PA Requirements - Blog

Time to Schedule a Visit to the Dentist
Posted by Emily Pazel

As with many things the pandemic put on hold, many routine office visits to your doctor or dentist were rescheduled or put on hold until further notice. And if you’re like the millions of Americans that take little time out for themselves during their busy schedules, this might be the reminder you need to go ahead and schedule that routine checkup with your dentist. Even if you’re an avid tooth-brusher and regularly floss like you should, you still need to visit your dentist on a regular basis.

Although there tends to be a negative stigma behind going to the dentist, it doesn’t have to be a bad experience. Finding the right dental health provider for you and your family could be right around the corner. And in today’s world, many times you’ll probably find that dental insurance can cover a large portion of the visit and make it less painful for your wallet as well.

So, let’s start with the basics. Just like going to the doctor for a regular, routine checkup, going to the dentist is similar in a way that it helps keep your overall health in check. And even though you may not think it’s as important to go to the dentist, here are a few reasons why you may want to reconsider that opinion.

What’s important about going to the dentist?

Making an appointment with the dentist when you’re experiencing oral pain is just one of the reasons why you should go to the dentist. According to the Oral Health Foundation, scheduling a regular visit to the dentist is a key factor in preventing many oral health issues that may arise in the future. As with many things about your health, prevention is key.

Here are a few reasons why going to the dentist is important, per the Oral Health Foundation:

  • Screening for mouth cancer: Just like with many cancers, routine checkups and exams are the proper way to make sure that you don’t have any signs of mouth cancer, as well as head and neck cancer. Although most checks come up with nothing unusual, you never know when they could potentially save your life.
  • Being checked by an oral health professional: According to the Oral Health Foundation, sometimes Dental Hygienists and therapists are overlooked when it comes to our oral health, however, they are extremely valuable for the services they provide and the advice they give. Dental hygienists are mainly concerned with preventive dental health and treating gum disease, which is why scheduling a routine cleaning is important.
  • Consultations & prevention: It’s easy to get caught up in the newest social media trend regarding tooth whitening, but is it healthy for us? Going to the dentist can help give you clarity on what works and what doesn’t, and can give you advice about your best options. Dentists can also not only solve problems, but also prevent them before they happen. Going to the dentist is a good way to ensure that your teeth are being fully examined and the healthcare professional can spot things that you can’t always see on the surface.
  • Dentists provide for your specific needs: Many times, when people have a health problem they try to turn to the Internet to figure it out by themselves rather than consulting a professional. While there is a lot of misinformation out there, scheduling a visit to your dentist and speaking with them one-on-one is one of the only ways to know you are getting genuine help.

While scheduling an appointment to go to the dentist is normal if you are experiencing pain, it’s also good to schedule routine cleanings to keep the best overall health and prevent issues from arising or catching them early on to have a better chance of getting it fixed. And if you are still on the fence about making your routine checkup, let’s go through a day that would look similar to what someone would experience and maybe it’ll help create a better picture.

What can you expect at the dentist?

The lights shining in your face, the loud dental tools, the endless paperwork – it all paints a picture of a not-so-fun time at the dentist. But, in reality, going to the dentist doesn’t have to be a bad experience. By knowing what to expect, you can take confidence in knowing how the appointment will go with little-to-no surprises along the way.

Per DentalCare.com, there are typically two parts to a regular dental visit – the check up or examination and the cleaning, which is also known as the oral prophylaxis. The dentist will check for cavities using a couple techniques, including using x-ray technology to check for cavities in between the teeth that aren’t easily detected with the naked eye. During the exam, you will also be checked for plaque and tartar on your teeth, which if not removed, can ultimately cause oral diseases.

The next step of the visit will include checking your gums using a special tool that measures the depth of the spaces between your teeth and gums. If this space is a little deeper than normal, it could indicate gum disease and it should be taken care of. The regular checkup should also include exams of your tongue, throat, face, head and neck for signs of cancer.

After you are examined, your teeth will be cleaned. The hygienist will brush and floss your teeth, as well as remove the tartar from your teeth that you can’t remove at home. Once your teeth have been scaled for tartar, they will get polished and flossed.

Once the check up is finished, typically the dentist will have you schedule your next visit in advance or, if you have cavities or need further work, they will schedule those appointments as well. In the meantime, what are some good habits to start in order to not have oral health issues at the next visit?

What kind of upkeep do your pearly whites require?

It’s easy to forget that we only get one set of adult teeth in our lives and they require a bit of upkeep in order to make them last for a long time. Visiting your dentist on a regular basis is a great way to start a healthy habit of protecting your teeth, but it’s also important to visit the dentist if you have a specific, urgent need going on. If you're having issues with your gums, having tooth pain, jaw pain, etc., it’s always important to go get these things checked out.

However, in between regular dental visits, taking care of your teeth should be a top priority as part of your daily routine. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, but by brushing your teeth and flossing regularly, you can manage it. Per Dentalcare.com, you should brush your teeth twice a day and use toothpaste that contains fluoride, floss daily and use mouthwash to help control plaque bacteria.

It’s also recommended that you have a regular, routine dental visit at least twice a year or as recommended by your dentist. With a little healthy daily routine and regular trips to the dentist, you can help keep those pearly whites clean, strong and lasting longer than usual. At the end of the day, having a healthier smile will always be a great way to feel better and boost your self-confidence.