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Dr Peter Bell smiling at patients in the dental surgery before starting the routine dental exam

29th November 2023

The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

Common Dental Problems and How to Prevent Them

Regular dental checkups play a crucial role in keeping your teeth clean, mouth healthy, and overall good oral hygiene. Skipping regular dental or hygiene visits increases your risk of worsening dental problems and complications developing. 

When it comes to your oral health, you should be proactive and take steps to prevent problems from developing or treating issues early. Fortunately, one easy step to take is scheduling regular dental checkups. 

Keep reading below for more information on how routine dental checkups are essential for good oral health. 

Preventive Care and Early Detection 

Looking in the mirror at your teeth does not tell the entire story. You may be able to spot obvious issues, such as broken or cracked teeth. But you may not know what is going on under your gums.

Routine checkups can spot dental problems in their early stages, even before they start causing symptoms. For instance, problems such as gum disease and cavities may not cause pain or symptoms in their early stages. 

But a routine dental checkup can identify dental problems, such as the following: 

Cavities: You might not realise you have a cavity until you develop a toothache. But by that time, the cavity may have become large. A routine dental exam can identify small cavities when they are easier to treat.  

Gum disease: Some people do not even know they have gum disease until it becomes advanced. A dental visit helps spot gum disease early on before serious complications occur. 

Oral cancer: Oral cancer may only cause minor symptoms at first. In fact, you may not even notice a small bump or spot in your mouth. A routine dental checkup also screens for oral cancer. Diagnosing oral cancer early helps start treatment quickly and improves prognosis. 

Catching dental issues when they start can mean less invasive and costly treatment. It can also prevent ongoing damage and complications, such as tooth loss. 

Oral Hygiene Reinforcement 

Brushing and flossing correctly is essential to maintaining good oral hygiene and contributing to long-term oral health. But not everyone does it as efficiently as they should. 

During a routine dental visit, your dentist at The Town House also provides guidance and education on techniques for effective brushing, flossing, and keeping your mouth healthy. After all, if you are spending time brushing and flossing, you want to make sure you are doing it properly. 

At your routine visit, your dentist will review brushing techniques, demonstrate the correct technique for flossing, and discuss any special issues, such as flossing under a bridge. Your dental team will also answer any questions you have. 

Professional Cleaning 

Professional dental cleaning is also a vial part of your oral hygiene. A hygienist removes plaque and tartar more effectively than you can do at home. During your hygiene exam, your dental professional can also detect issues with your gums, teeth, and mouth that you may not be aware of. They will develop an individual plan and cleaning schedule to meet you needs. 

Addressing Dental Anxiety 

Going to the dentist may not be everyone’s favourite activity. Some people may even have dental anxiety. But skipping routine dental exams will only make the problems worse. 

If you ignore your dental visits, you may end up with more serious dental problems. This can lead to more invasive procedures and higher costs, which increases stress and anxiety. 

Going for regular checkups helps you become accustomed to exams and cleanings and may gradually help you overcome dental anxiety.   

In the meantime, there are various techniques and options to help you be more comfortable and less anxious at your dental office visits.

Your dentist at The Town House in Tunbridge Wells or Brighton & Hove will create a calm and relaxing environment. They can provide numbing gel to reduce any discomfort from needle tips. Noise-canceling headphones are available to block out the equipment noise, and sedation is also an option. 

The Oral Health and the Overall Health Connection 

Your oral health plays a direct role in your overall well-being. Numerous studies indicate a link between poor oral health and increased heart attack and stroke risk. Poor dental health may also increase the risk of respiratory infections. 

Researchers theorize that bacteria that develops with gum disease may adversely affect other organ symptoms. Another theory is that inflammation that develops with gum disease may contribute to other health problems, such as heart disease. 

Getting regular dental checkups may not only keep your mouth healthy. But it may also decrease the risk of certain health conditions and contribute to your overall well-being.

Customised Treatment Plans

No two patients are alike, and that means they require a customised treatment plan. Your dentist at The Town House bases your plan on your oral health condition and history. 

A one-size-fits-all treatment plan is not the most effective approach. People are unique, and dental problems do not always follow the textbooks. Your dentist at The Town House determines your needs to create a personalised plan for optimal outcomes. 

Children and Dental Checkups 

It is vital to teach children good oral hygiene from a young age. Part of that is having regular dental visits from an early age, as early as one year old. 

This helps the child be less fearful of the dentist. Having children visit the dentist from an early age helps promote a good attitude about dental visits. 

At The Town House, we are a family friendly practice and offer children exams from 6 months to 18 year of age. It’s important to take your child to the dentist throughout their life to ensure their teeth are growing as they should be and catch any issues before they arise.. For example, with children, a dentist may focus on: 

  • Ensuring that baby teeth are healthy and growing, which is the foundation for permanent teeth
  • Spotting dental issues early on, even in infancy, which helps correct problems before they become worse
  • Placing sealants on teeth to prevent cavities
  • Helping children feel at ease and get accustomed to visiting the dentist

Author – The Town House Dental Practice