Routine dental care can be primarily thought of as a preventive strategy designed to forestall the development of oral health problems. Achieving this preventive ideal requires that patients attend dental check-up and clean at regular 6-month intervals. However, although regular checkups undeniably represent best practice in terms of oral care and drastically reduce the prevalence of dental problems, a significant number of people continue to visit their dentists only in cases of emergency. Unfortunately, such hesitancy increases the probability that those patients will have to undergo more intensive treatments, such as extraction or root canal. As such, it’s little wonder that visiting a dentist regularly is considered to play a pivotal role in protecting oral health.
What Routine Care Looks Like
The easiest way to conceptualize routine care is to break it down into 2 constituent stages. Namely, an examination stage and a cleaning stage.
During an oral examination, a dentist thoroughly inspects a patient’s mouth for any of the telltale signs of incipient decay. Similarly, the composition of the teeth is scrutinized to ascertain whether restorative dental work is required.
With respect to the gums, they are assessed for signs of swelling or redness. Moreover, in another measure of gum health, the depth of the space separating the gums and teeth is recorded. In this regard, a deeper than average space may be indicative of gum disease.
As well as examining a patient’s jaw and bite, a dentist also inspects their throat, tongue, head, face, and neck. During this comprehensive review, a dentist checks for swelling, redness, and signs of cancer.
On occasion, an x-ray may be required for diagnostic purposes.
The cleaning stage largely consists of the scaling and polishing of a patient’s teeth. Scaling is designed to remove plaque and tartar from a patient’s teeth. Generally, an ultrasound scraping device is used to remove the lion’s share of the tartar. Thereafter, handheld instruments are used to remove any stubborn remnants.
The polishing stage, meanwhile, involves the use of an abrasive paste to remove stains from the teeth. By removing structural imperfections, polishing teeth in this fashion helps protect against future accumulations of plaque. To round out the cleaning stage, a patient’s teeth are flossed to remove any hidden detritus lurking between the teeth.
The preventive benefits of routine dental care can be accentuated by following straightforward guidelines for oral hygiene. In this regard, in addition to brushing twice daily, individuals should also floss and use mouthwash.