Why is it important to visit the dentist regularly?
At Aperture Dental Practice, we believe that regular dental visits can prevent dental health issues and maintain good oral and overall health.
Problems that can be avoided or attended to immediately with regular dental check-ups:
Tooth decay is caused by eating foods which contain high amounts of sugar. This condition could lead to pain and dental cavities if not treated from the beginning.
Plaque is caused by harmful bacteria that remain on the teeth if it is not cleaned properly. Over time, the accumulation of this bacterium on your teeth and gums can slowly start damaging it.
Gum disease can cause your gums to turn red and painful and become swollen and very sensitive when eating, biting or chewing.
How often should I have a dental check-up?
The condition of your teeth and oral health can determine the number of times you visit the dentist. Patients who have very good oral health are at low risk of dental issues and may only need to visit the dentist every 6 to 24 months.
People who are at high-risk of dental problems will need to visit the dentist as often as their treatment lasts, or as recommended by the dentist.
People who are at risk could include:
- People who smoke
- People who do not take care of their teeth or eat too many sugar-based foods.
- People with gum disease, plaque build-up or diabetes.
- People with a weak immune response to bacterial infection.
The examination appointment normally consists of getting to know you, information gathering and formulating a treatment plan that will suit your needs. Before we begin your dental check-up, we will gather some information about you, including your personal details and medical history. This will also be a good time to let your dentist know about any specific dental problems that you may have. This will help us to prepare a treatment plan best suited to your needs.
We will need to know about any medical conditions, medications and allergies as this can affect your dental treatment. It will be a good idea to bring a list of your medications if you think you can’t remember them all. During the initial check-up, the teeth are only one aspect of the examination. Your dental check-up also involves a comprehensive examination.
In a comprehensive examination we have to make sure everything else is healthy including:
- Teeth (decay, tooth wear, crowding, existing fillings, gaps, mobility, missing)
- Gums (recession, bleeding, plaque, calculus)
- Surrounding structures (tongue, cheeks, lips, palate, throat)
- Jaw joints and muscles (clicking, pain, tenderness)
- Smile assessment (tooth shape, size and shade, smile line, gingival biotype)
- Existing appliances and prostheses (dentures, crowns, bridges, implants, orthodontic retainers, braces)
- Signs of oral diseases and oral cancer (ulcers, white spots)
As part of your check-up, we will perform a full smile assessment to have a look at your tooth shape, size and shade, as well as your smile line and gingival biotype. Any existing appliances and prostheses, such as dentures, crowns, implants, and braces, will be checked. Your dentist will also look for signs of oral diseases and oral cancers.
We may need to take some photos and x- rays of your teeth as a baseline, and also to make sure we don’t miss out on anything underlying the tooth. Your treatment plan will consist of a discussion of all the treatments you need, including further appointments and an estimate cost of your treatment.
If there is time, you may wish to continue with some treatment to get started:
- Cleaning the teeth (Scaling and Polishing)
- Fluoride treatment
- A simple filling
How long does the dental check-up take?
The whole process should not take more than 30 minutes, although we do allow more time for discussion or further treatment if needed. Any dental emergency (pain and swelling) will usually take priority over the Full Comprehensive Examination, and will probably need to be rescheduled for another time.
Oral health FAQs
A quote that dentists love to recite is “you only need to floss the teeth you want to keep!”
Flossing is necessary when it comes to good oral health as it will remove the bacteria build up from in between your teeth. Without removing this, the build up can progress to create cavities and gingivitis.
You should set aside at least two minutes in the morning and two minutes in the evening for brushing. This is a total of four minutes that you should be spending daily to adequately clean your teeth.
While some mouthwashes serve no purpose other than freshening your breath, certain mouthwashes can be the cherry on top of your brushing routine. Look out for mouthwashes that include chlorine dioxide as these can help kill the bacteria in your mouth.
If you are experiencing anxiety, simple breathing exercises can help ease your nerves before a dental appointment. Take a deep, slow breath in through your nose lasting close to 5 or 6 seconds. Hold for a few seconds, and breathe out slowly through your mouth, taking close to 7 seconds (breathe out like you’re whistling). Repeat 10 times.
Foods that contain high levels of sugar have been known to increase the chances of tooth decay. The same can be said for starchy foods and acidic sports drinks and soft drinks.
We’re sure that you remember being told during childhood how milk can give you strong bones and teeth. This is true due to the high calcium levels found in dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt. Calcium is shown to improve the strength and health of your teeth.
Dental phobia and dental anxiety are similar but are actually two very different things. Dental phobia is characterised by an irrational fear and panic regarding any dental setting (dentists, dental tools, dental offices, etc.). Whereas dental anxiety refers to a general nervousness and unease when confronted with a dental issue. Dental phobia is a recognised mental health problem and those who suffer from it will completely avoid going to the dentist and may experience panic attacks when forced to face it. If you are just nervous or experience mild dental distress at the dentist’s office, then you are most likely suffering from dental anxiety.
This depends on how severe your dental anxiety actually is. If you experience mild anxiety or worries, your dentist will most likely use laughing gas to help keep you relaxed; if you suffer from severe dental anxiety, then your dentist can put you to sleep using anaesthesia, so you are completely unconscious for the procedure.