Reasons for Oral Exams
In addition to performing diligent oral care at home, you should see your dentist every six months for an oral exam to ensure continued health of your teeth and gums. If you skip just one routine checkup with your dentist, any new oral health issues can rapidly advance and require expensive and invasive treatments. Regular checkups ensure that problems can be caught early and treated conservatively, and some oral health issues can even be reversed if spotted in the earliest stages. If allowed to advance, however, these problems with your teeth or gums can actually spread beyond your mouth and affect your general health.
The Mouth-Body Connection
The state of your mouth can indicate problems in other areas of your body, so visiting your dentist every six months can help you maintain your overall well-being. A cavity, for instance, can advance to the center of the tooth and cause a localized infection. If not treated with root canal therapy, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause a serious systemic infection. Likewise, studies have proven a link between gum disease and health conditions such as diabetes, dementia and cardiovascular disease, so it pays to undergo routine checkups to spot gum disease in the early stages when it is reversible so that you can reduce your risk of other health problems.
At your first office visit for a comprehensive oral exam, your dentist will review your medical history with you. Knowing if you’ve been diagnosed with certain medical conditions can help your dentist determine if you re susceptible to oral health problems or may experience a reaction to a particular dental treatment or anesthetic. The medications you take can also make you more vulnerable to developing cavities or periodontal disease. At each six-month checkup, be sure to let your dentist know if you have been diagnosed with a new health condition or changed your medication regimen to ensure that you continue to receive dental care tailored to your unique needs. Also, do not be afraid to tell your dentist if you have experienced anxiety over dental visits in the past so that he or she can present you with different options for making you comfortable during exams and treatments.