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General Check-Ups: What’s The Point Of Visiting The Dentist Every Year?

When life gets busy, it’s easy to think that brushing your teeth and flossing every now and then will eliminate the need for a trip to the dentist, but what you could be doing is allowing a minor issue to grow– for a cavity to expand or your gums to retract.

This is why most dentists recommend a checkup at least once a year. Besides resolving cavities, the benefits of a regular dental checkup include diagnosing other health problems, providing dental education, and building good habits for your entire family.

So, take some time to book an appointment for some general dental services to keep you and your teeth happy and healthy.

General Check-Ups What’s The Point Of Visiting The Dentist Every Year

General Check-Ups What’s The Point Of Visiting The Dentist Every Year

Key facts

  • An examination and cleaning of each of your individual teeth and your gums are just a part of what is covered in a dental checkup.
  • Everyone, regardless of age, should have regular checkups, whether or not there’s a problem they’re aware of.
  • Regular checkups prevent painful and costly dental issues down the line.
  • If you’re feeling concerned or uncomfortable about your check-up, let your dentist know so they can reassure you of the harmlessness of the process and minimise discomfort.

Dental prevention is key to dental health

Tooth loss and dental decay have a way of sneaking up on you. Over days, weeks, and months, a minor bad habit like missing a spot while brushing can allow plaque to build up and eat away at your enamel. Inflamed gums can also recede due to brushing too hard. These problems are easy to remedy but often hard to detect, which is why going to the dentist is so important.

In Australia, around half of adults haven’t been to the dentist in the last two years, and nearly one-third of Australian adults have untreated tooth decay – which then necessitates fillings or extractions. This problem, among others, is easily solved by a regular visit to the dentist.

Check-ups can detect other health issues

Besides common tooth and gum-related diseases, dentists can also diagnose more uncommon issues. This includes problems you didn’t know were related to your teeth. For example, if you’re experiencing constant headaches, a dentist may find the cause to be teeth grinding, teeth whitening, or teeth straightening. If you’re a smoker, or are at risk of oral cancer, you can be screened for that by your dentist, too.

Perhaps even more unusual is the link that has been made between poor oral health and an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment, which includes diseases like dementia and strokes.

You can conquer your fear of the dentist

Dentophobia is a real and prevalent issue, affecting around one in seven Australians, and its causes are surprisingly vague. Though experts once thought the fear of going to dentists could be put down to the fear of pain caused by the intimidating tools dentists used to use, we now have reason to think the roots of dentophobia are more complicated.

Causes can include a mixture of intimacy anxiety, seeing people afraid of the dentist in the media, and even genetics. It’s an issue that dentists and psychologists have had trouble completely figuring out, but there are solutions to prevent issues like panic attacks at the dentist.

If you’re experiencing anxiety about going to the dentist, these are some ways to ease these fears and make going to the dentist a less uncomfortable process:

  • Ask friends and family to recommend dentists – it’s often easier to work with people we know or who people close to us know.
  • Relay your fears ahead of time to your dentist and their receptionist so that they can work to make it a stress-free experience.
  • Practice breathing and relaxation techniques, and listen to soothing music on your earphones while at the dentist.
  • Ask your dentist to go over the checkup process step-by-step as you go along to give you an understanding of what exactly is happening and why it’s harmless.

Build good habits within your family

Children have an even higher rate of tooth decay than adults do. Thankfully, they also use temporary baby teeth while they’re learning proper dental care. However, the habits they build in childhood can last a lifetime.

If you visit the dentist for a checkup on a regular basis, your child will see this as normal, and they’ll be more likely to retain this habit once they’re responsible for scheduling their own checkups. In general, it’s also good to bring your children to the dentist at least once a year to uncover any potential issues they might have early.

Make use of your dental coverage

Surprisingly, even people with dental coverage from their job or insurance provider don’t always make use of it. They often forget they even have coverage, only to regret the money they could have saved later on.

Stay on top of your dental coverage. Take full advantage of free checkups and cleanings, and don’t forget to ask your dentist about whether and how much of the session will be covered by insurance before starting a procedure.

Conclusion

While some deem it necessary to go to get their teeth checked twice or even more times per year, going to the dentist once a year should suffice for most people, provided you make it a habit. You’ll find that dentist appointments are actually pretty easy to fit into your calendar, no matter how busy you are.

Start today: schedule a dental appointment and set a recurring reminder on your phone or computer so that you’ll do the same next year too. Your teeth will thank you.

By Andrew Adams

Created at June 25, 2024, Updated at June 26, 2024

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