Patient Guidelines During COVID-19

Why You Shouldn't Skip Your Regular Dental Exam

If you take good care of your mouth and don’t have any obvious problems with your teeth or gums, you may be tempted to skip regular dental exams. The American Dental Association recommends regular dental visits once or twice a year depending on your health and lifestyle. 

At CaliDental in Lompoc, Santa Maria, and San Luis Obispo, California, we offer cosmetic and general dentistry services for children and adults. Here are some of the areas our dentists will focus on during your routine dental exam.

Detect and treat cavities

Even with a good oral hygiene routine and diet, bacteria and acids from the foods and drinks you consume can hide between your teeth. Over time, plaque and tartar buildup can create a hard film that can’t be removed with brushing and flossing alone. Small cavities are easy to detect in routine dental exams and typically don’t cause lasting damage or endanger the tooth if they’re treated early.

If cavities grow bigger, they can eventually affect your tooth’s nerve system and cause pain, inflammation, and infection. At that point, you may need a root canal. And in some cases, you may need a tooth extraction and replacement, which is more expensive and traumatic than a standard dental filling.

In most cases, symptoms, such as pain and sensitivity, mean that the cavity has already progressed. The only way to catch them early enough to prevent significant problems is through regular dental exams.

Detect and treat gum disease

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a serious infection of the gums and the leading cause of tooth loss in American adults. It’s caused by bacteria and plaque accumulation around the teeth and gums. Gum disease is reversible when caught and treated in the early stage, which is called gingivitis. 

You may notice you have gingivitis if your gums are swollen or tender, you have bad breath, or if your gums bleed when you floss or brush your teeth. As it progresses, it can cause irreversible damage to the soft tissue that supports your gums and teeth and increase your risk of tooth loss. 

In addition to the standard cleaning that comes with your dental exam, our dentists will recommend additional treatment to get your oral health back on track if you show signs of gum disease.

Even if you’ve skipped your routine dental exams in the past, it’s never too late to get your oral health back on track by scheduling an appointment today. The sooner you deal with cavities and gum disease, the less likely you’ll be to need more expensive and invasive treatments in the future.

Screen for oral cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 50,000 adults are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Though rare, oral cancer can be life-threatening and difficult to treat, making early detection especially important. In addition to screening for common oral health problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease, your routine dental exam will also include an oral cancer screening. 

To schedule a dental exam or learn more about them, book an appointment online or over the phone with CaliDental today.

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