It is just too easy to skip going to see the dentist, especially every six months which tends to be the general recommendation. There are so many reasons that people bail out on their regular dental check-ups. Some have dental anxiety, some are so busy it is hard to squeeze a dental appointment in, some merely forget. While it may be an inconvenience to keep regular dentist visits, the fact is, not seeing a dental professional regularly can have unpleasant consequences. Read further as we discuss why it is so important to have regular dental check-ups, and how you can make getting to your dentist easier (so you are not tempted to cancel!).
Oral Issues From Not Seeing The Dentist
As mentioned above, there are consequences for not visiting your dentist. Take a look below at our list of things that could happen to your teeth if you skip your dental appointments.
- Plaque buildup that turns into tartar. Only a dentist has the tools to scrape plaque off the surface of your teeth before it turns into tartar.
- Tooth decay can form. If tooth decay is not treated by a dentist, it can advance to cavities or gum disease.
- Gum disease or gingivitis is an early-stage gum disease that can turn into periodontal gum disease. From here, a patient can lose teeth and experience jaw bone loss as well.
- Cavities happen when there is a buildup of plaque or tartar that gradually eats away at the enamel of the tooth. This causes a small hole in the affected tooth which is a cavity. Some smaller cavities can be filled but large ones may require dental work like a replacement crown or bridge or a root canal.
- Teeth can become stained and the appearance of the teeth can go from white to yellow. Regular, daily brushing can help some, but a professional cleaning from your dentist helps immensely in keeping the appearance of the teeth nice.
- Bad breath can occur from bacteria buildup in your mouth. Bad breath can occur from periodontal disease that only a dentist can verify and treat.
- Only a dental professional can scan your mouth for oral cancer. Part of a regular dental exam includes a screening for oral cancer, which is something you do not want to skip. Early detection is key, and should not be postponed.
- More and more studies suggest that your overall oral health can be linked to other diseases in the body developing. Patients who neglect oral health risk getting illnesses like heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, and stroke. Once again, all this can be avoided by visiting the dentist at least once, if not twice a year.
Why People Avoid the Dentist
There are varied reasons why a person would avoid going to the dentist. It may be out of anxiety, it may be out of forgetfulness, or perhaps life is so busy it is hard to fit it in. The American Dental Association suggests that 15 percent of patients avoid the dentist out of nerves. That is why if anxiety is an issue, you will need to find a dentist that you can communicate that with. Most dentists are aware that people are afraid to see them, but they also know that oral hygiene is too important not to address. They will work with you to calm your fears and offer solutions like playing calming music and offering laughing gas to help relax your nerves. Plus, the more you visit the dentist, the less worrisome you will feel as you get used to it more. To get started, visit a prospective dentist’s office to see how they operate, how they speak to you, and whether the equipment looks clean to get a general feel. This can help ease your fears.
If you are so busy that it is hard to fit a dental exam in, you will need to find a dentist that has flexible hours or weekend appointments. Many dental offices offer this, all you need to do is find one. Plus, it will be more helpful and convenient if you can find a dentist that is located close to either your home or work. Less commute time will make it easier to get to your appointment.
In conclusion, it is a very good idea to visit your dentist at least once a year, if not twice a year is suggested. Your overall health depends on your oral health, so there should be no excuses to skip your dentist appointment.