Dentist in Hamilton, ON explains why you need regular dental checkups
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that children and adults see their dentist every six months for a cleaning and full dental examination. However, why do you need regular checkups? Dr. Karen Ho, a Hamilton, ON area dentist, can help patients understand the importance of routine evaluations at her practice, Dentistry on Parkdale.
What happens at a dental visit?
During a visit to the dentist, patients will experience two critical parts of their checkup: the examination and the cleaning.
The checkup is the point during which the dentist will evaluate the teeth and check for signs of periodontal disease and tooth decay. A dental hygienist may also take you to have x-rays completed of your teeth. This allows the dentist to see if cavities are forming within the teeth, if there is infection present, and to monitor the growth and development of the smile over time. This is especially important for children while their smile is changing dramatically over the first decade. When the teeth and gums have been evaluated, the dentist may examine other areas of the mouth to screen for possible signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer may be prevalent anywhere in the oral cavity, including the tongue, throat, neck, and face. Symptoms of trouble, such as swelling and inflammation, will also be evaluated to give patients a proper diagnosis.
The other part of the routine dental visit is cleaning. A dental hygienist performs cleaning of the teeth. He or she will check for tartar, which can only be removed with professional assistance. Plaque, a layer of sticky bacteria, may also be present on the teeth and will be addressed. Plaque, when it hardens, will develop into tartar. Scaling is the only way to remove tartar from the surfaces of the teeth. The hygienist will also brush and floss the teeth to ensure all areas are clean. During this time, patients can ask questions about how to care for their smiles and avoid the development of plaque, tartar, cavities, and periodontal disease.
What are some ways to keep the smile healthy between dental visits?
The best way to maintain a healthy smile include:
- Brushing the teeth, a minimum of two times a day, preferably after each meal.
- Using a toothpaste that contains the ingredient fluoride.
- Flossing at least once a day to remove food particles from between teeth.
- Using a special mouthwash to control plaque, bacteria, and bad breath.
- Visiting the dentist when concerns arise, including signs of cavities and periodontal disease.
- Eating a healthy diet with little to no sugars.
How does a child’s routine dental visit differ from an adult’s?
While most visits to the dentist for routine care are the same between children and adults, there are a few differences between them. For children, our team will take extra time to ensure that our youngest patients are comfortable and relaxed in the dental atmosphere. Some children have fears and anxieties that may make it difficult for the dental team to perform their cleanings and examinations. We also schedule more time for children, as we may need to perform additional treatments such as sealants and fluorides. These are applied to the surfaces of the teeth to offer an extra layer of defense against periodontal disease and tooth decay. Children are also educated on how to care for their smiles, and parents can ask questions about ways to keep the smile healthy while their smile develops and transitions into the permanent adult teeth.
What should I do if I have problems in between dental visits?
While the routine visits scheduled twice a year are vital to a healthy smile, so are appointments that are scheduled when specific concerns develop. For example, if a patient is experiencing severe sensitivity in one tooth, they may have a cavity that needs attention. Furthermore, patients who notice bleeding when they brush, and floss may have the early signs of periodontal disease. These concerns need to be addressed by a dental professional as soon as possible. With early diagnosis and intervention, many patients avoid permanent damage to their teeth, gums, and bone.
Request an appointment with Dr. Karen Ho today
At Dentistry on Parkdale, we are pleased to offer Hamilton, ON area families solutions for their smiles, whether it requires general, cosmetic, or restorative dental services. Our practice is always accepting new patients and families and encourages patients to call 905-547-4940 to schedule their initial visit with our team. The office is conveniently located at 21 Parkdale Avenue South.