My Teeth Feel Fine, Do I Really Need to See a Dentist?
Trust us, we know we’re not first on your list of “people to see.” You’ll see us when that tooth of yours hurts, or when you’ve had an accident and need some repair done to your smile. Some of you, of course, are diligent, returning at least every six months for an exam and to say hello to the team that keeps your mouth healthy. But did you know it’s not just you’re mouth we’re taking care of when you come in to see us? We’re also on the hunt for other health concerns that affect much more than your smile; these illnesses can affect your life. This is what we’re looking for when it comes to your preventative maintenance:
Cancer: If you’ve successfully rationalized not going to the dentist for years, or take a certain degree of pride in skipping your semi-annual visit, the results of a study of oral cancer patients may help you refocus. That study found that “decreasing dental check frequencies (more than 12 months) may significantly increase the stage and size of tumors at diagnosis.” That’s important. If plaque and gingivitis don’t motivate you, perhaps catching oral cancer early is.
Diabetes: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States – 8.3% of the population – have diabetes. And not too far behind those 25.8 million are the estimated 79 million Americans with prediabetes. Excessive tooth decay, gingivitis, fungal infections and a loss of taste sensation can all point to diabetes. An observant dentist will notice these concerns, and perhaps suggest a test for diabetes. Again, catching this disease early is critical to long-term health.
Beauty: We all like to be seen as beautiful – yes, even men (handsome is just a manly word for beautiful, after all.) And, whether you believe it or not, others do notice the plaque on your teeth, the redness of your gums, and, of course, foul-breath. Regular visits to the dentist help to keep the mouth clean, helping you to avoid the advancement of these troubles into periodontal disease and all the fun that can come with that – including tooth loss, surgery and gum grafts. Nobody wants that. And, bad breath – well, that’s just gross in and of itself!
In some ways, it’s helpful to consider a visit to the dentist as similar to a visit to the car dealership for your automobile tune-up. Each visit involves an oil change, but it also involves a check of many other systems that tie into the safety of your vehicle. The same is true when visiting the dentist. So, keep those regular appointments – allow us to do the thorough inspection of your mouth that as dentists we’re trained to do. So, come see us at least twice a year. We’ll help you catch big and small problems early, while they’re at a manageable stage of development, and often, before you’re even symptomatic.