Why are Dental Cleanings Important?
October is National Dental Hygiene Month. And what could be better timing? After all, with Halloween around the corner, a time for treats – usually sweets – it’s a good occasion to remind one and all about the importance of periodic visits to your dentist.
Why are dental cleanings so important? A frequently asked question, and often accompanied by, “because nothing hurts” or “my smile is covered by a mask”, has a laundry list of answers. Without understanding the value of care, too often, periodic examinations, oral cancer screenings, and professional dental hygiene sessions are put off, especially during these challenging times of Covid-19. For some, due to age or underlying medical issues, the answer as to ‘is this a good time?’ could be to wait a bit. But, for the majority of the population, neglecting routine or preventative care is actually counterintuitive to remaining in good health.
Just like colon cancer screenings, chest x-rays examining for early lung cancer, blood workups, or EKGs, visiting your dental hygienist and your dentist on a regular basis is critical for your overall health and wellbeing. We’ve written numerous times about the connections between your oral health and your overall wellbeing. Be it diabetes, heart disease, and medications that impact your oral health the correlation between oral health and general health is established.
Many patients schedule visits to brighten and whiten their teeth, a positive result after the professional removal of bacteria-causing plaque and calculus and polishing. Not only does a cleaning, termed dental prophylaxis, help to keep both your gums and teeth healthy, these visits also provide Drs. Hochberg and Diora, along with your hygienist, the opportunity to complete an examination. What are they looking for?
- Is your gum tissue healthy? Is there inflammation or bleeding?
- Are there any areas of gum recession?
- Are there areas of visible decay? Is there evidence of dental decay, fractures, or bone loss, or abnormalities on your cavity-checking x-rays?
- Are there oral rinses or specific toothpastes that could help reduce your susceptibility to decay?
- Do any teeth show excessive enamel wear?
- Are you clenching or grinding your teeth? – A frequent complaint during stressful times
- Have you had a panoramic x-ray taken to check for pathology, impacted teeth, sinus congestion, or joint disease?
- Does your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) click or pop?
- Are existing restorations intact? Have any fractured or are there areas of leakage?
- Are your teeth shifting? Do any teeth seem mobile?
- Is there an excessive amount of plaque or calculus build-up? What tools and techniques can be offered to assist you with your home care regimen?
- When you swallow, do your glands feel normal?
- Are there any unusual oral lumps, bumps, and growths present?
- Is there an area where the tissue color is of concern?
And, we can go on from there. The important take-away is that, as with all health concerns, the sooner minor issues are addressed, the better the opportunity to avoid more extensive problems and treatment down the road. So, while you may think, “it’s just a cleaning”, it’s so much more. And while you weigh what you are comfortable with during our challenging times – please know that our goal is to help you stay in excellent health. Visit our website at colonysquaredental.com to learn more about our longstanding protocols, as well as new Covid-19 precautions, for the health and safety of both our patients and our team. And, when ready, give Colony Square Dental Associates a call at 404-874-6464, so we can work with you to answer all the important questions … and keep you smiling!
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