Why is a Dental Health Checkup So Important?

General Dentistry in Reston VirginiaMany people only go to the dentist when they’ve got a problem with their teeth. Unless they’re feeling pain from their teeth, they just assume everything is ok in their mouth. However, even a  patient who has committed to brushing and flossing regularly as recommended by the ADA and the dentists at Ridgetop Dental in Reston VA — that’s brushing twice daily and flossing at least once daily, in case you weren’t sure — needs help preventing small dental problems from becoming bigger ones. For this reason, a regular check-up with your Ridgetop Dental dentist is important because they help keep your teeth and gums healthy. You should have a regular dental visit at least every 6 months or as often recommended by your Ridgetop Dental dentist.

Dental Health Checkup in Reston VA

There are two parts to a regular dental visit – the check up, or examination, and the cleaning. At the your check up, your Ridgetop Dental dentist will check for cavities, take X-rays to detect cavities between your teeth and check for plaque and tartar on your teeth. Plaque is a clear, sticky layer of bacteria formed by sugars breaking down in our mouths combining with other food particles. Brushing and flossing are your first defense against this, however, sometimes it simply isn’t possible to get it all yourself.

If plaque is not removed, it hardens and become tartar, which is the first stage of tooth decay. Tartar cannot be removed with brushing and flossing. If plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, they can cause oral diseases. Some of these oral diseases can lead to problems that affect your entire body if not treated promptly.

Preventing Gum Disease

Your gums will also be checked with a special tool to measure the depth of the spaces between your teeth and gums. When gums are healthy, the spaces are shallow. But when patients have gum disease, the spaces may become deeper, providing more places for bacteria to gather and form plaque and eventually tartar.

Flossing, in addition to brushing twice daily, is the first step to prevent this. However, gum disease can be painless and the changes can be hard to detect by an untrained eye. Gum disease can lead to tooth and bone loss as well as other diseases of the body and mind such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. This is another reason that regular dental checkups are important.  

Your check-up should also include an examination of your tongue, throat, face, head, and neck for any swelling or redness which could be signs of throat or mouth cancer.

Professional Teeth Cleaning

At your visit your teeth will also be professionally cleaned by an Ridgetop Dental hygienist. While brushing and flossing are crucial to help clean the plaque from your teeth, they can’t remove tartar. Your hygienist will use special tools to skillfully scrape the tartar that has formed in the hard to reach places on your teeth, usually at the bases, just below the gumline and in between your teeth. This process is called scaling.

After your teeth are scaled, they may be polished using a gritty professional grade toothpaste to remove any surface stains on your teeth. Finally, your dental professional will use floss to make sure the spaces between your teeth are clean.

It is recommended to attend dental checkups every 6 months to keep ahead of any issues that may be arising. Scheduling and keeping checkups with your dentist is essential to maintaining good oral health and will help you avoid potentially uncomfortable and expensive procedures. If you’re in or near the Reston VA area and need a checkup, call our office today at (571) 313-7010 or schedule an examination online.