes of foul-smelling breath include gum disease and large cavities that harbor plaque. Loose fillings can also trap odor-causing plaque. Smoking also causes bad breath; your dentist will urge you to quit. If you have bad breath, please call our office. We will schedule an appointment for you with one of our dentists. Don’t feel embarrassed about asking for help; up to 25 percent of all adults suffer from bad breath.
Why Do Dentists Recommend Oral Cancer Screenings for Adults?
We include an oral cancer screening in an adult patient’s dental exam to detect cancerous lesions at an early stage when they are the easiest to remove. The survival rate for patients who have their oral cancer caught early is much higher than the survival rate of patients who had their cancer diagnosed in a later stage. A thorough screening only takes a few minutes. Your dentist will visually inspect your mouth and feel for lumps. Do not worry about having a screening; it does not mean your dentist suspects oral cancer. While traditionally older men who use tobacco had the highest risk of developing oral cancer, the fastest growing segment of newly diagnosed individuals are young, non-smoking adults. We urge all adults over age 18 to get screened at least once a year.
Phone our office to set up an appointment for a dental exam in The Village of Cross Keys that includes a screening for oral cancer. We welcome new patients.