You brush. You floss. You eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water. Your teeth look and feel great! So, why do you need to see a dentist every year?
Even if you regularly brush and floss your teeth after every meal and use plaque rinses, you still cannot reach into the far crevices of the teeth and gums where bacteria and plaque can collect.
Plaque is an invisible, sticky film that coats the teeth and gums. If it is not removed, plaque can begin to interact with bacteria to cause small cavities that you may not see or feel for many years but can degrade the structure of your teeth over time.
Untreated plaque may harden into tartar – the hard brown crust you can sometimes see between, around or on teeth that have not been professionally cleaned recently. Tartar must be scraped off the teeth by your dentist with special tools.
Plaque, bacteria, and tartar that collect underneath the gum can also cause gingivitis – a gum infection. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a serious gum disease called periodontitis, which may result in permanent tooth loss.
Dentists are trained to spot trouble early so that it can be addressed and solved. Continued care with the same dentist will allow him or her to track your oral health over time, and notice any changes that may indicate a problem. That’s why it’s so important to take x-rays every couple of years. Tiny cavities could lead to tooth loss if they’re not treated early.
Neglecting your annual or biannual appointment or switching dental professionals frequently may mean that an important change is missed. You only have one set of teeth, it is imperative to keep them in optimal health.
A regular dental exam also provides a time where you can add in extra treatments you might want or need, such as fluoride to strengthen the teeth, a tooth whitening session, or a deep cleaning.
As with any medical procedure, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some people may need to have their teeth professionally cleaned more often than twice a year. A few lucky people may be able to stay plaque- and tartar-free with just an annual visit. But this should be determined after a careful consultation with your dentist. Together, you’ll decide on the right maintenance schedule to keep your smile bright and healthy.
Dr. Parnaz Aurasteh, a Beverly Hills dentist, and her team at Oral Care Dentistry are dedicated to your long-term oral health. You can call Dr. Aurasteh for a consultation at (310) 974-6779 or use our email form to find out how regular exams can keep your teeth healthy and functional for the rest of your life.