Do I Really Need a Dental Check-Up?

Many people only go to the dentist when it’s already too late. Unless they’re feeling pain from their teeth, they just assume everything is ok in their mouth. However, even someone dedicated to brushing and flossing regularly as recommended by the ADA and Dr. Bruce Spink at Spink Dentistry in Birmingham, AL  — that’s brushing twice daily and flossing at least once daily, in case you weren’t sure — needs a dentist’s help preventing small dental problems from becoming bigger ones. For this reason, a regular check-up with Dr. Spink or your area dentist is important because he helps keep your teeth and gums healthy. You should have a routine dental examination at least every 6 months or as often recommended by your dentist.

What To Expect At A Dental Visit

A standard dental visit has two parts – the check up, or examination, and the cleaning. During your check up, Dr. Spink 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 formed by saliva combining with other food particles that plays host to destructive bacteria that eat away at our tooth enamel. Brushing and flossing are your first line of defense against this, however, sometimes you’re just not able to get it all yourself. If plaque is not removed, it can harden and become tartar which is the first stage of tooth decay. Tartar cannot be removed with brushing and flossing; it must be removed by a dental hygienist using special tools. If plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, they can cause oral diseases, some of which can lead to systemic health problems if allowed to continue unchecked. Your gums will also be inspected 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 are afflicted with 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. Gum disease can be painless and the changes can be hard to detect by an untrained eye until it’s too late. Gum disease can lead to tooth and bone loss as well as other diseases of the body and mind such as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. 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.

Why Are Professional Teeth Cleanings Necessary?

At your visit your teeth will also be professionally cleaned by Spink Dentistry dental hygienist. While brushing and flossing are important for removing 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 of your teeth, just below the gumline and in between them, in a process called scaling. After your teeth are scaled, your hygienist will polish them using a gritty professional grade toothpaste to remove any surface stains on your teeth. Finally, your dental hygienist will clean the spaces between your teeth with floss.

Prevent Tooth Decay With Regular Dental Checkups

It is recommended that you have a check-up with your dentist every 6 months to keep ahead of any emerging issues. However, if you haven’t been having regular checkups and cleanings, you may need to come back more frequently to get any issues under control. Having regular exams with your dentist is essential to maintaining good oral health and will help you avoid potentially uncomfortable and expensive procedures. If you need a checkup, please call Spink Dentistry’s appointment line today at 205.235.5043 or schedule an examination online.