Happy New Year!
Welcome to January 2021! We hope you share our excitement for what this year has to bring. January is the time of year when everyone is making plans and setting goals to prepare them for the best possible year ahead. What better New Year’s resolution could there be than to start prioritizing your dental health?
Regular dental checkups are an essential element of your healthcare, and here at Your Gold Coast Dentist, we want to make them as easy as possible. In your appointment, the exam, scale, clean and x-rays are all included, and if you have dental cover with a health fund, there’s no cost to you!
Why are Regular Dental Checkups Important?
Regular dental checkups are one of the most important factors when it comes to overall dental health. They allow for the removal of built up tartar and plaque, monitoring of your tooth and gum health, deep cleaning, protective fluoride treatments and most importantly, the early detection of issues, whether they be with your teeth, gums or mouth, so they can be taken care of before they become a problem!
Not only is this better for your wallet as it allows you to avoid expensive and potentially painful problems, it is better for you!
What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay occurs when the enamel and then the dentin are eroded and a hole forms in the tooth.
Tooth decay is caused by the thin, sticky layer of germs that live on your teeth called plaque. When you eat sugary foods or drinks, the germs in the plaque feed on the sugar and turn it into an acidic substance which, over time, can damage your teeth and lead to decay.
How Regular Dental Checkups Prevent Tooth Decay
Careful brushing of your teeth at least twice a day is essential to preventing decay, however, regular toothbrushes often don’t remove all of the plaque, especially in hard to reach areas like between teeth and the back of the molars, leading to a build-up.
Flossing can help to prevent decay by removing plaque from between the teeth, however it can’t replace regular dental checkups.
When plaque is allowed to accumulate overtime, it becomes tartar, a substance that can only be removed with a cleaning treatment at a dentist’s office. Using an scaler, a dentist can quickly and easily remove the tartar painlessly, before it is able to cause tooth decay.
Furthermore, if caught early enough, tooth decay can actually be treated and repaired without the need for a filling. In the early stages, tooth decay can be managed with preventative steps like a fluoride treatment and the application of a sealant to protect the tooth.
Detection of Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Dentists look after all aspects of oral health, including your gums. Just like your teeth, they can be affected by tartar and plaque build-up. The gums are made up of extremely sensitive tissues so are easily damaged. Therefore, your gums are often the first thing you’ll notice if there’s an issue.
There are a few main signs to look out for:
Bleeding and Pain
Have you noticed blood in the sink when brushing your teeth lately? If your gums are bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth, it can be a sign that your gums are irritated, especially if it is accompanied by pain.
Redness or Swelling
Inflamed gums will appear a darker red colour than usual and can be swollen, which is one of the key early signs that something is amiss.
Sensitive Teeth and Receding Gums
These two symptoms of gum disease often go together. If your teeth look like they’re getting longer, the cause is probably receding gums. When your gums pull back like this, it leaves the more sensitive part of your tooth called the dentin exposed, which can cause increased sensitivity to things like cold drinks or ice cream.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is definitely time to book in to see your dentist! Fortunately, as is the case with tooth decay, these issues can be remedied if they’re caught early. Regular dental checkups can not only help with the detection of issues like gum disease, they can also be a great opportunity to discuss any concerns you have about your oral health with your dentist.
Detection of Problems Below the Surface
Here at Your Gold Coast Dentist, x-rays are included as part of your regular dental checkup. This allows us to identify and investigate issues that are below the surface. Many dental problems are picked up visually, like surface tooth decay or gum disease, however, x-rays give a more comprehensive view of the mouth.
X-rays allow for the early identification of things like decay between the teeth or impacted wisdom teeth, which wouldn’t be able to be picked up early without an x-ray. Decay between the teeth can be frustrating to fix if it has progressed significantly, and wisdom teeth can cause all kinds of headaches if they’re impacted, like pain, infection and even influencing the alignment of the other teeth.
These kinds of issues can become serious (and costly) if not detected early, which is another reason why regular dental checkups are so important.
How Often Should I See My Dentist?
It is recommended to visit your dentist for a checkup every 6 months. This timeframe is chosen with the goal of your dentist being able to clean up and remove any plaque before it causes any serious issues, and to catch other problems like tooth decay or gum disease early so that they can be quickly and easily treated.
At Your Gold Coast Dentist, we strive to offer affordable family friendly dental solutions and want to make your visit as easy as possible. We offer no-gap checkups if you have dental cover with a health fund, which include the exam, scale, clean and x-rays. We also support Medicare’s Child Dental Benefits Schedule and don’t charge a surcharge for Amex.