Over 100 million Americans don’t think they need to visit the dentist even once a year and they get into big trouble as a result. If you do have a dental exam twice a year, as recommended by the American Dental Association, and brush and floss daily, you probably haven’t had a cavity in many years and may feel you don’t need to do more.
But if you have never had a professional cleaning or dental exam by your dental hygienist, that should be at the top of your oral health priorities. Even those who are most diligent about brushing for two minutes after breakfast and dinner and flossing before going to sleep would benefit from this type of cleaning at least once a year. Your good habits and genetic disposition to excellent oral health thus far will probably not be adequate to the often subtle damage to your gums and teeth that builds up over time.
A dental hygienist has a tool to test for deep pockets of infection that need to be cleaned out before you develop serious periodontal disease. This starts as gingivitis, when bacteria turn tiny particles of food that have not been removed into a sticky film called plaque that gradually peels away the support of the gums around a tooth. Your gums will start to bleed when you brush as it progresses. Unless the hygienist scrapes off the plaque, it will turn into hardened tartar that is much harder to remove. She can also inject an antibiotic solution if infection around any tooth is advanced.
If a regular professional cleaning is not done, the first tooth that falls out or is so loose that it needs to be removed will cause the neighboring teeth to lean towards the gap and then they also become loose. Even 69% of Americans ages 35-44 have already lost one tooth, while 26% of those 75 or older no longer have any teeth. To avoid this chain reaction, a dental implant or a bridge will be necessary.
A periodontal infection can also go into the jawbone without any symptoms and can only be revealed by a low-radiation digital x-ray, which is wise to have done once a year. If this is not dealt with early on, you could require a bone graft to even qualify to have an implant or bridge placed.
If it is past time to have a professional dental cleaning, don’t procrastinate, call today to set an appointment.